Although Chris Card has been a member of the PGA of America for more than 26 years, it’s fair to consider him one of the “new breed’’ of PGA Professional. That is, a PGA Professional who has made a career beyond the golf shop and practice range and into the upper echelon of club leadership and real estate development.
For the past three years, Card has been President of the ownership group for The Club at New Seabury on Cape Cod, Mass., and Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla., each high-end private golf club communities. New Seabury offers the quintessential Old Cape Cod charm with new and renovated high-end amenities and facilities, while Grand Harbor offers an exclusive and luxurious member experience, nestled within a gated community with premier amenities one would expect in the east-coast Florida market.
It’s no coincidence Card is also President of the Real Estate Sales and Development division and is spearheading new home construction initiatives at each property, making them more attractive than other Clubs in their respective geographic areas. Card is in the process of developing a master planned community to include more than 1,000 homes.
Prior to overseeing these two east coast communities, Card spent more than 15 years in a variety of senior leadership positions within Troon Golf, where he managed a mix of large-scale resorts and private membership clubs both domestically and internationally, including most recently as General Manager and COO of the storied BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., from 2015 – 2017.
“There are a lot of passionate people in the golf industry, many who are focused on becoming a head golf professional or director of instruction,” said Card. “I knew early on in my career I wanted to run an entire organization – from food and beverage to agronomy, virtually all the components that make up a private club community. The more I traveled the world and experienced high end clubs and real estate developments, the more I wanted to get involved in that aspect of our industry.”
Card’s early stints as a Golf Pro (he Broadmoor) and Director of Golf (Bali Hai Golf Club in Las Vegas) have been instrumental in his career trajectory, especially his ability to lead and build a rapport with the multiple teams he oversees.
“It’s nice to see how the PGA has evolved and provides more wide-ranging opportunities for PGA members, and yet because the golf and club industry continues to contract and expand, golf professionals have been tasked to do more,” said Card. “As I often share with my teams, the more diverse your skill set and contributions to an organization, the better. If a golf pro is more adept at running other operations like the lodging component or recreational amenities the more valuable and marketable they become.”
In Card’s case, his own marketability earned him the dual role where combined, he oversees 775 employees and 2,800 members at the two properties. He commutes weekly between Boston and West Palm Beach, all with the end game of providing his members and homeowners memorable experiences.
Members have a plethora of recreational choices and amenities at their disposal. At The Club at New Seabury, for example, they have access to 16 tennis courts, five restaurants, two beach clubs, hiking nd jogging trails, two golf courses, a new fitness and sports complex and a new Clubhouse with sweeping ocean views, all part of a three-year, $17 million renovation project.
The three-year renovation concludes with the Club’s Ocean course (with views of Nantucket Sound) offering a new look in 2020 with elevated tees and greens and a redesign that improves the ambiance and playability. The Dunes course, renovated last year, has also been reshaped to enhance playability.
“Energizing and changing the employee culture, quite honestly, has been the most rewarding part of what we have accomplished at New Seabury in such a short time,” said Card, whose Club recently earned industry awards for their new casual upscale 95 Shore restaurant and recently revamped golf shop. “In the end, we offer a great lifestyle with many options for home ownership.”
The Club at New Seabury currently counts 1,500 homes in its portfolio with room for another 300 over the next eight to 10 years. A phase three of its new Cottage development complements the Club’s multi-million dollar oceanfront homes and offers a Cape Cod lifestyle that is calling to a variety of demographics to become members and residents.
“For younger families, the Cottages are their first foray into a second home,’’ Card said. “The turnkey lifestyle makes it easy for those (couples, families as well as retirees and empty nesters) who want amenities at their disposal along with low maintenance lifestyle to transition easy into a second home.”
Similar amenities extend south to Grand Harbor. Founded in 1988, Grand Harbor is one of the top private communities on Florida’s eastern coast. Set on 2,000 acres against the Indian River, the Mediterranean-style equity club exudes the year-round private club lifestyle, with two golf courses (Pete Dye’s links-style Harbor and Joe Lee’s environmental masterpiece, the River) a beach club, fine dining, tennis, and wildlife that includes everything from manatees to bald eagles.
“It’s the quintessential Florida gated community,’’ said Card.
“We have a handful of couples who enjoy memberships at both New Seabury and Grand Harbor,” added Card. “They can enjoy two high end lifestyles where we offer the best of both worlds; those looking to winter in the warm Florida sun and then escape and enjoy everything Cape Cod has to offer in the summer.”
Feature Photo: The Club at New Seabury
Photo Credits: The Club and New Seabury; Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club