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Bechtol & Southern Golf Properties Team Up


Golf architect and community planner Roy Bechtol has struck a partnership with John Junker and Bryan Gathright, the principals of Southern Golf Properties. The arrangement will allow that management group to offer its clients and future customers design and renovation expertise as well as a "cradle-to-running" plan for golf course projects.

Bechtol, principal of Austin-based Bechtol Golf Design and two affiliated companies (Planned Environments, Inc. and Waters of America), will bring a design eye to the cache that Southern Golf Properties manages. If the courses need remodeling - and such changes are approved by ownership - Bechtol will consult on the alterations, while adhering to improved architectural principles and a measured reflection on the players' enjoyment.

"I am excited about working with Southern Golf Properties," Bechtol said. "There are a lot of ways we can help each other. Having a management team associated with a golf course project from day one is crucial and needed step toward success in this industry and especially in this economy. Southern Golf Properties and their principals have shown they have the chops to make golf courses work and thrive."

As a trade-off, Southern Golf Properties will serve as the top consideration as the management group for courses that Bechtol has designed or are set to begin development. The agreement is not exclusive, meaning Southern Golf does not have to use Bechtol and the courses Bechtol designs might not be managed by Southern Golf Properties.

"We are happy to be associated with Roy and have him as part of our team," said Junker, Southern Golf Properties' chief executive officer. "Joining in this manner with Roy and Bechtol Golf Design makes a welcome and great addition to the business plan originally set forth by Southern Golf Properties. This partnership will add credibility and experience to both our short- and long-term goals."

Thanks to the partnership with Bechtol, Southern Golf Properties offers a "cradle to running" concept that incorporates golf course design, construction, land planning, marketing and management - the five fingers of the firm's overall business model. Southern Golf Properties will also allow current golf course owners an "a la carte" option, allowing the client to pick and choose the services it needs to make its course a success.

"Our goals are to provide a consistent experience that is unparalleled in our industry and to be recognized as leader in facility management and development," said Gathright, Southern Golf Properties' president and one of Golf Magazine's top 100 teachers. "Partnering with Roy is one of the ways we will reach our goals. We are excited and honored that he will be working with us and sharing his expertise with our team."

Beginning in 1974 as Planned Environments, Inc., Bechtol has built a company that builds communities and has focused on golf course design, construction, land planning and management.

Among the Texas courses on the Austin-based Bechtol's resume are the newly rebranded Grey Rock Golf Club in southwest Austin, The Club at ConCan in the southwest Texas Frio River valley, ShadowGlen Golf Club in Manor, The Golf Club at Star Ranch in Hutto, The University of Texas Golf Club at Steiner Ranch, Austin Country Club, The Golf Club of Texas in San Antonio, Barton Creek Resort, Great Hills Country Club, RiverPlace Country Club and The Hills of Lakeway.

Bechtol has also designed tracks in Louisiana, Oklahoma, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado.

Bechtol Golf Design was founded in 1998 as an independent golf course architecture and design practice. During its first decade of work, Bechtol Golf Design has designed, built or collaborated in the building of more than 50 golf courses, no less than 20 of which have been recognized by his peers and the industry for their challenge, their beauty and their playability.

"We try to build courses that reward a broad range of play levels and integrates seamlessly into the community and the environment," Bechtol said. "As simple as it seems, Bechtol Golf Design fashions and designs golf courses that are beautiful and fun to play. Working with John and Bryan as part of Southern Golf Properties is a continuation of those beliefs."

Bechtol's involvement with golf course design began at the Austin Country Club with Pete Dye in the late 1970s. Since then he has worked on numerous projects with Tom Fazio and was associated with Tom Weiskopf and Jay and Carter Morrish & Associates for 14 years. He still designs course with long-time partner Tom Kite.

Five of Bechtol's courses have been honored with prestigious Golf Digest "Best of" awards in the past seven years. In 2007, Bechtol Golf Design's Black Bear Golf Club in Delhi, Louisiana - which was designed in collaboration with former partner Randy Russell - won such kudos. Black Bear Golf Course, after just a year of play, is already the home course of Louisiana's renowned Audubon Golf Trail.

Southern Golf Properties, based in Bandera, Texas, is a diverse golf management and consulting firm encompassing all facets of the golf industry. Its current management portfolio is concentrated in the Southern portion of the United States but the firm will be moving into Mexico in late 2008 or early 2009.

Southern Golf Properties currently manages four golf-course properties: The Club at ConCan in southwest Texas; The Flying L Guest Ranch in Bandera, Texas; Alsatian Golf Club in Castroville, Texas; and the Utopia Golf Course in Utopia, Texas. The firm is in negotiations to manage a handful of other courses, including Casa Blanca Golf Course in Laredo, Texas; the Golf Club of Texas in San Antonio and the not-yet-built Sun Chase Golf Club in Austin.