In February 2021, when record-breaking low temperatures caused water pipes to rupture and create substantial flood damage at Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City, the club’s owners – Concert Golf Partners – didn’t hesitate to begin making repairs.

“They just started writing checks,” Mark Oman, a former owner of Glen Oaks Country Club and golf course in West Des Moines, said about Concert Golf Partners. The quick response to a disaster was among the things that helped Oman and his Glen Oaks partners decide to sell the West Des Moines property to Concert Golf Partners, headquartered in Lake Mary, Fla.

“They immediately started fixing the [Gaillardia] clubhouse,” said Oman, who with other partners visited the Oklahoma City club last fall, where they saw that nearly all of the repair work was completed. 

“How [Concert Golf] responded to that disaster gave us a good feeling,” he said. “They have the resources, the expertise and they can make things happen.”

In December, the Glen Oaks partnership group sold the golf course property and two-story clubhouse to Concert Golf Partners for $12.5 million.
The transaction closes a chapter on the nearly 30-year-old West Des Moines golf and country club, whose previous owners acquired it out of bankruptcy and invested in numerous improvements that turned a struggling club into one that is thriving.

“We’re interested in the leading clubs in a major metro area, and Glen Oaks certainly fits that description,” said Peter Nanula, CEO of Concert Golf Partners, which was founded in the 1990s. Glen Oaks is a “top-notch golf course, wonderful clubhouse and [has] great country club amenities. … It’s a gem.”

Glen Oaks’ history
Glen Oaks, located west of Interstate Highway 35 between Grand Avenue and Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines, was developed as a gated residential community and championship golf course in the early 1990s on more than 500 acres of farmland.

The residential community includes 506 lots, 448 of which have single-family houses, townhouses or condominiums built on them, according to the Polk County assessor. The assessed valuation of the lots, including those that are vacant, is $279.7 million.

The golf course, which was designed by award-winning golf architect Tom Fazio, opened in July 1994. The clubhouse, located at 1401 Glen Oaks Drive, was constructed in 1993. The country club and golf course property were valued at just over $5 million in 2021, according to the assessor.

Only the golf course, country club and surrounding property are included in the recent sale.

Members, through a rotating board of part-time volunteers, managed the clubhouse and golf course during Glen Oaks’ early years. The group could not agree on the funding needed for capital improvements or a consistent vision for the club, according to a news release about the recent sale. Glen Oaks partnered with a golf management company, but the arrangement failed to work out. Glen Oaks terminated its agreement with the company and repurchased the club.

During the Great Recession, the member-owned club lost members and defaulted on its bank loan.

With other local investors, Oman purchased Glen Oaks Country Club and golf course in October 2010 from West Bank, which had acquired the property at a sheriff’s sale after the club and homeowners association defaulted on a loan.

The investment group included Mark and Jill Oman, Ron and Ruth Pearson, and Robert and Deb Pulver, all of whom lived in Glen Oaks.

Mark Oman is a retired Wells Fargo executive and former chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership; Ron Pearson is the former chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee Inc.; and Robert Pulver was the founder of All-State Industries, of which he was CEO for 45 years. Pulver died last August.

When the local investment group bought Glen Oaks, the club had 475 members, according to information released in 2010 about the group’s $4.6 million acquisition.

“When we bought the club 11 years ago, there were concerns about the impact the club and golf course would have on the surrounding [residential] community,” Oman said.

The ownership group modernized the clubhouse and its dining rooms. Space was created to better accommodate events such as weddings and parties. In addition, a new swimming pool complex was added and the golf course was refreshed, including adding new cart paths.

The owners did not assess members for the renovations, nor did they take money out of the club to pay for the improvements, according to the news release.

Membership at Glen Oaks is currently at record levels and there is a waitlist of people who want to join the club, according to an email the club’s prior owners sent to members in late November.

“2021 will be a record year for club events and revenue, the Glen Oaks community is a vibrant and sought-after neighborhood, and Glen Oaks Country Club is recognized as a top workplace in the Des Moines area,” the owners wrote in the email.

‘Timing was right’
Concert Golf Partners approached the Glen Oaks partners more than two years ago about selling the West Des Moines property. The group declined, saying they didn’t think the timing to sell was right, Oman said.

In late 2020, when Concert Golf Partners again asked about buying the property, the Glen Oaks partnership decided to explore the option.

“For a variety of reasons, we thought the timing was right,” Oman said. “We had accomplished the goals that we set out to accomplish, and, quite frankly, none of us were getting any younger.”

Oman said the partnership group thoroughly researched Concert Golf Partners before agreeing to sell the club.

“They value the uniqueness of each club and they want to preserve and build on that,” he said. “They don’t have a one-size-fits-all kind of franchise concept.”

Concert Golf Partners describes itself as a “boutique owner-operator of top private golf and country clubs.” The company owns and operates 23 clubs in 12 states. The Glen Oaks purchase is the group’s first Iowa property.

Nanula said each of the country clubs owned by Concert Golf Partners is unique. Some were founded in the early 1900s; others, like Glen Oaks, are newer, he said.

“The one thing that is the same is that the members care deeply about the culture and identity of their club,” Nanula said. “Our big goal is to try to preserve that identity and that culture. … Glen Oaks has a great, great culture.”

According to its website, Concert Golf Partners has $250 million in long-term equity capital to invest and upgrade its properties.

Nanula said Concert Golf Partners will make some capital improvements to the property, including completing the project to add new golf cart paths along the course. Some improvements are also planned at the driving range, and an indoor golf simulator will be added. Some minor upgrades are also planned for the clubhouse, he said.

“We’ll be infusing some capital into a club that’s been very well taken care of by the prior owners and is in really good shape,” Nanula said. “Our test [at Glen Oaks] is preserving and enhancing a little bit.”