LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The sale of Temple-Inland to International Paper in 2011 began a new financial awareness for Crown Colony Country Club, which began operating in 1977.
“Temple-Inland actually managed the Club,” said Lin Lentz, who's been general manager since 2011, but arrived in Lufkin in 2007 and began as the country clubhouse manager. “They had a representative from Temple-Inland who was sort of an overseer. And they did capital improvements to the club.”
After one year on the job as clubhouse manager, Lentz said Temple changed its financial commitment to the country club.
"In 2008, they started just doing a financial stipend to the club," Lentz said. “And that program ended in 2014. So after 2014, there was no longer any financial support from Temple-Inland.”
A major reason for the dwindling support was most likely due to a change in corporate financial interests at Temple's headquarters. In February 2012, IP finalized its $4.5 billion acquisition of Temple. Then in July 2013, IP completed the sale of finalized its Temple-Inland Building Products division to Georgia-Pacific Building Products, LLC for $710 million.
According to a joint letter disseminated on April 16, 2015, from the country club and the Crown Colony Improvement Association, Inc., “Temple's continued support of the club was a result of their ownership of significant real estate holdings within the subdivision and their recognition of the impact of the club on the value of their holdings.” Now, Crown Colony Country Club has to generate funds like other private clubs across the county: sole-dependence on membership dues for its operating expenses.
That major responsibility falls on the shoulders of Veronica Luce, who manages the country club's Villas and is also membership director.
“If something major were to come up, we had that backup,” Luce recalled on how major expenditures used to be handled. “Say if we need a new roof or something on the golf course, that's our members' responsibility.”
Luce has worked at Crown Colony for nearly 25 years. So, she is geared up to attract more members to the club.
“Each year we kind of do something as an incentive to get new members and something to get our members you know to bring in new members, Luce shared about the challenges of increasing memberships. “Anybody can be a member here. You do not have to live in Crown Colony,” Luce said about one of the challenges she's been clearing up with residency requirements. “Yeah. A lot of people think that. Or they think they may get something like a special fee or prize for living out here but you don't.”
Luce said they have membership specials for residents of Crown Colony and non-residents of Crown Colony. To increase revenue, they are offering incentives for current members to bring in new members. They are also pushing the membership perks: for various programs for kids, the award-winning golf course, a recently upgraded swimming pool, multiple tennis courts and a fitness center opened within the last two years.
During the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the country club is having a holiday access promotion for Crown Colony residents.
“That's going to be open to anybody who lives out here. You don't have to be a member to come all weekend,” Luce added.
For more information on 'country club membership' and the 'no-guest-fee' Memorial Day weekend, call (936) 637-8802.