Resort's New Owner Brings Some Change
With the Dedman family acquisition of Pinehurst official, not everything in Pinehurst is as it used to be.
Most of the changes have to do with titles. The company that runs Pinehurst Resort is now Pinehurst, L.L.C., rather than Pinehurst Inc. Bob Dedman Jr. is now the chief executive officer and Don Padgett II is chief operating officer.
The Dedman family officially assumed ownership Dec. 26. Since then, word has come from Dedman and Padgett that taking care of members is priority one.
"There is a decided focus on member relations and member services," said Janeen Driscoll, communications director. "It comes from the top."
Other than that, there are few visible changes around the world-renowned resort. Driscoll said that it will probably be March before Dedman and Pinehurst make a plan on how best to move forward.
"Nothing is going on right now," Driscoll said.
Pinehurst is continuing its $6 million renovation of rooms in the Carolina Hotel. Some Pinehurst officials are changing offices. Come March, there may be some other changes on the horizon that Pinehurst hopes will make members happy.
"It is important that we preserve the traditions of Pinehurst and continue to provide a great experience to all of our members," Dedman said. "We'll be looking in the months ahead to strengthen that experience, and continue to enhance the members' pride in belonging."
Dedman intends to spend about a third of the year in Pinehurst. He'll spend the rest of his time with his family in Dallas, Texas.
The Dedman family takeover happened to coincide with Pinehurst's reduction of greens fees, but Driscoll said that the reduction is seasonal.
"It has absolutely nothing to do with it," she said of the ownership change.
Pinehurst's rededication to its members could be interpreted as grasping for more market share from a population that considers club membership much less important than it once did.
Driscoll said that is not the case. A recent survey conducted among members shows they are pleased with their memberships.
"I don't think there is a worry," she said. "This was one of the most positive years we've had to date. Satisfaction is at an all-time high."
In October, Pinehurst's previous owner, ClubCorp announced that the private equity firm, KSL Capital Partners, was going to purchase nearly 170 ClubCorp properties, minus what Dedman calls the crown jewel -- Pinehurst.
The Dedman family had owned 70 percent of ClubCorp. Cypress Investment Corp. owned the other 30 percent.
The family purchased Pinehurst, to become the sole owner. Pinehurst hasn't divulged the purchase price. ClubCorp said that the sale of Pinehurst and ClubCorp came to a combined $1.8 billion.
The sale ended almost 50 years of Dedman control of ClubCorp, which is based in Dallas. The late Robert Dedman Sr. founded the company. ClubCorp bought Pinehurst from a consortium of banks back in 1984.
ClubCorp rescued Pinehurst from near financial ruin. The company spent millions of dollars restoring the Carolina Hotel and refurbishing the golf courses.
The goal was the return of professional golf and ultimately a U.S. Open. Those efforts paid off in 1999, when Pinehurst hosted the Open. It was hailed as one of the most successful Opens ever. The return engagement of the Open in 2005 also set a new standard.
A statue of Dedman Sr. now stands near the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2. Dedman Jr. became chairman of ClubCorp when his father died in 2002.
Pinehurst members will still be able to play on ClubCorp's former properties and also have access to KSL's properties.
Matthew Moriarty can be reached at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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