IN THE CLUB: Joe Noel, president of Harbor Lights Marine & Country Club, is looking to tap the local boater-golfer market. His partners include his father, former Rhode Island Gov. Philip Noel, Leo Martin and Ted Wheeler.
Culturally and demographically, yachting and golf share much in common.
But perhaps due to the logistics involved, southern New England businesses have seldom tried to serve both pastimes at once.
Now Harbor Lights Marina & Country Club in Warwick hopes to tap the local boater-golfer market by rescuing a nine-hole course and joining it with an established marina.
The renovated and rebranded property, which held a grand opening last weekend, is owned by the father-son partnership of Philip and Joe Noel.
The former governor of Rhode Island who served two terms in the 1970s, Philip Noel was part of the group that owned the Harbor Light Marina on Warwick Neck for the last 30 years.
Along with partners Leo Martin and Ted Wheeler, Noel had eyed the Seaview Country Club next to the marina for years, but hadn’t found an opportunity to acquire it.
The previous owner, Providence-based Koffler Group, wanted to build condominiums on the 72-acre property, a plan that crumbled when the condominium market collapsed along with the housing bubble.
So in 2010, the property was put back on the market and the Noels bought it with the notion of joining it with their existing marina property.
“It had always been my dad’s dream to own Seaview Country Club,” said Joe Noel, Philip’s son and now president of the combined Harbor Lights Marina & Country Club.
An energy-sector entrepreneur who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, the younger Noel bought out Martin and Wheeler and helped finance a major renovation and capital improvement of the entire complex, which added an “s” to its name and became Harbor Lights.
The Geoffrey Cornish-designed golf course had fallen into poor shape and was totally refurbished and spruced up.