Seven Lakes Country Club officially has new owners. Golf Seven Lakes LLC, headed up by industry veterans Larry Galloway and Jon Whittemore, closed the transaction on Tuesday, January 27.
"The members have been phenomenal," Galloway told The Times. "I can't remember the last time I felt so welcomed by a group of people."
The membership met on Sunday, December 14 and voted to dissolve Seven Lakes Country Club, Inc., to facilitate the sale of its assets.
As The Times reported in December, Galloway and Whittemore are both alumni of ClubCorp, the largest owner of private golf and country clubs in the US. ClubCorp owned Pinehurst Resort and Country Club from the mid-1980s until 2006.
The two men also worked together at Century Golf Partners, a golf management and consulting firm that has rights to the Arnold Palmer Golf Management brand.
The pair have acquired acquired three other courses in the past couple of years: Serenoa Golf Club and Rolling Green Golf Club in Sarasota, FL, and West Ridge Golf Club in McKinney, TX, which is part of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Whittemore resides in Florida; Galloway, in Texas.
New Manager, Superintendent
Galloway said they plan some exciting upgrades to the clubhouse, the course and the marketing effort — some of which he is not quite ready to share with the public.
But changes have already been made and others are in the works.
Seven Lakes Country Club has a new General Manager, Jay Iskow, who Galloway described as "a big, good-looking guy who plays great golf and brings plenty of experience to the job."
Iskow had previously worked under Whittemore and most recently managed a private club in the Buffalo, NY area.
"He's excited to be coming to the Sandhills," Galloway said.
Popular SLCC Superintendent Scotty Clawson has accepted a position in Cary, moving closer to his wife's place of employment, leaving a vacancy that has been filled with Kyle Brown. Galloway said Brown was previously superintendent for three of the Pinehurst Resort courses.
"We were sad that Scotty is leaving," Galloway said, "but were happy to have such a good choice in Kyle."
The team is also interviewing a new chef for the SLCC dining room. Galloway will be making the trip up from Texas for a food tasting the week of February 2.
"We will be changing the whole bar out," he added. "I enjoy searching for great wines and beers."
Though a number of marketing plans aren't quite ready for publication, Galloway said, one enhancement that will be tackled right away is rehabilitation of the course's cart paths.
Praise for First Bank
Galloway didn't disclose the financial details of the sale, but he was effusive in his praise of First Bank, which held the previous mortgage on the club and was instrumental in financing the purchase.
"First Bank bent over backwards to make this happen," Galloway said. "The deal could not have happened without their cooperation."
"First Bank was the heart of getting this deal done," Galloway said, "and at heart they really had a vision of what is for the long term good of the community."