Handier Than Ever

By | August 7th, 2018
When today’s on-the-go members and guests get hungry, they don’t always want to stop for a sit-down meal. So club chefs are putting a wide selection of grab-and-go meals and snacks in disposable cups, bowls and wraps—and even making and packaging their own brands of energy bars—to provide plenty of tempting, and healthful, portable fare.

When today’s on-the-go members and guests get hungry, they don’t always want to stop for a sit-down meal. So club chefs are putting a wide selection of grab-and-go meals and snacks in disposable cups, bowls and wraps—and even making and packaging their own brands of energy bars—to provide plenty of tempting, and healthful, portable fare.

After seeing how members of St. Clair Country Club in Upper St. Clair, Pa., liked to grab trail-mix bars to get a boost of energy on the golf course, Executive Chef Shawn Culp felt that he could make a more nutritious and better-tasting bar to help curb their hunger pangs.

Back Nine Bar

Back Nine Bar

Since its introduction in June, the club’s own Back Nine Bar has quickly become a signature item and a favorite snack at the club’s halfway house. Packed with peanut butter, oats, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, it satisfies the members’ appetite for something quick, delicious and healthful, says Culp. The bar is available pre-wrapped in packaging with a logo that was created just for the product.

Another snack that many members choose —the simple hard-boiled egg—also comes in its own grab-and-go packaging, and Culp says the club sells a ton of them.

St. Clair also sells a lot of fresh fruit in carry-out cups, another item that was just introduced this year. Members have the option to up the nutritional ante by adding yogurt, chia seeds, flaxseed or protein powder.

Culp also recently debuted fresh-fruit smoothies, which are available at St. Clair’s pool and at chef-attended stations at the halfway house during special golf outings. The smoothies were an instant hit with members, he says.

A unique item that was launched last year, a portable sushi bowl, was so well-received that members clamored to bring it back this season, Culp reports. The dish starts with a mound of sushi rice that is surrounded by sliced ahi, crab meat, shredded nori (seaweed), a ball of wasabi, and ginger, and it is served with soy sauce.

“It has all the flavors of a sushi roll, without having to tie up kitchen staff rolling sushi,” Culp notes.

Putting the Whole World in Their Hands

Hawaiian Ahi Poke

Hawaiian Ahi Poke

Sarah Freick, Executive Chef of The Refuge Golf & Country Club in Lake Havasu, Ariz., has also been very successful with a couple of Asian-inspired to-go cups. Her soy sauce-, hoisin sauce- and sesame oil-flavored Hawaiian ahi poke with avocado and fried wontons is, as she described it, “a light, fresh dish for summer” that provides a welcome cool break from the scorching Arizona heat.

Ditto for Freick’s Chinese chicken salad with homemade ginger-sesame dressing and mandarin oranges, and her seasonal salad, composed of fresh strawberries, dried blueberries, goat cheese and candied pecans with strawberry balsamic dressing. Another club favorite is a crab stack with avocado, bell pepper, mango and blood orange vinaigrette.

After seeing how members of St. Clair CC liked to grab trail-mix bars to get a boost of energy on the golf course, Executive Chef Shawn Culp (above right) felt he could make a more nutritious and better-tasting bar to help curb their hunger pangs. That led to development of the recipe (see opposite page) and custom packaging (above left) of the club’s own Back Nine Bar, which has quickly become a signature item.

For the snack bar that’s downstairs from the main Mountain Clubhouse at The Glacier Club in Durango, Colo., Executive Chef Adam Bergtold likes to lighten the traditional chicken, tuna, egg, lobster and crab salads by making a dressing that is more a vinaigrette than a mayonnaise. He packages the salads in cups on chopped lettuce and tomato, with a pickle on top.

Another energy-packed snack that Glacier Club members seem to favor is the peanut butter, apple and granola on whole-wheat tortilla. Bergtold is currently working on recipes for two more quick and healthful snacks, a peanut butter-and-rice cereal bar and a bran muffin.

