Dormie Club leaves its ethics at the door – The North State Journal

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is pictured in this 2018 archive photo (CC)

Golf is ostensibly the game of gentlemen. A self-checking sport where players impose penalties on themselves. These principles would be associated with ethics as a main characteristic

The Dormie Club in West End, North Carolina, was founded on these principles. A private club in the American homeland of golf – Pinehurst – has been designed to attract people who are passionate about the game and genuinely respectful of its history. The name “Dormie” itself reflects that moment when a disputed match becomes “Dormie” when a participant is unable to lose.

The Dormie Club had to be this bucolic place where you could be content with knowing that you could not lose whatever was happening in the rest of the world.

The club was inspired by a man with a deep appreciation for golf who was also a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, Scotland – the original homeland of golf. This gentleman knew that the American homeland of golf needed such a facility. At an initial cost of $ 120,000 for a membership, a hefty fee to find contentment, of course, Dormie was created to attract members who had the same love and appreciation for the game.

In life and in business, timing is critical. The founders commissioned course designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to build the masterpiece they produced. The course is without a doubt one of the best in North Carolina. Sadly, the 2008-2009 financial crisis prevented Dormie from becoming what she was meant to be. Almost all of its members have requested reimbursement of their significant initiation fees.

Dormie then operated as a public institution.

In 2017, a wealthy family from the west acquired the course and a young family member was appointed as CEO. After the acquisition, Dormie continued to operate publicly but began recruiting members from North Carolina for a club that promised to eventually convert to a private facility. A smaller initiation fee of $ 5,000 to $ 15,000 plus monthly membership fees guaranteed membership.

The new owners have invested heavily in a clubhouse and nightclubs to align the business model with its other five “off-market” facilities across the country. These five institutions had, and will continue to have, a traditionally private membership model. The network is sold as interchangeable between the six clubs so that members can play on any of them at any time.

About 35 new members were recruited to Dormie at the lower initiation fee level. None were alerted that their memberships should ultimately be stamped out and all their fees lost. Why, I’m not sure. In essence, they’ve become “useful idiots” for short-term cash flow. Two residents of Pinehurst in particular, both of whom had paid the initiation fee of $ 120,000 before 2010, remained loyal to the Dormie Club in the belief that the original vision would eventually be realized. Both have expressed this conviction to Dormie’s management on numerous occasions. Both recruited new members, helped break down barriers to property development, and facilitated events and trips that boosted annual revenue for room occupancy.

At the end of September 2021, the big blow came. The CEO informed all members that there would be no gambling at the Dormie Club unless a paying member also rents a room for the night at the club. Imagine being a young family in the area, having recently paid $ 15,000 for a membership plus dues, and now forced to rent a room to play at your club 30 minutes from your home.

Worse yet, how about being one of two local members who paid $ 120,000 for a membership, stayed at the club for a dozen years, facilitated membership growth, only to find out you had to hire? a room to play your lesson ten minutes from home.

Written requests to the CEO have all gone unanswered.

The only undeniable hallmark of golf and great leadership is ethics. It is genius that cannot be put back in the bottle. The owners of Dormie have forgotten everything everyone knows about golf: ethics and etiquette.