Ownership team denies management changes
After a dramatic and highly publicized shutdown Aug. 10, Plantation Palms Golf Club is back in business, reopening its links to golfers Aug. 16. Yet what caused the golf course to shut down in the first place continues to linger in some minds.
“It was just a culmination of a lot of things that led up to the closing, but mostly the economy,” said Jason Ray, who co-owns the golf club with Mitch Osceola and Steve McDonald through MJS Golf Group LLC. “It’s been too hot, and it’s been raining, and the culmination of all that, just resulted in not a lot of people playing golf. “Summertime is always tough for all the golf courses.”
Ray and the other owners purchased the golf club in May 2011, using a $2.18 million mortgage through Native American Bank of Denver. The 5-acre course features 18 holes, a driving range, a clubhouse and a lounge.
The course is the nucleus of the Plantation Palms community that surrounds it just off Collier Parkway near Parkway Boulevard, said Steve Pitts, who owns the golf pro shop at the course.
“For the homeowners there, their best shot is to have these guys who are owners work this thing out,” said Pitts, a Land O’ Lakes resident who owns Steve’s World of Golf in Hudson. “It needs to be a positive, positive business in the center of that great community. And yeah, it’s going through some tough times between the owners right now, but I can tell you from being on the inside, those problems are just about done.”
Pitts had pulled his pro shop out of Plantation Palms earlier this year, despite it being his top sales location out of his 18 shops around the southeast.
“The bills weren’t getting paid, and we had to pull out,” Pitts said.
Since Friday, however, Steve’s World of Golf is slowly moving back in because he’s encouraged by what he said was a management shakeup that would reduce the ownership team from three to either two, or possibly even one.
David Brooks, an avid golfer and Plantation Palms resident, said he heard the same reports of management changes during the golf club’s down time.
“I did talk with one of the owners, and there’s been a kind of shakeup in management there,” said Brooks, who played 18 holes on the course after it reopened on Friday. That followed up on a promise he made while the golf course’s future was uncertain that he would return to Plantation Palms, but he might not necessarily pay for membership well in advance.
“I think everybody would like to enjoy the golf course, and you need an ownership team that makes viable business decisions and have the right cash flow to keep the place open,” Brooks said.
Ray, however, denies there’s been any management shakeup, and that all three owners are still active with the golf course.
“There are no ownership changes,” Ray said. “A lot of rumors went around about what was going on, but no one knew the full story except us.”
Ray said he’s working to make up for the downtime, and understands how frustrated many of the members were.
“It’s understandable,” he said. “They put up money to make sure they could play on a golf course, and you can’t play on a golf course that’s not open.
“To them, it was almost a disaster. But we were basically closed for seven days. That’s usually what we’re closed for when we overseed the greens.”
Golfers are slowly coming back to Plantation Palms as word of mouth spreads the golf club has reopened. Many should find out by the end of the week when the Oasis grill there serves prime rib and tilapia as part of its regular Friday night dinner, Ray said.
“I’m one of the members here, and I live in the community,” Brooks said. “I want all the businesses in the area to be successful, because it’s good for our community. And I certainly want our golf course to be successful, because we need it here for our community.”