Thinking Outside the (Clubhouse) Box with Outdoor Furnishings

By | September 20th, 2018

North Oaks Golf ClubOutdoor furnishings are getting a makeover, as clubs dress up their al fresco dining and poolside hot spots.

Post-game cocktails or a quick bite after a swim now mean more than good eats— they also mean good seats. As club and resort properties designate more capital to facility-wide improvements, they’re turning their attention to their outdoor settings, where comfortable seating and cozy nooks lend themselves to leisurely meals and fireside chats. The end result is more time spent on the premises—and a steadier stream of business volume.SUMMING IT UP • Outdoor furnishings in a color palette that mirrors the landscape is a natural extension of the overall club design. • A mix of high-top and soft seating creates a customizable layout that can accommodate parties of different sizes. • Seasonal plantings can be swapped out to create a dynamic landscape that enhances the property.

A Lifestyle Destination

As part of TPC Sugarloaf’s club-wide plan to enhance its existing amenities, a new Lifestyle Center was unveiled to membership this past May. A major component of the Duluth, Ga. based facility’s renovation was an outdoor patio center and an updated pool area, complete with refreshed seating.

On the patio, a fireplace terrace and covered porch area are designed to accommodate approximately 40 people. “We encourage a family-friendly atmosphere with two-, four- and six-top [tables], as well as individual seating around the outdoor firepits,” says General Manager Mike Maloney, PGA.

Teak furniture with seat and back cushions in green and cream fabrics “complements the lush landscape,” says designer Kelley Harris of Hint Harris Interiors, as do the vibrant green umbrellas. Around the firepits, Maloney characterizes the overall style as a “fresh design…complemented by cabana-style white and blue soft-seating cushions, to promote a resort and lifestyle feel.”

 TPC Sugarloaf Duluth, Ga. “We encourage a family-friendly atmosphere with two-, four- and six-top [tables], as well as individual seating around the outdoor firepits.” —Mike Maloney, General ManagerTPC Sugarloaf Duluth, Ga. “We encourage a family-friendly atmosphere with two-, four- and six-top [tables], as well as individual seating around the outdoor firepits.” —Mike Murphy, General ManagerIn addition to these seating options, the patio area boasts a stone seat wall running along the perimeter, which complements existing stone veneered walls. To further enhance the patio’s atmosphere, decorative wall sconces are combined with recessed indirect downlights in the seat wall.

“The combination of direct and indirect lighting provides multiple, attractive sources, allowing members and guests the ability to safely circulate in and around the terrace. But the lighting level is low enough so that it isn’t overpowering,” says Michael Beatty, who worked on the project for the architectural firm contracted by TPC Sugarloaf.

Over at the pool, stackable chaise lounge chairs with padded slings, dining chairs with umbrellas and stackable armchairs offer a variety of comfortable seating options. A textured and specially coated flooring provides a safe and slip-resistant surface that is also cooler on bare feet, while an indoor/outdoor entertainment system programmed with satellite radio runs throughout the entire Lifestyle Center.

Thanks to all of these enhancements, TPC Sugarloaf has been receiving rave reviews from its membership. “We believe, based on member feedback, it is a true lifestyle/resort experience that is second to none in the Atlanta market,” enthuses Maloney.

Taking the Long View

When The Boulders Resort & Spa of Scottsdale, Ariz., underwent a facility-wide renovation in March 2017, an expanded outdoor terrace was an integral part of the design. “We rejuvenated a relaxed resort environment, embracing and respecting indigenous inspirations of the Old West,” explains General Manager Sally Shaffer. “We included many custom details with a rich, organic sense that truly brings the indoors and outdoors together beautifully.”

Accommodating a total of 85 people, The Boulders’ renovated outdoor patio wraps around the resort’s casual dining room, giving guests a chance to gaze upon the serene, wide-open setting of the Sonoran Desert. “The focal point of the Grill Kitchen & Bar has always been the stunning views of the 18th green and the surrounding desert tapestry,” says Shaffer. “The renovations included an extended outdoor terrace, for guests to enjoy panoramic views in all directions.”The Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, Ariz. “We typically set up lounging areas for member seating or customized seating for special events on our outdoor patio.” —Sally Shaffer, General Manager

Seating is made up of a mix of high-top chairs at the bar and soft lounge seating outfitted with light gray cushions, to detract from the outdoor landscape. Tile flooring provides low-maintenance coverage for members and guests, while outdoor recess lighting sets the mood as the sun dips behind the mountains overlooking the property.

Upon nightfall, members can cozy up to the Adobe wood-burning firepits that take the chill out of the evening desert air. While there is no permanent seating near the firepits, Shaffer says the space can be outfitted as needed. “We typically set up lounging areas for member seating or customized seating for special events on our outdoor patio,” she notes.

The Boulders’ renovated outdoor patio (see photos, opposite page) complements other settings on the property, such as pictured above, that offer guests ample opportunities to enjoy the desert landscape.

The Boulders’ renovated outdoor patio complements other settings on the property, such as pictured above, that offer guests ample opportunities to enjoy the desert landscape.

