As the demand for multiple dining venues at club and resort properties continues to grow, outdoor dining areas that act as extensions of existing space can give members and guests a whole new perspective.
Club food-and-beverage departments are busier than ever. According to a survey conducted by Club & Resort Business in 2015, 85% of the respondents from club properties reported an increase in food-and-beverage sales from 2013 to 2014. Giving a club’s F&B department a boost doesn’t mean simply mixing up the menu, though—creating an environment that members want to be in is also a crucial step to keeping dining spaces full and alive.
|Summing It Up
• To maximize use of outdoor dining space into cooler months, add heaters to keep members comfortable.
• Large patios can be segmented into adults-only spaces or areas designated for families through small design adjustments such as awnings or different flooring.
• Multiple dining (and drinking) spaces with different moods encourage members to spend more time on-site.
As many clubs have learned, however, most members do not want to spend every evening in the same dining establishment. Multiple dining venues, each with their own atmospheres, allow members to experience all that their club has to offer from all angles, mixing and matching high-end and formal elements with casual and laid-back touches.
Outdoor dining spaces in particular have built-in views and ambiance, making the overall design process simpler than for other parts of the club. High-end, durable flooring, comfortable seating, and ambient touches like fire pits are often all it takes to make outdoor dining areas a hit with members.
Changing of the Guard
In January 2015, Troon took over operations of The Golf Club at Mansion Ridge in Monroe, N.Y. Immediately after the deal became official, Troon hit the ground running with a three-month, $1 million renovation that General Manager Charles Nowicki describes as a gutting of the clubhouse, including the pro shop and dining areas.
“A lot of it was also replacing lights and becoming more energy-efficient,” Nowicki notes.
The work extended to the club’s existing open-air patio, which was removed and replaced by an outdoor space that doubled the occupancy from 40 to 80. As an extension of the club’s popular Migel’s Tavern, the patio features the same menu, with dinners held outside on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“Prior to the renovation, the patio had a closed-off, separated feel,” Nowicki says. “There were hedges and big trees on either side of the sidewalk going toward the patio.” Further, the furniture was “faded and dull,” the lighting was insufficient, and the club offered a scant umbrella selection.
Now, a knee wall surrounds the patio, and the previous blue paver flooring has been switched to Unilock pavers in multiple shades of slate gray, matching the portion of the clubhouse wall that extends onto the patio (see photos, above). Older lights and fixtures were updated to fit the decor as well. Touches of color come from white trim on the clubhouse, as well as the copper gutters and downspouts, and flower beds cushion either side of the patio.
The four- and six-top tables are brown steel, and the chairs are also brown with a metal frame and cloth-plastic seats that “breathe, but are somewhat firm,” Nowicki says. The 8-foot-long gas firepit is topped with blue stone and surrounded by soft seating with brown frames and pops of bright green on cushions and pillows.
Top It Off
Outdoor dining spaces frequently include bars, but if the bar is uncovered and exposed to the elements, special consideration should be given to the materials used. Countertop materials often used indoors, such as quartz and Corian, are not designed to resist fading when exposed to UV rays. Instead, consider using these bar-top materials outside:
Granite: Offers a luxurious look that is easy to clean, durable and heat-resistant; however, granite is often costly, is heavy, can develop grease or wine stains, and must be cut with special tools.
Concrete: This durable, easy-to-maintain material offers limitless design options, and can be cast in any shape. But if improperly poured or installed, the concrete may crack and require sealing.
Tile: This affordable, easy-to-clean option comes in many colors and styles; the downside is that the grout can become yellow outdoors, and may stain or crack. Be sure to use a tile that is rated for outdoor use.
Flagstone: Creates a rustic and natural look at a low cost, but stains easily and shaling can occur over time, due to how porous the material is.
Source: Landscaping Network
The outdoor dining space is used primarily for lunches and dinners, with a handful of events held weekly, Nowicki says. The Mansion Ridge members have “taken full advantage” of the updated space, he reports.
A Worthy Centennial
To celebrate its 100th year in 2015, Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio expanded its 70,000-sq. ft., Tudor-style clubhouse to 85,000 sq. ft., growing the facility’s footprint on the southern exposure. A fitness center and men’s and women’s lounges were also added in the $15 million renovation.
“It was the perfect time to improve the facilities and become cutting-edge in the market,” says long-time General Manager/COO, Kraig Kanitz, CCM. “We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other private clubs in the area.”
A substantial part of the renovation included creating multiple outdoor dining venues, each offering a unique space. All outdoor areas are lined with paver flooring and are lit for evening use, and each venue can be seen from the others, Kanitz says.
