Celebration Golf Management eyes major growth, will focus on southeast region

Pictured in photo clockwise left to right, Gene Garrote, president of Celebration Golf Management, LLC.;  John Bixler,  Golf Event Manager and Merchandise Supervisor; and Tano Malentin, Celebration Golf Operations Manager.CELEBRATION, Fla. - Celebration Golf Management LLC plans to expand the business model that has grown the four year old company into a well-respected regional management firm with six central Florida courses and two more in Myrtle Beach and Kingsport, Tenn. 

Gene Garrote, president and principal of Celebration Golf Management LLC, launched the company in 2007 while he was operating the Celebration Golf Course in the unique Disney community near Orlando. 

Garrote, 39 grew up in Miami, of Spanish and Italian heritage, where he started playing golf as a 15 year old and took jobs at local courses to earn more playing time.

“I started as a bag attendant, worked in the cart barn, in the golf shop, in food and beverage and finally worked my way into management,” Garrote said. That’s where he found his passion.

Today, Celebration Golf Management employs more than 300 co-workers. More than 30 managers at Celebration Golf followed Garrote’s career path “up through the ranks.”

“Golf course management is a relationship business,” Garrote said. “Every visit to one of our courses presents the opportunity for us to help create a lifetime memory for the golfer. Every detail of our business aims to achieve that,” Garrote said.

Garrote said Celebration Golf enjoys modest growth and profitability thanks to a conservative approach that keeps the customers — and the courses — first.

“Our priorities are first making sure the guest is number one, second, making sure our co-workers have all the resources they need to provide excellent services and a memorable golfing experience on every visit, and third, to generate a profit,” Garrote said.

“We dissect our business and look at every single element, every expense,” he said. “We put our profits back into the courses, our guest facilities, our equipment and our co-workers,”

The U.S. economic downturn has separated the good golf management companies from the great ones, Garrote said, and Celebration Golf’s top managers have become expert at out-of-the-box thinking.

“We don’t look at golf courses as the sole revenue center,” Garrote said. “There are so many things we can do to generate revenue if we create our own opportunities.”

Celebration Golf hosts its own golf academies, corporate and institutional golf leagues, tournaments, banquets and a wide range of special and seasonal promotions and events, Garrote explained.

Garrote said Celebration Golf Management is currently considering acquisition of some six additional courses in Florida and outside the state. “We’re looking at two opportunities right now,” Garrote said.

Celebration plans to focus its growth on the Sunbelt states.

Right now Celebration Golf Management includes Celebration Golf Course, in Celebration, The Golden Bear in Windermere, Kings Ridge Golf Club and Legends  Golf Club in Clermont, Stoneybrook West in Winter Garden and Eagle Creek Golf Club in Southeast Orlando.


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