It’s been a little over a year now since the Ryan Moore Golf (RMG) Club was launched and expansion could be in the works.
Founder and PGA Tour pro Ryan Moore heads the 13-person ownership group that runs the day-to-day operations at McCormick Woods in Port Orchard, The Classic in Spanaway and Oakbrook in Tacoma. His father, Mike Moore, is the CEO. Shawn Cucciardi, former general manager and co-owner of McCormick Woods, is the CCO. I ran into Cucciardi at the Seattle Golf and Travel Show last week in Seattle.
RMG Club offers three levels of unlimited-golf memberships — $49 a month (twilight golf only at one course), $99 per month (golf at one course only) or $179 a month (all RMG courses and includes range privileges). There’s other perks, too, like discounts for guests’ green fees. You can find all of the information at their website.
RMG sold around 1,400 memberships its first year, said Cucciardi, 350 at McCormick Woods. Before the RMG Club came along, McCormick Woods carried about 80 full-time members, most of them home owners in the neighborhoods that surround the golf course who were paying much higher annual dues.
“They just rejoined and saved money,” Cucciardi said of the move to RMG. “To go from 80 to 350, we’ve got a lot of new blood.”
Oakbrook, which was considering closing before RMG purchased the club, now has around 650 members, said Cucciardi.
Those are pretty impressive numbers and you wonder if it will drive other golf operators to offer similar packages. Affordable golf is a pretty good drawing card, especially if you’re providing a quality course to play on.
A year into the operation, Cucciardi said the group has its systems in place, and the group is comfortable running day-to-day business at multiple locations and exciting about expanding.
“We’re looking to grow this,” he said. “We’re looking to add three properties this year (within the Puget Sound area), then do a southern market.”
RMG Club is currently in negotiations to purchase some golf courses in the King County area, said Cucciardi.
“We’ve got people walking through here (at the golf show), telling us, ‘We love what you’re doing. When are you going to come up here’? If you live in Bothell or north Seattle or Bellevue, that’s a long way if Oakbrook or McCormick Woods is your home course.”
Cucciardi said they’ve also talked about adding some desert golf properties in Arizona or southern California to give members “some different places to go.”
Cucciardi said this is all about making golf affordable, and getting new people excited about playing the game that has gone through some trying times over the last decade.
“I think golf has long been seen as very exclusive, very expensive,” Cucciardi said. “We’ve lost a couple of generations of golfers. They don’t feel comfortable around the game. Those are the people out playing soccer and snowboarding. We need to welcome them in. It’s a great lifetime game but we have to be relevant to those generations and we’re (the golf industry) not relevant.”
Cucciardi was asked if the group has got any feedback from within the golf industry.
“Surprisingly, not a lot,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re sitting back watching. Maybe it’s just been we’ve been so darn busy we haven’t put ourselves in a position to (hear what’s being said).”
Cucciardi said the RMG Club’s program is unique to the industry. By sharing resources and expertise, they’ve been able to make improvements at all of their existing properties.
“I have not seen anything similar,” he said. “We’ve got to strike now.”
Ryan Moore remains very involved, and calls all of the time, said Cucciardi.
“His face is on it so he definitely is going to care about what happens,” he said. “He’s a great guy and he needs to focus on his day job, which is playing great golf and he did last week.”
Cucciardi was referring to Moore’s fourth-place finish in the Waste Management Open at Phoenix.
Golf summit set for March 26
Golf Alliance of Washington’s annual summit meeting, an all-day conference on March 26 at Chambers Bay in University Point, is open to the public.
Among other things, you’ll hear about USGA Green Section Outreach initiatives, regional player development, a state of the game report from the National Golf Foundation and get a walking tour of Chambers Bay with course designers Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Bruce Charlton.
Jones and Charlton will talk about changes that have been made to the pure links course, and will give you an idea of how the course will play for the 2015 U.S. Open.
Go to www.wwgcsa.org for online registration and more information. Cost is $55, or $60 after March 22.
The new clubhouse at the Suquamish Tribe’s White Horse Golf Club in Kingston is scheduled to be completed by early March. The project is on a pace to be completed in nine months. The club has operated out of a temporary pro shop since it opened in 2007. … Tucker’s Restaurant at Gold Mountain has been re-named The Restaurant at Gold Mountain by Columbia Hospitality, the management group that took over operation of the Bremerton city-owned course on Jan. 1. New director of golf Daryl Matheny said the transition has been smooth and things are going well. Matheny was the head pro under former director of golf Scott Alexander, who is leasing property at the course for his golf cart business. … Jeff Mehlert’s Northwest Junior Golf Tour is preparing for its second tournament of the year. It will be Feb. 16-18 and will be played on three Tacoma courses — Fircrest, Oakbrook and Tacoma Country and Golf Club. Go to www.jrgty.com for information. For questions, email Mehlert: email@example.com. … Gold Mountain’s aligned itself with Chambers Bay, and The Home Course for a golf package that includes three rounds and two nights at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. … Chambers Bay, which is hosting the 2015 U.S. Open, is hosting the Washington State Men’s Amateur on June 18-20.
Tour Players with Northwest ties, accoding to Inside Golf magazine:
PGA Tour: Fred Couples, Seattle; Ben Crane, Portland; Robert Garrigus, Gresham, Ore.; Andres Gonzales, Olympia; Jeff Gove, Seattle; Ryan Moore, Puyallup; Troy Kelly, Bremerton; Richard H. Lee, Bellevue; Kyle Stanley, Gig Harbor
Web.com Tour: Jason Allred, Ashland, Ore.; Alex Prugh, Spokane; Andrew Putnam, Tacoma; Michael Putnam, Tacoma.
Champions Tour: Fred Couples, Seattle; Bob Gilder, Corvallis, Ore.; Peter Jacobsen, Portland; Kirk Triplett, Pullman.
LPGA Tour: Jimin Kang, Seattle; Paige Mackenzie, Yakima; Wendy Ward, Edwall, WA., ; Kim Welch, Washington State University.