Jordan Spieth is one of 20 golf major champions to compete alongside a family member in the PNC Championship beginning Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando.
The three-time major winner admitted this was an event he and his father, Shawn, wanted to participate in for a few years but haven’t until today due to a variety of reasons including needing a break after PGA Tour campaigns to welcoming son Sammy in November 2021.
“I have my brother on the bag and my dad has his brother on his, so it will be a Spieth boy reunion,” Jordan says. “Hopefully this will be an annual thing for us.”
The Spieth boy reunion is reminiscent of the countless days Jordan spent learning the game and honing his craft with his father at Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas. In a full circle moment, Spieth on December 15 invested in Brookhaven owner Invited, the world’s largest owner and operator of private clubs with 200+ clubs across the country in its portfolio.
“Their original club, Brookhaven, is where I grew up,” says Spieth, who will be a strategic partner and brand ambassador. “That’s where I learned the game. That’s where I played my first round with my dad. It’s where I made my first birdie. When I was 5 years old or whatever until I was out of high school I was there almost everyday all day.
“To have the kind of opportunity to be part of this company that’s going to continue to promote that atmosphere I grew up in which is very welcoming and family oriented with lots of junior golf programs, it’s a way to kind of grow the game.”
Founded in 1957 as ClubCorp, the lifestyle hospitality brand that rebranded as Invited this past April, focuses on four lines of business: golf and country clubs, city and sports clubs, stadium clubs and BigShots Golf.
The Dallas-based company was acquired by Apollo Global Management in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.1 billion in July 2017. Following the acquisition, CEO David Pillsbury says the goal was to reposition the company and brand around premiumization and optimization of clubs by investing back into its properties.
Invited then hit a tipping point where it wanted to “etch in stone this transformation” and who better to tell its story than arguably one of its most famous, successful and influential members?
“Once we rebranded and really got that in place and established traction around the brand, then the question was, ‘Who out there from an athlete perspective really personifies who we are?’” Pillsbury says. “… Having the opportunity to work with Jordan as an advisor and investor and someone who can continue to raise the visibility of what we’re about as an organization and how much we can enhance someone’s life as a member at one of our clubs is just a tremendous alignment of the stars.”
For Spieth, who has $52.84 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour, the authentic and personal relationship with Invited made it an easy decision to not only sign on as brand ambassador, but also as an investor and strategic partner. He said he felt similar authenticity with other brands including sponsors Under ArmourUAA and AT&T.
“I’m pretty stingy on my time,” he says. “I’m pretty adamant about no new deals, no new deals. I like the relationships we have and I want them to be long-term unless something perfect comes along, and honestly this is kind of one of those situations.”
The relationship will also involve the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, which will partner with Invited on a series of charitable and community efforts benefiting youth organizations, American veterans and military families. Invited will host a series of fundraising events at its clubs across numerous states and create further member programming to help raise money for Spieth’s foundation.
From a business perspective, Pillsbury says Spieth’s involvement “gives all of us an extra spring in our step to continue doing what we’re doing,” which is acquiring and optimizing clubs throughout the country.
He says the goal is to add between 5-10 clubs per year then spend the necessary capital to elevate them. Invited currently owns and operates 161 golf and country clubs throughout the U.S. featuring 205 golf courses and more than 1,000 pickleball courts, highlighted by Firestone Country Club (Akron, Ohio), Mission Hills Country Club (Rancho Mirage, California) and The Woodlands Country Club (Houston, Texas).
“When you have a relationship with an athlete and it’s not authentic, it’s obvious,” Pillsbury says. “When it is authentic like this, it’s powerful because Jordan’s voice speaks to our members, our employees, the investor community and other clubs that might want to be an Invited club. It speaks to inclusion and it speaks to community commitment.
“… I couldn’t imagine a better alignment between an organization and an athlete than this one.”