First is the east terrace, located off the member dining area, which seats 125 at al fresco dining tables and is covered with fans overhead. This space has a different look from the remaining outdoor spaces, Kanitz notes, with green tones that link it to the Mixed Grill.
A dining area outside the men’s lounge seats up to 30, and is available to both men and women in the summer. The space includes aluminum-cast furniture with padded chairs and umbrellas.
Outside the clubhouse are the pavilion and summer-house dining spaces, both of which were built new as part of the renovation. The outdoor pavilion dining area, located a few steps from the pool deck on the pavilion’s north side, seats up to 60, with 24 additional seats at the bar. Available to adults only, the sports bar features six TVs, a fire pit, and tables with umbrellas. The bar, which is under cover, is topped by concrete, with the face and surrounding walls made up of stacked fieldstone. Cushioned chairs feature brown and bronze tones with striped material.
“[The pavilion] has turned into an unbelievably busy space,” Kanitz says. “It’s amazing the kind of revenue we’re generating.”
On the other side of the pool is the summer house, which includes a kitchen that services it and the pavilion. With indoor and outdoor dining available, the summer house serves golfers on the turn and offers casual dining.
Though the updates aren’t yet a year old, Kanitz says the club’s focus on its members has already paid off. “We were at about $4 million in annual F&B before the renovation, and now we’re at $5 million,” he reports.
“One of the drivers of the renovation was that we wanted to separate member venues from the banquet facilities, so all the venues that are part of the centennial project are for member use only,” Kanitz adds. “Our members support this club like nobody’s business.”
Beginning in January 2015, White Columns Country Club in Milton, Ga., a ClubCorp property, underwent a $2 million renovation of its indoor and outdoor spaces that took five months to complete.
“The dining room hadn’t been renovated since the club opened in 1993,” says General Manager Gary Hyre. “The interior was dated, the patio had a paver setup and there were no firepits—it was nice, but nothing like it is now.”
The updated restaurant now seats 220, with about half of those seats located outside. The large patio, which is L-shaped, measures 4,350 sq. ft., combining both covered and uncovered areas. Members can access the patio through four separate exits, located in the dining room and men’s card room (the latter of which features a small cigar-smoking area).
The covered portion of the patio (with a 20-foot-tall wooden awning that is part of the building’s original structure) was updated to include high-end heating elements in the ceilings. Along with upgraded fans, these features allow the club to control the temperature up to 10 degrees warmer or cooler, and allow the space to be used 10 months out of the year. In fact, Hyre reports, the club hosted a Christmas party on the patio by bringing in woodburning fire pits, and members danced outside in 30-degree weather.
The back patio is open-air, featuring three stone fire pits powered by gas, living room-style furniture, and a three-TV media wall with sound system. The entire patio is lined with decorative, pressed concrete lines, with dark brown and taupe furniture placed throughout, plus blue umbrellas, high-boy tables and four-tops. The large white columns that give the club its name surround the exterior.
With 650 active member families, the space is used mostly for member dining rather than events or private parties, though parents often gather on the patio on Wednesday nights as they watch their kids take golf lessons.
“White Columns has a very natural, rural feel to it, and the back patio is a stunning place to enjoy a glass of wine, overlooking the ninth-hole green,” says Hyre.
The renovation at Tarpon Cove Yacht & Racquet Club in Naples, Fla., has touched nearly every part of the property, as part of the club’s quest to transform the grounds into a contemporary upscale resort. The renovation, which began in May 2015, is ongoing, with final touches being added.
“The first impression is overwhelmingly green and plush,” says General Manager Mark Nicklas. “We compare it to the Bahamas or Jamaica—it has this bright, airy feeling. A lot of clubs in Naples tend to be a little stuffy, but not here.”
Part of that resort style comes from the club’s pool area, which includes al fresco dining attached to the indoor dining space. The 4,800-sq. ft. patio wraps around the building, with contemporary composite wood tabletops, wicker-style chairs and blue umbrellas.
On the second level of the pool area is the tiki bar, which includes 100 sq. ft. of dining space that Nicklas describes as “the place to be.” The space features upscale wicker chairs and chaise lounges, with a fire pit made of stone blocks and fueled by propane
Members are invited to eat anywhere they want. “Most people like to eat out there with the breeze,” Nicklas says. Members can also dine on a shuttle boat at the dock, he adds.
The exterior of the building has been painted white and the patio areas remain completely open-air, with accent lights and overhead lighting available for special events. For weddings, the club incorporates tiki torches, floating candles, and Hawaiian-style white flowers to help transform the space.
“Before the renovation, people were just ordering lunch, but now they’re getting drinks and staying until 9 pm,” Nicklas says. “We’re creating this sense of community that everyone wants to belong to, and they all want to show it off.”