Golf: On Your Markers
Mitch Brinton’s new business is not overly concerned with being family-friendly. While other destination clubs battle for the affections of parents seeking to spend more quality time with their children, the Markers, a club Brinton cofounded last summer, caters to the individual obsessed with securing tee times. “Our best prospect is a guy who wants to play 36 holes,” says Brinton, “then enjoy great lodging and come out and do it again the next day.”
Based in St. George, Utah, the Markers is perhaps the first interest-themed entry in the burgeoning destination-club industry. With Exclusive Resorts and other clubs, access to championship courses is one of numerous membership perks, but with the Markers, golf is the reason for joining.
The Markers plans to offer members access to vacation homes and courses in several golf-centric locations worldwide. The idea, says Brinton, is to provide a country club–type experience, but one in which members’ home turf encompasses multiple courses. At present, the club provides vacation properties for member use in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Southern Pines, N.C. (near Pinehurst); and the St. George region, which is home to a golf trail of eight courses.
The Markers hopes to increase its collection of vacation properties to a total of 36 as its membership rolls expand. Most of the homes, which Brinton claims will be worth an average of $1.5 million, will have four bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate a foursome comfortably. In addition to offering the homes and golf privileges to members, the club plans to host annual member tournaments at venues around the world, sponsor international golf trips, and recruit a handful of touring professionals to attend club functions and play with members. The Markers also hopes to operate a luxury motor coach along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. The club will provide a golf-bag delivery service to all of its destinations, and it will stock its homes with demo sets.
Joining the Markers requires a one-time fee ranging from $285,000 to $375,000 plus annual dues beginning at $14,500. The club hopes to attract a total of 325 members, but it likely will face competition for crazed golfers from existing destination clubs.
Dream Catcher, a club that claims an average value of $3 million for its vacation homes, has introduced a golf-specific membership program priced at $150,000 ($150,000 less than the club’s standard membership) plus annual dues. The golf program will offer participants access to tee times (greens fees are included) and homes in a handful of resort destinations, including Amelia Island, Fla.; Kiawah Island, S.C.; Cabo San Lucas; La Quinta, Calif.; Pinehurst, N.C.; Telluride and Beaver Creek, Colo.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and eventually Hawaii. “It’s like being a member of a country club,” says Dream Catcher CEO Scott Anderson. “Except we’ll have about 20 places to play.”
Anderson’s pitch parallels that of Brinton, and it is probable the Dream Catcher CEO would agree with the Markers founder’s goal of creating “a Disneyland for avid golfers.” The reference point may be as close as either club comes to being family-oriented.