Meet Invited. The Largest Owner of Golf and Country Clubs in the U.S.—Dallas-Based ClubCorp—Unveils a Major Rebranding

“Invited is not just a name. It’s everything we are,” says CEO David Pillsbury. It's a game changer: ClubCorp sees a new high-tech era of "democratized" golf.

The rebranding announcement follows last week's Bloomberg report that Apollo Global Management Inc.—which took ClubCorp private in 2017—is weighing an IPO for the country club operator as early as this year, at a potential value of around $4.5 billion. 

Dallas-based ClubCorp—which owns and operates 161 golf and country clubs, 32 city and sports clubs, seven university stadium clubs, and six BigShots Golf entertainment venues—is rebranding itself for a new, high-tech era of “democratized” golf.

Today the company announced that it’s changing its name to Invited in a major rebrand rolling out in the coming months, conveying its fundamental belief that “everyone is Invited.”

The lifestyle hospitality brand was founded in 1957 on “the traditions and values of acceptance,” the company stated, and is making the change with these founding principles in mind.

Rebrand follows report of potential IPO this year

Today’s news comes a week after a Bloomberg report that Apollo Global Management Inc.—which took ClubCorp private in 2017—is weighing an IPO for the country club operator as early as this year, at a potential value of around $4.5 billion. 

“Invited is not just a name. It’s everything we are,” Invited CEO David Pillsbury said in a statement. “We are Invited because, from the golf courses to the tennis courts, from fine dining to family hang time, we connect and create communities attracting members from diverse backgrounds that share similar passions and pursuits. We create clubs and experiences that combine exceptional amenities and unmatched service with a friendly and welcoming spirit. We want our members, guests, and team members to know that Invited is where they belong.” 

The company worked with Miami-based WANT Branding to develop its new brand identity, a spokesman told Dallas Innovates. WANT, which also has offices in New York and San Francisco, has worked with clients including Apple, Google, Uber, Gillette, Sirius XM, and Irving-based Kimberly-Clark.

On ‘democratization,’ the $100M BigShots expansion, and how tech is changing the game

With its BigShots Golf venues, the company is moving beyond the concept of “clubs” and into a democratized world of family entertainment—where everyone is invited. [Photo: BigShots]

Last fall, Dallas Innovates profiled Pillsbury and his company in a story that offered hints of the rebrand to come

In our story, Pillsbury talked about his company’s $100 million expansion of BigShots Golf, and stressed the importance of “democratization” on the sport.

“Topgolf validated this thesis I’ve had for many years, which is there’s enormous latent demand for golf. And I think Topgolf—and now, BigShots, Drive Shack, and Puttery—all these concepts are doing something which I call democratization of the sport. And I think it’s fantastic,” he said in September.

“Invited is so much more than just golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, and pools,” Pillsbury added in his statement today. “This company connects to diverse social, charitable, family and business elements of a community. That only happens successfully when true, meaningful connections are made. We take great pride in creating places, events and opportunities in which our clubs have become pillars and hubs of that activity in the communities that our members call home.”

Pandemic lessons on ‘human connection’ also influenced rebrand

Invited CEO David Pillsbury [Photo: Karen E. Segrave | KES Photo]

Pillsbury noted today that lessons learned during the pandemic also influenced the rebrand. 

“We relearned the value of human connection during the pandemic, and this new identity of an open invitation that brings people together and reflects those connections,” he said.

“Our clubs are the ultimate third place and play an integral role in the lives of our members,” he added. “We are the place where they play, celebrate, and build life-long friendships. Invited, as a brand identity, reflects that connection and emotion of who we are, our dedication to our clubs and members, and where we are headed as a company.”

Now, as Invited, the company aims to convey “the appropriate hospitality emotion and appeal to match the lifestyle and hospitality service that [its team] and its members and guests have become accustomed to.”

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