Crown Golf to sell eight clubs

Crown Golf, the largest course operator in the United Kingdom, has put eight of its 29 facilities up for sale — of 14.5 18-hole equivalent golf courses. The properties for sale are mainly daily fee courses located in the London area. The total rounds of the portfolio was 440,000 in 2009, with total revenue for the properties at £9.6m and a profit of £2.4m EBITDA.

Crown acquired the former American Golf group of clubs in December 2004, and added three additional clubs in the following three years.

“The Bennelong Group, owners of Crown Golf, remains committed to owning and operating a significant golf business in the UK for many years to come,” said Stephen Lewis, Crown’s Chief Executive Officer. “Although we have been, and after this sale will still remain the largest golf club owner-operator in the UK, our long term objective has always to be the best at what we do, rather than the biggest.”

Lewis said the company will now focus on membership and resort clubs.

The courses for sale represent more than a third of the company’s 738 total holes, including Addington Court Golf Centre with 63 holes and Orpington Golf Centre with 52 holes. Humberts Leisure and DTZ will jointly market the portfolio both in the UK and internationally.

“This sale represents a unique opportunity to acquire a portfolio of prime golf businesses in the UK’s most prosperous region,” said DTZ’s Richard Candey.

The seven properties near London are all near to areas of high population density where demand for quality golf facilities is high. The eighth property, Paultons, borders the New Forest National Park, close to Southampton, which is one of the south coast’s largest cities.

“A portfolio of clubs clustered around London provides a number of key operational benefits,” Lewis said. “The new owner will inherit a large database of local golfers, which offers many opportunities for growth and commercial development.”

Lewis said the clubs for sales have strong financial records, and excellent local reputations for well-conditioned golf courses.

Each of the properties food and beverage, clubhouse and retail facilities, and some have conference and banqueting revenues. The majority have floodlit driving ranges, with several having nationally-recognised golf academy facilities.

The golf clubs for sale are:

• Pyrford Golf Club, a highly profitable proprietary members club in the prime south west quadrant of the M25

• Traditions Golf Course, an attractive 18-hole club adjacent to Pyrford which shares greenkeeping resources with its neighbour

• Paultons Golf Centre, a very attractive 27-hole parkland golf club set in the New Forest, close to the M27

• Chelsfield Lakes Golf Centre, a large modern 27-hole golf complex in north Kent

• Addington Court Golf Centre, a renowned 63-hole complex near Croydon in Surrey

• Orpington Golf Centre, another of the UK’s largest golf centres with 53 holes

• South Essex Golf Centre, a well-presented 27 hole golf complex near to Brentwood

• Sunbury Golf Centre, a highly-profitable, well-presented 27-hole golf complex in southern Middlesex

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