What’s it like to replace the man who topped Golf Inc.’s Most Powerful Person in Golf ranking two of the past three years? Tim Schantz is about to find out. He moves from being president of Troon, the largest third-party manager of golf and club operations in the world, to the CEO role effective April 1st when company founder Dana Garmany becomes Executive Chairman.
“It’s frankly a little bit daunting,” admits the 54-year-old Schantz. “I’m a different person than Dana and I would never pretend to be able to fill his shoes. But it’s important to remember that Dana is not retiring. He’ll be the Executive Chairman of the company. My goal is to continue to grow the company and make what we have been doing even better. But it’s not a reinvention.”
The leadership transition at Troon, one of the NGF’s Top 100 Businesses in Golf, has been an ongoing process for the past year.
“We had an agreement where I told Tim if he had some things that he wanted to do slightly differently, let’s do them now so it doesn’t look like Dana leaves and we flip a switch and all of a sudden start doing something different,” Garmany said.
“Anything that Tim wanted to slightly alter — for example, he went to a more formalized officer meeting with a set agenda and mine was more open — we’ve already done that. There’s no change. Tim’s leadership watch will be a little different than mine, but we wanted to make sure nobody felt there was ‘stop-start.’ We’ll just continue on doing what we’re doing. And we’ve had great success. Our financial model is ahead of schedule; we’re doing better than we thought we’d be doing.”
Starting in 1990 with Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, Garmany has led a company that now operates 280 courses at 246 facilities located in 35 states and 30 countries.
Troon has gone on an acquisition spree in recent years, adding Honours Golf (2014), CADDIEMASTER (2015) Cliff Drysdale Management (2018) and, as recently as this year, Real Food Consulting. The company has also dipped its toe in the lodging business and currently manages close to 1,000 rooms at properties in five states.
Schantz, who recently became one of the newest additions to the NGF’s diverse Board of Directors, joined Troon in 1998 as General Counsel. The Kansas native worked on business development efforts for 16 years before ascending to the president’s role in 2018. Despite the flurry of recent acquisitions, Schantz says Troon will remain focused on the third-party management of golf and golf-related hospitality.
“We’re going to stick to that core business,” he said. “The acquisitions that we are doing are all oriented around either growing that core business through acquiring other management companies, or bolting on ancillary, complimentary businesses that build out that hospitality delivery platform. I think the industry is going to be excited to see some of the things that we’re planning on doing going forward.”
Alex Nakajima, who joined Troon in 2000 and is currently the general manager at the Kapalua Resort in Maui (where the famed Plantation Course is currently being renovated by original designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw), has watched the company expand by leaps and bounds.
“When Dana came up, he was new and innovative with third-party management,” said Nakajima. “Once we had a mass of 100 plus facilities, I think there were a lot of things we could do outside of just operations. There are so many different opportunities now. Tim is the right person to take us to the next level of company growth. I think he will also bring a different relationship and confidence with Troon’s owners (Leonard Green Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm), so I think that’s why we’re gaining more funds related to supporting the company’s growth.”
As for Garmany, he is looking forward to his new role as Executive Chairman.
“I like being able to downshift a little bit,” he said. “The company today, because I have great people… I get a lot of credit for it, but it’s really just hiring really good people and then getting out of their way. So, it won’t be much that different for me, because today I just steer the ship a little bit and make sure we adhere to the principles we have. Tim has been there for 20 years as my right-hand guy and he’s ready to go. The entire rest of the team will be staying in place to support him, and I’ll be there to help if needed with anything. But it’s time for those guys to take the helm and I’m looking forward to doing some different things.”
Just over two decades after joining Troon, Schantz is ready for the challenge of leading approximately 15,000 employees around the world.
“It’s a big company now with a lot people working here,” he said. “It’s my job to make sure that it remains a growing, viable and lucrative place to work.”
Tom is an Arizona-based freelance writer and former Senior Editor at GOLF Magazine. He is a frequent contributor to multiple golf publications, including Troon Golf & Travel, The Met Golfer, Golf Monthly UK and the USGA’s website.
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