Woody Austin buys out partners Rod and Rick Nuckolls at Willowbend Golf Club

WICHITA — Willowbend Golf Club partner Woody Austin is now the sole owner of the club.

The PGA Tour golfer became a partner with owners and PGA of America members Rod and Rick Nuckolls in early 2010.

At the time, Austin said: “It’s a big, long-term deal for me. It’s nothing on a short-term basis.”

He says he’s been thinking of buying the east-side club outright since then.

“It’s just a natural progression that we were thinking about when I first bought in,” he says.

The Nuckolls brothers have been partners in Willowbend since 2000 and bought out partners Mike and Mark Marney in 2003.

They came close to selling the club to Bert and Eloise Henderson, who approached them as they were preparing to sell their Echo Hills Golf Club in Park City in 2009. The Willowbend deal fell through, though. Shortly after, Austin became a partner.

Austin says he’s been working on getting things in place to take over the club, which he says included establishing Jim Elliott as general manager when he arrived.

Rick Nuckolls will retire, but Rod Nuckolls will remain as director of golf. Austin says the position will switch from a salaried one to hourly pay “so he can get off and get out whenever he wants” to golf.

“Now Rod will have a lot more time on his hands to play golf,” Austin says.

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Marney brothers’ DTY Direct to liquidate

A couple of years after opening DTY Direct, brothers Mark and Mike Marney are liquidating the business.

When Have You Heard? first called the company a few months ago, a representative said the online site was not closing but the retail shop at 9629 E. Kellogg was closed for the winter.

Mark Marney didn’t return calls today to discuss the liquidation. A woman who answered the phone at DTY said, “I’m sorry, we have no comment,” and hung up.

But Tom Rine of Omaha-based Rine Auctioneers confirms there will be a liquidation of more than $2 million in high-end merchandise, such as gas grills, saunas, patio furniture, kitchen appliances, cutlery and pots and pans starting March 31 and April 1.

“One like this doesn’t come along very often,” he says. “This is phenomenal.”

Prices will be slashed by up to 70 percent.

“We’re going to move the merchandise,” Rine says.

He predicts it will take a while to do it, though, given that there’s 40,000 square feet of products.

“The showroom is absolutely packed full of stuff.”

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DTY Direct to expand at former Builders Square space on East Kellogg

WICHITA — A year ago, brothers Mike and Mark Marney started DTY Direct in about 35,000 square feet in the former Builders Square building at 9629 E. Kellogg.

They’ve since expanded into about 70,000 square feet and over the next six to 12 months will take the remaining 20,000 square feet at the building.

“They did it all without asking the city for incentives,” says Johnny Stevens, who owns the building with Steve Clark. “So it can be done.”

The Marneys, who used to own Golf Warehouse, aren’t discussing their expansion plans.

Stevens says the Internet company, which mostly sells outdoor products, now has more than 30 employees.

“They’re growing their business.”

Marneys sue Golf Warehouse

The Marney brothers have filed a lawsuit against their employer, the Golf Warehouse.

Mark, Mike and Rick Marney filed the suit, which alleges breach of contract and violation of the Kansas Wage Payment Act, this week in Sedgwick County District Court.

Mark Marney declined to comment on the case, and no one with Redcats USA, which owns the Golf Warehouse, immediately returned calls to comment.

The Marneys founded the Golf Warehouse in 1998. In 1999, they sold 70 percent of the company to IMG Sports Capital, which later sold the entire company to Sportsman’s Guide. In 2006, Redcats, which is owned by PPR, acquired the company.

The lawsuit states that the Marneys had employment agreements, including an annual bonus plan, that were amended and supplemented through the years. The Marneys allege that the Golf Warehouse breached those agreements.

Rick Marney is seeking to recover $62,500. Mark and Mike Marney are each seeking $502,875. They’re all also asking for interest, penalties and attorneys’ fees.