IGM takes over daily operations of two more clubs
Irwin Golf Management abbreviates to IGM, which either sounds like the multinational machine company or the management group that represents some of the biggest names in golf. Both associations suggest pretty heady company.
But Hale Irwin’s Denver-based enterprise doesn’t fancy itself the next power player in the golf-management business, although it did recently triple the number of courses in its portfolio—from one (Terradyne Country Club in Andover, Kansas) to three—by taking over the day-to-day operations at Durango’s Dalton Ranch Golf Club (pictured above) and Awarii Dunes Golf Club near Kearney, Neb (pictured below).
“We don’t want to be big,” says Vice President Steve Irwin. “We try to manage like an owner; their interests are in the forefront. That means not bringing the same business model to every course; it means being hands-on, seeing what each course needs and providing the best member and guest experiences.”
At Dalton Ranch, IGM was brought in last year to consult and the management contract came March 1, following a change in ownership. “Dalton’s always been a great course that’s kept in great shape, thanks to continual capital improvements, and that’s not going to change,” Irwin says. “We’re just looking to build on the foundation that’s already been laid.” To date, IGM has introduced a referral program at the semiprivate club that’s already generated 40 new memberships, and recognizing the lack of dining options in the area, they simplified and upgraded the menu at the clubhouse restaurant.
Awarii Dunes presents a different challenge. Principally owned by Colorado Springs attorney Kent Freudenberg, the Jim Engh-designed course received New Golf Course of the Year raves from both Golf and Golf Digest in 2011. But it opened as an exclusive and private course “at a very bad time in the economy,” explains Irwin. “Our goal is to get bodies out there, for people to see how special it really is.”
Rebranding the course as a public facility, IGM is actively courting golfers from the thriving hub of Kearney with leagues, clinics, tournaments and, Irwin says, “some different, fun social events.” Unlike some of the more remote Nebraska sandhills courses, Awarii sits minutes south of I-80 and the Kearney Airport, making it convenient from Lincoln, Omaha, Denver and beyond. Awarii’s corporate and national memberships are a great deal.
“It’s a fun, fantastic golf course that’s in great shape, and the facility is world-class,” Irwin says. “As with all our course partners, we are going to do everything we can to help it succeed. ”