Imagine your dream elite golf country club. Now imagine that its membership includes playing on top courses at name resorts without being tied down to a particular link, destination or time frame.
Sound too good to be true? It isn’t! It’s an apt précis of The Markers Golfers Residence Club, a destination vacation club with a difference – golf.
“I grew up playing at a country club in Colorado, and I loved [it], but I got tired of always playing the same place,” explains Mitch Brinton, The Markers’ co-founder and executive director. “I had a dream of membership where I wasn’t stuck in one spot. Then I got an idea: a golf membership club with multiple locations.”
Think of it as a vacation club that’s all about golf.
“There are many membership vacation clubs,” Brinton observes. “But, other clubs treat golf as an amenity – like a massage. For us, golf comes first. We want three hundred and twenty-five golf fanatics as members.”
That number – 325 – isn’t tossed out at random. It’s integral to the plan: creating a club of manageable size.
Currently, the company has about 75 members. It owns 11 homes in popular locales like Cabo San Lucas in Mexico or Scottsdale, Arizona, and at world-class destinations, like Kiawah, South Carolina, and Archerfield, Scotland. Ultimately Brinton wants 36 homes in his portfolio, serving those 325 members, maximum.
More importantly, The Markers evokes a country club-style, bringing members together for tournaments and sojourns at meccas like Royal Oaks or Missions Hills, playing with pros like Dave Marr, Billy Casper, or Donna Caponi.
Still, it’s understood that not everyone lives in golf. “We realized that some members have families who might not play golf,” Brinton says. “We try to find locations with a happy mix of activities – like Cabo – and we use member input in our decisions.”
The club’s size and personalization rank highly with Vince Renda, an attorney from San Diego. “I liked that the membership would be limited and that you have access to the decision-makers,” he comments. “I didn’t want a club with two thousand members where you can’t talk to the principals. Here you can give input.”
That personalization begins with signing on as a member. “To become a member,” Brinton explains, “you have to be sponsored by a current member. You can purchase a preview membership: you pay annual dues and have twelve months to see if it fits your lifestyle and if we fit you. You get to meet members and the founders, and we can then sponsor you if we all get along.”
Renda also commends the club’s financial framework. “I like the way it’s set up – Markers owns the properties, and they’re not over-written,” he says. “It’s a safe middle-ground approach, and they’re in for the long haul. It’s fair and secure.”
The Markers Golfers Residence Club features a reasonable financial structure, good locations, a Golf-centric program. That’s all good, but it’s the homes and services that create extraordinary value.
Consider The Markers’ house in Kiawah. The 3,000 square-foot home sits on the Cougar Point Course. This modern home boasts four bedrooms, five baths, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. The impeccable furnishings include an indoor putting green. Outside, a sprawling rear deck affords the perfect drink sipping and wildlife watching perch for the native alligators.
When you arrive, concierge Gwen Tims will stock the larder to your preference. Upon request, she’ll book dinner reservations or retain a master chef to create your meals. Naturally, preferred tee times await, but the best, four sets of new Callaways stand ready for your use.
Says member Dori Frye of Dallas, “I absolutely love the way they decorate the houses – and that they’ll pick you up at the airport, have a rental car at the house, order groceries in advance, and have all your activities set up ahead. It’s great to have someone who knows the place, and who you can call if you need something.”
“All destination clubs are similar in many ways,” comments Renda, “but Markers’ have the best clubs ready to go, and the houses are on the course or right next to it. At St. George [Utah], they come to your garage and load your cart right there. And they have people on board connected with the golf world. The Markers guys can get you on courses like Winged Foot and Shinnecock, which is impossible for the average person.”
Then again, this club isn’t for people of average golf passion. But, if you love the game, chances are you’ll like The Markers.