May 29, 2013 update
We have been informed by Paul Clampitt, President of the Mill Creek Country Club’s Board of Directors, that the country club’s financial problems have eased.
Clampitt said via email, “The members overwhelmingly rejected the idea of selling the club and since then we have been able to restructure our debt in such a way as to give us at least 5 more years to build membership.”
Original May 20, 2013 article
In a May 15, 2013 email to country club members the Mill Creek Country Club Board of Trustees announced that the decision of whether or not to sell the club has been postponed to give members a chance to reflect on their situation and to develop options.
The Mill Creek Country Club Board of Trustees received many comments and suggestions from members regarding the club’s financial situation in the past three weeks. The overwhelming response has been that members would like to keep the club member-owned if at all possible.
The May 13, 2013 Special Town Hall Meeting was very emotional as the board presented details regarding the club’s options and members provided their feedback and suggestions.
At the Special Town Hall Meeting country club members learned that RMG Club has offered $3.4 million for the club. According to the board’s presentation, this is the third purchase offer the club has received from RMG Club over the past few months.
As a result of the county club members’ responses at the meeting, the May 16th meeting where potential buyers were to have presented their offerings was cancelled.
In an email to club members Paul Clampitt, Mill Creek Country Club Board of Trustees President, explained why the meeting was cancelled, “The contentious nature of Monday night's meeting has gotten back to RMG management and they believe a cooling off period is required to give time for people to reflect.”
Here is an excerpt from RMG Club’s letter cancelling their May 16th presentation to Mill Creek Country Club members:
“We recognize that you and your general membership had a meeting this past Monday evening and that the gist of the conversation centered around a lot of members not realizing the severity of a number of the issues facing the club. As we have discussed, these are common problems in most of the clubs in America today, and certainly worthy of careful consideration. We really believe that a thoughtful review of our interest by the general membership in light of these issues, will only increase their desire to hear our vision up close and in person.”
“However, with so many of the members that haven't had or taken the time that you and the board have to consider all of the issues, I feel that our appearance on Thursday night and the expectation of a membership vote only a matter of a few days later, is foolhardy at best. We only desire a mutually beneficial arrangement between Mill Creek Country Club and RMG Club and a feeling of forcing a decision upon a reluctant or unwilling membership will do neither any lasting good.”
“We still desire the opportunity to address your entire membership and to have them vote, and are hopeful that we could not only convince them to vote in our favor, but to also join the RMG Club family and continue to enjoy this club that they love so much. With that said, the time for such a presentation and vote is at a time when your board and general membership are aligned and in agreement to listen with an open mind and carefully consider our serious intent.”
RMG Club operates three golf courses in the Pacific Northwest. Headed by Ryan Moore, a PGA Tour Winner from Puyallup, RMG Club purchased and turned around the struggling Oakbrook Country Club in 2012.
According to Brent Champaco in his July 2012 article, the Oakbrook Country Club saw a 420 percent increase in golfer subscriptions from January to May 2012 after RMG Club purchased the club.
Champaco quoted Ryan Moore regarding his opinion of the private country club business model, “Golf on private courses is a broken business model because of limited access. The stigma that golf is a sport for men doesn’t help either. I want everyone to enjoy the sport that I love, and I want them to feel welcome on our courses, and I do mean everyone.”
The Mill Creek Country Club Board of Trustees intends to ask the club’s equity members to weigh in with a non-binding vote indicating their level of interest in selling the club sometime in the near future.