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Sahi on ClubLink: Patience is the Plan

I spent some time yesterday with Rai Sahi, the new owner and CEO of [photopress:clublink.jpg,full,alignright]ClubLink Corp., always an interesting experience. Though much of the conversation dealt with his background at his previous companies (he ran trucking and auto parts companies before entering into real estate with Morguard Corp., his current business), the discussion also came around to his involvement with ClubLink.

Calling the business “mature,” and with many of the business’ debt problems reduced by being locked into long term loans with fixed interest rates, Sahi said he felt the company’s existing courses could be tapped as development vehicles. Don’t take that the wrong way — he wasn’t suggesting ClubLink would develop on the properties, but more developing around them.

He seemed particularly keen on entering into the golf and real estate development business, whereby ClubLink and Morguard would partner (at least that was my understanding) on creating courses and housing, thus utilizing the specific skills of both organizations. He said he felt this would be done primarily in Ontario, and he didn’t seem all that commited to the concept in the Quebec market.

One thing he stressed was patience. Sahi said he really enjoys the business, though he said he might have overpaid to acquire control of it. Either way he sees ClubLink as a longterm play that will pay off in the long run. So don’t expect to see anything drastic in the near future as far as the organization goes.

Mind you, Sahi also said he likes to have control of companies because he doesn’t need to run ideas through a group of owners, so that might suggest we could see some decisive action as well.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I am a member of clublink. i can tell you that this guy is bad news. there has been a lot of talk within the members with whom i interact and none of it is positive, relative to this guy. he is not good news for the golf part of the business. he may be good news for the shareholders though. i see clublink losing a lot of members.

  • I don’t know RT. There’s no substantial holdings of excess undeveloped land in the Clublink portfolio. Perhaps he thinks there’s a market for new developments with homes & golf, but if the win is to run the golf more efficiently for the homesite developments, it’s not exactly any kind of a financial home run. Personally, at the price he paid, I think Rai made a mistake. There’s only so much he can drive membership rates before he starts to lose members.

  • I don’t think they’d let Glen Abbey be rezoned in a million years, and I think Rai really enjoys owning the course. I always find it interesting, in response to my first commentator, that Sahi is perceived to be “bad for golf.” How would they know? Did they go to the AGM? Have they spoken with him?

    HenryE– you might be right. Rai may have overpaid. He admitted as much to me…. but considering where he bought the first 25 percent and considering ClubLink is but a speck compared to Morguard, I wouldn’t be too worried.

  • “THIS GUY IS BAD NEWS” – Clublink Member

    what a ridiculous comment. I love his evidence to support that…

    “there has been a lot of talk within the members with whom I interact relative to this guy…”

    wow…I change my mind…he must be bad news since you used such roundabout english and run on sentences to make your point. I didn’t realize there was talk…and “a lot” to boot.

  • Robert,

    I live in London and use to be a Clublink member until 2004 when I could not justify spending $3000 to play Greenhills in the shape they have been keeping it lately (very slow greens etc). I just heard a rumour tonight that allegedly came from a reliable source (former shareholder) that Clublink is eyeing 3 courses in London. Have you heard anything about this? The thought around town before now is that Clublink admittedly made a mistake in buying Greenhills as the market here is not the market they are after. In almost 10 years, Clublink has not bought another course in the area which goes against their business model of “cluster golf”. If Clublink did buy even one more decent course in London I would rejoin – do you know anything about their plans for the London market? Maybe a quick call to Tim O’Connor may provide a few hints – but probably not.

  • Clarky, this isnt english class…grow up and stay on point
    the company isnt designed with the members in mind. Its all about the exec’s. It is impossible to get a tee time at any course unless you plan on waking up a week in advance and lining up in the 10 minute phone queue at 6 am.

  • I am a clublink member – and a young one in comparison to most at 28. I think Clublink is fantastic – look at the cost of joining a semi private course…yearly are faily similar…yes initation dues are high but buy in at a gold level course and finance it over 10 years and it is nothing. I play 60 rounds of golf per season at all different courses. The picked up Bond Head this year – 2 more 18s that are stunning…..playing there on Saturday actually……I hope this guys continues to snatch up courses…whatever his motive may be.

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