When Regan Remillard purchased Haven Country Club, then known as Mount Pleasant Country Club, from members on January 1, 2012, the Boylston club was in financial difficulty.
He had been a member for eight years and did his best to bring the club back to life, spending approximately $5 million to renovate the clubhouse, clubhouse entrance, course and parking lot to push his total investment to the over $10 million, including the purchase price.
Membership has doubled from less than 200 when he bought the club to nearly 400 today, including social memberships.
“It just means there are more friends and families having fun,” he said. “That’s a great story right there.”
By the time Remillard sold the club last Tuesday to Invited, the world’s largest private club owner and operator, no one could deny he had achieved his goal of making The Haven one of the best country clubs in the city. region.
“Today, in my opinion, it is one of the best clubs in the region,” he said. “Perhaps it all starts with our phenomenal golf course, which I personally consider the most enjoyable to play. We also have incredibly talented senior staff, and we have a very, very warm and friendly, inviting and inclusive membership and environment. We just have a wonderful group of people who are totally enjoying it. The club has never been stronger or better, and it’s a wonderful time for Invited to step in and take over.”
Maurice DarbyshireGuest senior vice president, okay.
“It really fits our brand,” he said. “It’s a great family golf course. Regan has done a very good job maintaining the facility and making improvements.
Darbyshire declined to disclose the club’s purchase price.
Rémillard has sold the club, but he plans to stay.
“I have the only house on the golf course, which means a lot to me,” he said, “and I plan to stay in this house and remain a member of The Haven.”
Why did he sell the club?
“It’s just time,” he said.
Why did he sell it to Invited, a Dallas-based company that changed its name from ClubCorp in April?
“Most importantly,” he said, “I felt that as a large golf course holding company, they offered the best chance of the golf course remaining a golf course and perhaps to be more importantly, they offered the best chance of continuing to represent the interests of the NEPGA as I would have under my ownership.
The PGA of New England built its new headquarters in The Haven and opened in July, between the club car park and the driving range, opposite the clubhouse. This is the first time NEPGA has had its own headquarters in its 106-year history.
The NEPGA already had a long association with The Haven CC. The club has hosted the NEPGA Pro-Pro Stroke Play Championship for 55 years, which NEPGA Executive Director Mike Higgin believes it to be the longest PGA sectional event held on the same course in the United States
Higgins, 47, knows The Haven very well. As the club flourished, he played his home matches for the Shrewsbury High golf team there, and he worked at the club in the bag room and picked the range for the former pro chief. Art Harris for six years while in high school and college. He later saw that the club had slipped, and he appreciated what Rémillard did to rejuvenate it.
“It was a glimmer of what it was like when I was working there,” Higgins said, “and it was at rock bottom, and he resurrected it and brought it to life and did a lot of work I don’t even know if the members will ever know or appreciate what he did, the care he gave to the place.
Darbyshire said he looked forward to working with NEPGA and sees the organization as a great partner.
Remillard said almost all employees will remain with the club under the new owner, and that was important to him.
“I think they have great staff here,” Darbyshire said. “Great people, all working hard, obviously with immense pride for the club. So it was a pretty easy choice.
Invited has a portfolio of 200 golf clubs and country clubs, town clubs, sports clubs and stadium clubs owned or operated in 29 states, and seven BigShots Golf locations. Marquee Invited properties include Firestone CC in Akron, Ohio; Mission Hills CC in Rancho Mirage, CA; The Woodlands CC in Houston and the Metropolitan Club in Chicago.
Darbyshire met with staff and members of The Haven last week.
Darbyshire also appreciated that The Haven gave Invited a bigger presence in Massachusetts. Invited has two other golf courses in the state, the Ridge Club in Sandwich and the Ipswich Country Club on the North Shore.
Darbyshire said he wanted members to feel as comfortable as possible with the new owner before any changes were made.
“So we will maintain the way Regan ran it,” he said, “and we will assess over the winter months areas that need improvement or change.”
Darbyshire said he had no plans to play a trick at The Haven last week but would try to pull one off on his next visit.
In 2014, under the ownership of Rémillard, the club changed its name from Mount Pleasant CC to The Haven CC to rebrand itself and avoid confusion with Pleasant Valley CC in Sutton and Mount Pleasant Golf Club in Lowell.
Mount Pleasant CC opened in Leicester and moved to Boylston in 1955. Design by William Mitchell recently refurbished by Forse Design.
On June 23, Remillard informed the members via email that “with mixed emotion, but great enthusiasm”, he had reached an agreement in principle to sell the club to Guest. A few days later, guest representatives visited the club to meet with members.
Remillard described Guest as a “members-first” organization that would be the “ideal new owner” of the club “to build on the growth and success” of its 10-year ownership.
On Tuesday, he again emailed members to let them know the sale had been finalized. Invited representatives met with members over the next two days.
Remillard said he has no regrets buying The Haven ten years ago.
“Would I do it again? In the blink of an eye,” he said. “It was a great experience, very happy with everything there. Everything went really well.
The season continues for “Talking Golf”
Golf season may be coming to an end for some, but not for “Talking Golf,” a radio show on WTAG (580 AM, 94.9 FM). Cyprian Keyes GC Managing DirectorDavid Frem has hosted the show from 7 to 8 a.m. on Sundays year-round for the past seven years.
Brian Fitzgibbonswho recently left the position of director of education at Cyprian Keyes to work for PXG Golf, and the golfers of Cyprian Keyes Dan and dave falcucci and Brett Malboeuf are frequent co-hosts.
The show is usually recorded, but broadcast live during the majors and the Ryder Cup.
Super Senior Amateur at Taconic
Mass Golf’s final men’s tournament of the year, the ninth annual Super Senior Amateur for golfers 65 and older, will take place Monday and Tuesday at the Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown. Jim Ruschioni of Wachusett CC, Bruce Carter of Green Hill, David Holmes of Blackstone National, Doug Farmer bedrock and Carter Fasick from Westborough GC will be among the local golfers teeing off.
The final women’s competition, the Endicott Cup and Tri-State matches, will take place Oct. 11-13 at Madison CC in Connecticut. The event consists of one-on-one stroke play, followed by tri-state matches between Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
—Contact Bill Doyle at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BillDoyle15