At the halfway house at St. Clair CC, golfers can grab a pre-made cup of chicken or tuna salad or prepackaged wrap, or they can have the attendant make them a sandwich to order.

“The cups, which we serve with a couple of pieces of celery or carrot, are especially appreciated by members who can’t or don’t want to eat anything with gluten in it,” Culp notes.

Club chefs and members are becoming increasingly eco-conscious when it comes to packaging grab-and-go foods. At St. Clair Country Club in Upper St. Clair, Pa., Executive Chef Shawn Culp uses totally biodegradable serving ware. But with some types of biodegradable packaging, Culp cautions, moisture can affect the structure so it’s not sturdy enough to hold all kinds of foods. Chefs should test how well the packaging preserves the integrity of the foods they plan to put in it before stocking up with a full supply, he suggests. “Strong eco-containers are pricier than regular serve ware, but we want to show- case our foods as premium-quality,” Culp says. “Members are also becoming more environmentally conscious, so they appreciate it.” The Glacier Club in Durango, Colo. is also all-in with eco-friendly packaging. In fact, the initiative at the club for this summer is to have all plastic ware, from cutlery to straws, be biodegradable, says Executive Chef Adam Bergtold.

Space and refrigeration are limited in the St. Clair halfway house, so fresh green salads and made-to-order to- go foods, from burgers and fries to steaks and salmon, are available from the clubhouse and the pool grill. The pool grill has a full-scale kitchen with two fryers, a chargrill, an oven, walk-in and reach-in coolers, and a freezer.

At Refuge G&CC, the pool is right downstairs from the clubhouse, so members can order from their cell phones (the menu is online) and have their selection—whether it is a sandwich, Caesar salad with grilled chicken or a dinner entrée such as a filet topped with a crab cake and orange Hollandaise sauce—brought right to them.

Some Like It Hot

Pork Belly Slider

Pork Belly Slider

When members are on the links, sometimes only a juicy burger or other hot, meaty sandwich will do. The Courtside Grill at The Glacier Club’s halfway house is equipped with a flattop, so golfers can get six different varieties of made-to-order sliders–buffalo chicken, cheeseburger, pork belly with truffle aioli, lobster and crab, Philly cheesesteak and a BLTA (the “A” is for avocado).

“Sliders are a smaller option than full-size burgers or other sandwiches, so members can order two different ones and enjoy the variety without feeling too full,” Bergtold says.

“In our ‘on’ season— which lasts from October through May—we move a lot of product through the beverage cart.” — Sarah Freick, Executive Chef, The Refuge G&CC

“In our ‘on’ season— which lasts from October through May—we move a lot of product through the beverage cart.” — Sarah Freick, Executive Chef, The Refuge G&CC

Other hot sandwiches available from this kitchen are elk sausage with pears and apples, and hot Italian sausage with sautéed peppers and onions. The Glacier Club also has an on-course comfort station where golfers can get pre-made fresh wraps, salad cups and other grab-and-go items. On special Ladies’ and Men’s Days that are held to show appreciation for members, Bergtold also sets up a grill at one of the tee boxes and turns out ready-to-go items, from the club’s signature sliders to chicken satay.

Everything from the restaurant menu at Refuge G&CC can be ordered for take-out to be eaten on the property or taken home. Members can pick up their orders at the clubhouse when they’re playing a nearby hole, at the bar or at the pro shop. Three to six days a week (depending on the season), orders can also be delivered by the golf course’s beverage cart.

In the mornings, the cart is stocked with breakfast burritos that are kept warm in an insulated bag. Throughout the rest of the day, the cart brings lemonade, cocktails, chips and house-made Chex mix to the course. In season, it also carries cookies and brownies.

“In our ‘on’ season—which lasts from October through May because of the Arizona heat–we move a lot of product through the beverage cart,” Freick notes.

One Response to Handier Than Ever

  1. troy tolbert says:

    do you know where chef shawn got the clear wrappers for his energy bar?
    thank you Chef Troy Tolbert, Hillcrest Country Club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *