Texas group buys local golf club --
LEBANON -- Bigger and better seems to be the theme from the new owners of Lebanon's Five Oaks Golf and Country Club.
The Texas-based ownership of Rob H. Doby, John Cochran and Rick Hopwood were introduced during a Thursday breakfast trumpeting Wednesday's closing on the nearly 500-acre, 18-hole course.
"We're going to take some time to get here and figure out what works here in Lebanon and Wilson County and what our membership thinks, what they want and need," Doby said.
"The changes will be incremental. We're excited to be here and we're excited with what we have. We're just going to improve on it."
Doby, a attorney and the immediate past president of the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, is a 1988 graduate of Vanderbilt University.
He said his investor group for the past eight months had looked at acquiring golf courses and private clubs in a number of locations in the South and Southwest but "nothing we saw checked the boxes of our business plan quite the way Five Oaks, Wilson County, and Middle Tennessee do."
Doby said, besides the golf course and residential community, his group found the region's vibrant economy, the local county’s growth, Five Oaks' location near Interstate 40 to all be important considerations in finalizing the decision to acquire Five Oaks.
“Put simply” Doby said, “we are excited about what is happening in Lebanon and Wilson County, plus we have the convenience of being only 25 minutes from downtown Nashville.”
Principal partner John Cochran is president and owner of ClubDesign Associates / CDA Hospitality, LLC, a full service interior design/architectural firm that services the country club and hospitality industry with offices in Ft. Worth; Palm Desert and Beverly Hills, California; and Scottsdale, Arizona. Cochran, whose client list includes some of the nation's most prestigious golf and private clubs, was named club designer of the year for 2018 at an industry conference in February.
"With golf today, country club business is a dues business," Cochran said.
"I don't see us getting into daily fee golf because we don't want to bank on what Mother Nature does to you. When it rains, you don't make money. If you're a dues business you still have cash flow coming in.
"We saw the opportunity in Lebanon and this area with the two municipal courses (Hunters Point & Windtree) going out to grow private golf.
"Wilson County is one of the fastest growing counties in Tennessee, so it makes for a good formula to come in and buy Five Oaks make it the best it can be."
The third principal owner is commercial developer Rick Hopwood.
"We felt like the club was under-utilized, the memberships have kind of slowed down," said Hopwood. "You've got all these rooftops in this area and all the growth that's going on with very few golf courses.
"We want this to be a fun place for people to come to. We want it to be one of your top three choices for casual dining.
"We're going to reach out to the other subdivisions around here and invite them to come look at Five Oaks and to be a part of it.
"You don't have to live in this one subdivision, we're going to reach out all around here and even into Mt. Juliet That's where we see to potential for this."
Both Cochran and Hopwood currently serve on Colonial's board of directors.
Sam Hatcher, a spokesman for The Farm, LLC, the entity that owned and sold Five Oaks, said the decision to sell to the Fort Worth group was unanimous on the part of "our investor group."
He noted that in the late fall of last year four prospective buyers came forward and made offers to acquire the club.
"Each of these were credible although each had somewhat different plans for where they would direct the club's future. We chose the buyers we did largely because of their personal backgrounds, their history at Colonial, their enthusiasm for Five Oaks and the surrounding area, and the vision they shared to take Five Oaks to another level," Hatcher said.
Hatcher said “The Farm,” LLC would retain ownership in some 22 acres of commercial property that fronts Five Oaks on U.S. Hwy. 70 as well as about 50 undeveloped residential lots within the subdivision.
The selling price for the transaction, including the golf course and country club was not disclosed.
Parties to the sale were introduced by Hilda Allen Real Estate, a Georgia based company and industry leader in golf course and country club sales nationwide, and the company's Tennessee region consultant Marty Howell.
Within the Five Oaks residential community there are about 275 single family homes, 300 villas or condominium units either built or under construction, 300 upscale rentals and some 50 remaining undeveloped home sites.
Outside of Five Oaks but nearby are several mid to upper end single family neighborhoods, another apartment complex, a planned active senior living component, and two recently announced residential subdivisions that are to include about 1,500 homes.
The Five Oaks Golf Course, just more than 6,900 yards in length from the championship tees, features bent grass greens, Zoysia fairways, and a challenging layout with water hazards and frequently changing topography from one hole to the next.
The Five Oaks Clubhouse, containing more than 21,000 sq. ft., provides magnificent views for its guests, elegant dining and serves as a warm and gracious facility for membership events and activities. Five Oaks' members also have access to tennis courts and club swimming pool.
UP NEXT -- Five Oaks will host the annual Dr. Cary Harbrecht Memorial Monday, July 15 to benefit the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce.