National firm to manage White Clay Creek Country Club
CHRISTIANA – Fresh off of its ownership split from Delaware Park Casino and Racetrack, the White Clay Creek Country Club announced recently that it has hired national golf course management firm KemperSports as its new manager.
The public, 18-hole course designed by famed golf course architecture duo, Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest, is KemperSports’ first in Delaware, although the firm based near Chicago manages about 120 courses across 24 states, including the highly regarded Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon and Chambers Bay in Washington.
White Clay Creek Country Club opened in 2005 and is positioned around the racetrack and stables of Delaware Park. The 7,007-yard, par 72 layout features five sets of tees and for the last three years has ranked No. 4 on GolfPass’ annual Golfers’ Choice list of best courses in Delaware.
The 44-year-old, independent, family-owned and -operated KemperSports is one of the few big name management companies in the industry and it connected quickly with the Rickman family who continue to own the course after they began seeking a management firm.
“It was just a really good fit for us,” Jeremy Goldblatt, executive vice president of managed and leased services for KemperSports, told Delaware Business Times. “We’re big enough to provide a ton of expertise, regional buying power and people, but are small enough that we can provide a lot of focused attention.”
Goldblatt said that KemperSports has been very impressed by what it’s seen at White Clay Creek to date, and they don’t intend to make a ton of changes. The firm will retain the existing staff members as well, he said.
KemperSports has a long relationship with youth golf programs like First Tee, which has an active Delaware chapter, that it intends to get further involved at White Clay Creek.
Aside from enhancing the golf course, KemperSports is now tasked with growing the club’s banquet business and dining revenues. The facility includes a 40,000-square foot clubhouse, banquet hall and restaurant, At The Rail Wine Bar & Grille.
“This is the quietest course ranked fourth in a state that you’re going to see. The fact that no one knows about it feels like a huge opportunity,” Goldblatt said, noting that the course previously had to jockey for attention next to the racetrack and casino. “We think it’s a fantastic course, a championship-level course. We just have to get the word out, promote it and continue to connect it to the community.”
The renewed attention at White Clay Creek Country Club comes after the Rickman family sold Delaware Park Casino and Racetrack at the end of last year to a coalition of investors led by a Canadian private equity firm in a sale totaling at least $90 million.