While the main focal point of The Boulders is its desert landscape and golf course, a small pond frequented by local wildlife adds a water element to this otherwise-landlocked setting. As a result, visitors have come to enjoy this component of club life that has received rave reviews. “It’s a great spot to get together with other members all year long, to enjoy great food and the outdoor scenery,” says Shaffer.

A Hole in One

At Vestavia Country Club in Birmingham, Ala., a recently renovated golf course prompted the construction of an outdoor stone patio that was completed this past June. Adjacent to the golf shop and 1st and 13th tees, the 2,000-sq. ft. space is nestled alongside a stream and small pond, with a firepit completing the scene. “We have a beautiful setting at VCC, thanks largely to the spanning foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and this outdoor patio showcases those views,” says General Manager Robert Carr.

The stone patio is laid out with 14 adjustable Adirondack chairs, two benches and four side tables, fitted with light-colored, weather-resistant fabric cushions. Teak furnishings were selected to soften the patio’s stonework, creating a warmer, residential feel. “The furnishings are all portable, so that we may match the layout to the occasion,” Carr notes. Small copper light fixtures add a classic touch to any occasion and are hardwired to illuminate upon sunset. Vestavia Country Club Birmingham, Ala. “The furnishings are all portable, so that we may match the layout to the occasion.” —Robert Carr, General Manager

While the patio is primarily used for golf tournament gatherings and other adult-centric events, it can be reconfigured for larger parties. At a recent outdoor movie event, the patio area served as a snack bar for kids and refreshments area for adults.For Vestavia CC’s outdoor movie events, the club’s new outdoor stone patio (see photo, above right) has served as a snack bar and refreshments area. The new patio area also features pergolas (pictured, above left) designed “to make a large space have a quaint feel for smaller groups.”

Steps away from the patio, members can relax around a gas starter firepit, flanked by one large pergola and two decorative pergolas. Peter Falkner, owner of Falkner Gardens and designer of this project, describes the pergolas’ purpose as making “a large space have a quaint feel for smaller groups to gather.” The area is landscaped with locally sourced planters that are swapped out seasonally. “We also have azaleas that bloom in early spring— about the time the [golf] course will be getting heavy use,” Falkner adds. Since the patio’s opening this past summer, Vestavia has already hosted multiple celebrations and is on tap to handle additional outings. “Comments have been extremely positive, and we have booked numerous summer and fall parties,” says Carr.

Three Times the Charm

This past May, North Oaks Golf Club of North Oaks, Minn., unveiled a new multilayered patio as part of a clubhouse-wide renovation. “The patio was purposely tiered into three areas, to focus on creating distinct spaces to best fit our member demographics and to frame their view, whether taking in the beauty from inside or out,” says General Manager Phil Anderson.

The patio layout is comprised of two distinct spaces (one for adults, the other, more family-friendly) and a firepit area. Ample seating is equally divided—space for 62 adults and 55 on the family patio—and features a mix of gray metallic tables and chairs, complemented by stone gray pavers and Alabaster stone flooring.

Overhead, a white pergola with a cream-colored Sunbrella covering offers adequate protection from the summer sun. Anderson credits the pergola’s structure for “providing shelter from the elements [by] lowering the temperature up to seven degrees on hot days, filtering the sun without the annoyance and visual obstructions from table umbrellas and providing lighting to add evening ambiance.”North Oaks Golf Club North Oaks, Minn. “We created fireplace lounge seating greenside, for adults to enjoy a beverage and small plates while watching golfers putt.” —Phil Anderson, General Manager

In the firepit area, the relaxed atmosphere is reflected in an equally neutral color palette of brown, all-weather wicker chairs with cream cushions, offset by fireplace tables with amber glass. “We created fireplace lounge seating greenside, for adults to enjoy a beverage and small plates while watching golfers put,” says Anderson of this seating area.

Extensive landscaping lighting around the patio plays up the club’s lush flower gardens (plantings will be changed out seasonally), and soft lighting inside the pergola casts a nighttime glow.

“The lighting in the evening is nice,” Anderson says. “It keeps the atmosphere intimate, yet provides the right mood lighting to [be able to] see your [dinner] plate.”

After the patio’s first full season, Anderson is pleased with the results. “Traffic is up significantly, and members and guests are staying longer, enjoying the beautiful summer nights,” he enthuses. Going to the Dogs Man’s best friend may not have to sit out happy hour much longer. With a number of states passing laws that allow foodservice establishments to have dogs in outdoor dining areas, some golf clubs and resorts are beginning to heed the call of members to be able to include their pooch in dining plans. According to Michigan State University’s Animal Legal & Historical Center, Michigan introduced a bill last year that would allow restaurants to seek permission for dog-friendly service. Other states that have laws in place to address the issue include: • California • Florida • Illinois • Maryland • Minnesota • New Hampshire • New Mexico • New York • Rhode Island • Tennessee At North Oaks Golf Club in North Oaks, Minn., the club sponsors two Yappy Hours each season, in- viting members to bring their furry friends to dine on a designated portion of the outdoor patio. Dogs can nosh on club-made doggy treats and lap water from club-provided compostable doggy bowls. “The Yappy Hour has been in place for a number of years, and we get a great response a couple of times of year,” says General Manager Phil Anderson.

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