Sagebrush Inks Deal with Redtail; Ridge at Manitou Goes Public

sagebrushoverview918Interesting to see how courses are adapting to the changing economic climate. Richard Zokol’s Sagebrush, once envisioned as a high-end, ultra-exclusive private club in B.C., has reworked its structure, done away with initiations for the time being and has now inked a reciprocol deal with Redtail, the super-exclusive private club near St. Thomas, Ont.

Here’s the Sagebrush details:

Chris Goodwin, co-owner of Redtail Golf Course and Richard Zokol, Chairman of
Sagebrush Golf & Sporting Club agreed today on a reciprocating union between Redtails Roundtable
membership and the Sagebrush Posse.
The alliance brings added value to both Redtail and Sagebrush by allowing each golf club membership
base to access the other golf club.
This agreement makes wonderful sense for each clubs membership who travel between BC, Alberta
and Ontario, says Zokol. Zokol went on to say, Chris (Goodwin) and John (Drake) have been
inspirational for me in developing the initial concept of Sagebrush back in the 90s and we will welcome
the Roundtable members to Sagebrush when their travel brings them West. I was very delighted when
Chris suggested that we should look at reciprocation between Sagebrush and Redtail.
The Sagebrush Posse will be delighted with this announcement when they learn that they will be able
to access Redtail when they travel to Ontario, added Zokol.

Then there’s the Ridge at Manitou, the award-winning Thomas McBroom course in Muskoka, Ont. that opened as another exclusive private club. Too bad it couldn’t attract more than a few dozen members. That issue has apparently led the club to a change in model — moving towards a semi-private facility with access by the public for fees of up to $150. In fact, I think the fees for the Ridge are not far out of line, especially with the talk that Muskoka Bay was going to try and ask for more than $200 a round.

The Ridge at Manitou, designed by Tom McBroom and named Canada’s Best New Course 2006 by Golf Digest magazine, is offering weekday and weekend tee times for guest play for the first time since opening in 2005.
General Manager and Course Superintendent Drew Rachar said: “Opening up the course and the clubhouse gives more golfers the chance to experience The Ridge which has become widely recognized for its private golf hideaway feel and superb service.” In addition to guest play, The Ridge at Manitou is offering play and stay packages and group outings. Green fees including power cart will range from $100 on weekdays during the shoulder season to $150 on weekends during peak season.

Interesting moves by both and a sign that more clubs are getting creative in trying to raise revenue in challenging times.

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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.

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Just read my post and it needs a correction.

    “RT must be a loner” was to mean “RT must be a lone McBroom fan”

  • Hi RT. Do you know if any $ chnaged hands on this deal? Can’t figure out why the Redtail model would work for Sagebrush. Can they afford to have a “posse” that doesn’t pay any initiation?

  • Henry – why do you say no initiation at Sagebrush? I thought the plan was for Sagebrush to have an initiation of $200k.

    Redtail is the model in that it is ultra exclusive and not intended to be the everyday club of the members – more like Augusta, Sand Hills or Ballyneal.

  • HenryE: I don’t know the financial details of this. But there’s no initiation at Redtail nor has there been…

  • RT. I know there’s no initiation at Redtail. That’s why I can’t figure out why Sagebrush would open their door to a group of guys that don’t pay any initiation either to Redtail or Sagebrush. Strikes me that if Zokol is looking for out of province type play, why not have an out of province/international membership at a reduced rate and bring some $ in the door.

  • It just says access – they may still have to pay a guest fee. However, Henry, I agree in that Sagebrush might appeal to some of those Redtail members – and now they don’t need to pony up.

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