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Dormie Network

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION

Dormie Network, a growing network of private clubs, offers members a pure golf experience and exclusive access to all clubs.

Lincoln, Nebraska: Over the past decade, the drumbeat of private clubs adding non-golf amenities and family-friendly activities has grown louder. Many times facilities are forced to juggle scarce capital when evaluating which member enhancements to green light, often to the detriment of the game of golf itself.

In the golf market as large as America’s (with an estimated 25 million players), there’s a niche in the marketplace to serve avid golfers solely looking for a quality, pure-play day on the links.

Dormie Network, with six highly regarded private golf clubs under its umbrella, established a mission to deliver the highest caliber golf experience. Current facilities include Ballyhack in Virginia, ArborLinks in Nebraska, Briggs Ranch in Texas, Dormie Club in North Carolina, Victoria National (a Golf Digest Top 100 course in America) in Indiana, and Hidden Creek Golf Club in New Jersey. Future plans include steadily adding up to a dozen highly rated golf clubs nationwide.

“Out of approximately 15.6 million airline flights last year, 14 percent were via private jet,” said Zach Peed, president of Dormie Network. “Wherever corporate America flies, our objective is to entertain them!”

Following A Passion

The management team behind Dormie Network has a strong lineage of entrepreneurship. Zach, one of three siblings to work at the family owned and operated Sandhills Publishing, headquarted in Lincoln, Nebraska, was instilled with the importance of strong values and the nuances of operating an expansive business operation early on.

“The name Sandhills Publishing speaks to our Midwestern roots and work ethic,” explained Zach. “My dad founded the company that has grown to nearly 1,400 employees. He named the corporation after sandhill cranes. The birds are loyal (they mate for life) and a flock will only fly as fast as its slowest bird.

“I’ve traveled and golfed with my dad from an early age, which has provided me the opportunity to visit many of America’s best clubs and understand the intricacies of what it takes to operate a world-class facility. I’ve witnessed and noted many flaws in the business models of private clubs that ultimately caused financial hardship.

“When we look at adding a club to our roster, our evaluation considers three core criteria. First and foremost, the course must have on-site overnight accommodations or, at a minimum, have the zoning and entitlements to build cottages,” said Zach. “Second, the golf course must be architecturally significant with a worthy design. Finally, existing membership must be fully onboard with our purchase of their club.”

The Launch Of A Brand

ArborLinks, an Arnold Palmer Signature design in Nebraska City (about an hour from the Sandhills Publishing’s global headquarters) was the first to be purchased in late 2015.

“It may be an unfamiliar name, but I promise it will impress,” expressed Zach. “With its close proximity to our home office, we were able to ‘test the water’ on establishing a national membership program. After careful evaluation, we determined that a premium club with limited and exclusive local membership and a large national membership would provide the proper balance of cash flow and exclusivity to operate as a travel-worthy facility.”

A year after purchasing ArborLinks, Ballyhack in Virginia, entered the conversation. “It’s a Lester George design, top-rated by Golf Digest and the homes are set far back from the fairways. If you hit your ball into a backyard at Ballyhack, your golf game might need some work,” joked Zach. “Ballyhack was a perfect fit for our mold. The scenery is incredible and you feel as if you’re in a world of your own.”

In the summer of 2017, Dormie Network purchased Briggs Ranch, a quality Tom Fazio design outside of San Antonio. “The club was a great addition as its reputation really put us on the national stage,” recalled Zach.

With three clubs in its portfolio, Dormie Network had reached a critical mass as it set out to establish a true national membership plan.

“We contemplated many names for the network, all aimed at evoking luxury and prestige,” said Zach. “At the same time that we were narrowing the list of choices, after a two-year period of negotiation, the fourth club was added—The Dormie Club in Pinehurst.

“A light bulb went off,” revealed Zach. “The golf term ‘dormie’ refers to when a player, in match play, is up as many holes remain. The bottom line: It’s impossible to lose. With our collection of clubs and service standards, ‘dormie’  is certainly fitting. Our national membership is a ‘can’t lose’ offering for the avid golfer. We carry no debt and do not charge assessments. It’s not a reciprocal play arrangement. Every member is a full member at all clubs with unlimited play and no catches like cart fees or food minimums.”

Dormie Network’s established management team has deep roots in golf. Mark Ruhga, formerly of Landscapes Unlimited, leads operations; Clint Tolbert, former superintendent at Nanea in Hawaii, is chief agronomy officer; Dave Plaster, once with John Deere Golf, is chief marketing officer; Phil Owenby, previously of Kinloch, is chief development officer; and acclaimed chef Tony Pope, formerly at The Greenbrier, is the network’s executive chef.

“Dormie Network is definitely about golf and growing fast, but it’s first and foremost about the experience members and guests have at our clubs,” concluded Zach. “Consistently exceptional service is paramount.” 

To inquire about membership, visit DormieNetwork.com.

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