The Board of Directors of Troon Golf announced today the appointment of Hud Hinton as the company’s new President and Chief Operating Officer. Hinton fills the vacancy left by John Sauter, who will move to the position of President and Chief Strategy Officer of the company’s newly created Acquisition and Investment Division. Hinton, a seasoned hospitality industry veteran, will oversee the day-to-day operations of Troon Golf, while Sauter will have responsibility for the company’s acquisition of new properties and development of business strategies.
Hinton makes the move from Starwood Hotels, where he served as Executive Vice President, Hotel Operations and was responsible for the oversight of the company’s 300 managed and franchised hotels in North America. As one of Starwood’s original executives following its recent purchases of Westin Hotels & Resorts and ITT Sheraton, Hinton helped lead the operations integration of Westin, Sheraton, and The Luxury Collection brands. His career in the hotel industry spans 25 years, primarily with Westin Hotels and Resorts.
“Hud Hinton is one of the leading management executives in the world and we feel fortunate to have attracted him to our company,” said Troon Golf Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dana Garmany. “His leadership abilities are certain to stimulate this company’s unique culture and high standards of excellence and assist us in maintaining the highest standards in the industry. Under Hinton, Westin Hotels & Resorts consistently ranked first in the JD Power & Associates surveys in customer satisfaction.”
Well-versed in brand management in high growth environments, Hinton is prepared for a smooth transition into the golf business. “Both the hotel and golf industries are service-oriented operations in which the end product is a memorable experience,” says Hinton. “Troon Golf occupies a very strong niche at the top level of the golf industry, and I am impressed by its growth in such a short time. With my experience in fast-growing companies, I look forward to this opportunity to direct my skills and interests in a new direction.”
In accepting his new position, Hinton noted that the opportunity to play an important role in a smaller, growing company piqued his interest. “The entrepreneurial spirit exhibited by Troon Golf is very attractive to me, ” stated Hinton. “In many respects the new growth potential is greater for golf properties than in the hotel industry, as many of the urban locations for major hotels are already taken.”
Following company introductions and a general overview of Troon Golf, Hinton’s immediate goal is to help the company prepare for the growth ahead. According to Hinton, this means implementing systems to recruit and hire new employees quickly and orient them to the Troon Golf culture sooner and train them faster in their positions. “There is a plethora of operations functions necessary to support the company’s growth,” says Hinton. “The key is to carry them out efficiently without compromising our customers’ experience and satisfaction.”
His move to Troon Golf also marks a return to Arizona for Hinton and his family. As part of his stint with Westin Hotels and Resorts, he served as General Manager of The Arizona Biltmore Resort from 1988 to 1991 where he directed all aspects of the five-diamond resort. He served in a similar capacity for The Plaza Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
“My experience matches the needs of Troon Golf. In addition to the branding and customer experience aspects, Troon Golf is also in the business of managing golf properties for other owners,” says Hinton. “Managing hotels for third party owners was a big chunk of our business at Starwood and I think I can help with the relationships this type of management entails.”
With years of experience in every phase of hotel operations, from personnel training to food and beverage, one aspect of Troon Golf has Hinton most intrigued. “It is interesting to me that Troon Golf was founded on its impeccable agronomic practices and golf course conditioning and adapted similar standards to other areas as the company has grown. This is an area that I will need to learn more about and I’m looking forward to finding out how Troon Golf has created such a point of difference for itself in this discipline,” says Hinton. “It’s part of my wanting to maintain and improve the quality and consistency of the Troon Golf brand. It is my goal to help make Troon Golf as profitable as possible, without compromising the quality for which it stands.”
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Troon Golf is the industry’s leading luxury brand golf development, marketing, and management company. Its list of prestigious properties includes Turnberry Hotel, Golf Courses & Spa, Ayrshire, Scotland; Troon North Golf Club, Scottdale, Arizona; The Ridge Course at Castle Pines North, Castle Rock, Colorado; Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort, Galena, Illinois; The Westin Innisbrook Resort, Tarpon Springs, Florida; and Yarra Yarra Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.