Shortly after his pending departure was made public in a letter to membership, friends made over the course of three decades at Winged Foot began checking in with longtime general manager Colin Burns.
The first phone call was from CBS sports anchor Jim Nantz, who insisted on being a vocal part of whatever sendoff the club was planning at season’s end. The second was from Michael Pascucci, who developed and owns Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton and wanted to know how the 63-year-old Connecticut resident might be spending his days after the season.
“In that very distinct voice of his, Mr. Pascucci was like, ‘Hey, Col, what’re you going to do next?’” Burns said. “I told him, ‘Mr. P, I’m not sure. This is all kind of new to me.’ He says, ‘We should talk.’”
The conversation picked up over the weeks and months that followed.
Last week, Burns was named Chief Operating Officer at The Apogee Club, an exclusive private facility under construction in Hobe Sound, Florida, between Port St. Lucie and Palm Beach.
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“Logically, this was the next step,” Burns said. “I truly loved my 31 years at Winged Foot. It’s really the ideal time and the ideal project. I can step back a little from worrying about the day-to-day operations and hopefully contribute to the overall atmosphere of the club.”
Winged Foot sent him off in October with Nantz on the mic and 400 members in attendance.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Burns, who was feted in a video that opened with Ben Crenshaw and closed with a message from Billy Collins, a friend and former Poet Laureate of the U.S. “It was really very, very touching. It was a beautiful and generous sendoff from my friends at Winged Foot.”
Pascucci and Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross are funding The Apogee Club.
“It was a lot to digest, so by the end of the year we had sort of figured out a role,” Burns said. “After the new year I came down to Florida and met with Mr. Ross, who’s a very impressive man and like Mr. Pascucci is really inspirational in terms of his energy. And here we are.”
Construction is being overseen by Tommy Fazio, the nephew of course designer Tom Fazio, and Mike Davis, the former CEO of the USGA.
The current plans cover 1,200 acres two…
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