By Ken MacLeod
Joe Robson, owner of Forest Ridge Golf Club in Broken Arrow, has hired Troon to manage the club’s facilities, including the golf course, Ridge Club and restaurant.
Robson said the move to a management company was an opportunity to integrate the expanding club operations while offering savings and efficiencies in human resources, accounting, management and other “back of the house” issues.
“Troon can help put us in a whole other category as far as back-of-the-house operations,” Robson said. “With their menu and shared services, our costs will drop tremendously. We could have gotten there the way we were going but it would have taken us a long time to integrate everything and that is what they do.”
“Forest Ridge is a beautiful community and the club facilities are excellent,” said Troon Golf President Mitch Harrell. “Our Troon Golf team will now look to further advance the club’s service levels, agronomy standards and overall club operations. We are thrilled to be working with the Robson family and the Forest Ridge community.”
Most of the Forest Ridge employees will remain including head professional J.J. Belcoff and superintendent John Babe, who has been with the club since it opened in 1989. General Manager Lance Allen was the casualty.
“I hate that, because Lance was our biggest cheerleader and did a great job for us,” Robson said. “There wasn’t anyone more excited about Forest Ridge. That was the hardest part of the whole decision. But if they’re going to be responsible, they want their own person in there to relay that to the rest of the staff.”
Allen was an assistant at Forest Ridge from 1990-94, then returned in 2006 as head professional after stints at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Glen Eagles and Stewart Peninsula near Dallas and Clary Fields in Sapulpa. He was promoted to GM in 2016. A record of more than 40,000 rounds were played in 2020.
Allen said he understood the direction Robson was taking and he would take a few weeks to assess his future options.
“I’m moving on and I want Forest Ridge to be successful,” Allen said.
Robson said he was well aware of the recent history of Tulsa area courses and management companies, which have ranged from mediocre experiences to outright disasters. He said Troon’s history of successfully managing numerous other courses including many high-end resorts puts them in a different category.
“They are growing but we’re going to be in their top tier,” Robson said. ‘We’re going to continue to offer the great product that we’ve always offered and can actually get better. That’s the bottom line.”
Robson started the master planned Forest Ridge development in the late 1980s and there are now more than 1,300 rooftops and around 5,000 residents with room for continued development The Ridge Club, a state-of-the-art health and fitness center with indoor and outdoor amenities, opened in 2019 and its membership and operations suffered early in 2020 due to the pandemic but have since bounced back.
Forest Ridge also offers full dining open to the public at the Rocking “R” Ranch House restaurant. The course, designed by Randy Heckenkemper, has consistently been rated one of the top three public courses in Oklahoma since opening.
More information about Troon:
Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Troon provides services at 585-plus locations around the globe, including managing 630-plus 18-hole equivalent golf courses. In addition to golf, Troon specializes in homeowner association management, private residence clubs, estate management and associated hospitality venues. Troon’s food and beverage division operates and manages more than 620-plus food and beverage operations located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses and recreational facilities. With properties located in 45-plus states and 30-plus countries, Troon’s family of brands includes Troon Golf, Troon Privé, Troon International, Honours Golf, OB Sports, Indigo Golf Partners, CADDIEMASTER, True Club Solutions, Cliff Drysdale Tennis and RealFood Hospitality, Strategy and Design. Troon-affiliated properties include Princeville Makai Golf Club on Kauai; Champion Hills in Hendersonville, North Carolina; Ocean Club in Paradise Island, Bahamas; and Vattanac Golf Resort in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.