The 125-year-old club in Ohio’s capital city has completed a two-year, $4.5 million renovation of its Donald Ross golf course while also adding amenities, activities and programming to appeal to a younger and more family-oriented demographic. Seventy-five new members, with an average age of 39, joined last year.
An article and photo slideshow in Columbus Business First highlighted how a two-year renovation at Columbus (Ohio) Country Club has not only changed the 125-year-old property’s golf course in a big way, but has also brought about a transformation that extends well beyond the links.
The club’s full 18-hole golf course is open for business again, Columbus Business First reported, after $4.5 million in upgrades that re-worked the course in phases, beginning in fall of 2016. The new look and feel for the course pays homage to famed designer Donald Ross, who renovated it several times before this most recent work, led by Kevin Hargrave.
“You can see from top to bottom now,” General Manager Jay Frank told Columbus Business First during a golf cart tour through the course’s rolling hills and fairways.
About 1,500 trees were removed from the course, vastly opening up sight lines and in some cases completely unveiling new cliffs and creeks. Many pine trees were removed, in favor of walnut and other species natural to the area, Frank said.
Some of the upgrades were practical, Columbus Business First reported, with bunkers flattened to prevent flooding and drainage further refined across the course, where about half of the holes fall in a protected flood plain.
Even amid the modernization, Columbus Business First reported, subtle reminders of the club’s history remain, throught tee boxes denoted with wood markers and handcrafted wooden benches and coolers dispersed throughout the course.
“One of our goals is that when you step on the golf course, you step back in time,” Frank said. “You get out here and you don’t feel like you’re in the Columbus zip code.”
Unlike many courses, Columbus CC has only a small amount of housing developed nearby, though a small multifamily complex is being constructed off the back nine, Columbus Business First reported. But Frank said that could change as the club considers the future of its 230 acres of land.
“Our goal is to be a family membership club,” Frank said. “That means adapting to childcare needs and a younger demographic that wants a social-club atmosphere.”
To appeal to that segment, Columbus Business First reported, Columbus CC has added activities and amenities such as footgolf and walking and running trails, and added more member-driven events and programs not only within its clubhouse, which was renovated in 2015, but throughout the property.
“It’s not the ‘old man’s country club’ atmosphere here,” said Director of Golf Ryan Coll. “It’s a family atmosphere and we aren’t just about golf. We’re more about the lifestyle, and we want it to feel like home.”
The average age among the club’s 75 new members last year was 39, down from an average age of 44 the year before, Columbus Business First reported. Many of those who joined were younger people who live downtown or in sections of the city where there aren’t as many golf courses.
The club is readying to cap its membership, with about 50 spots left, according to Amanda Greenwood, Director of Sales and Membership. It last reported about 460 members, Columbus Business First reported.
As a part of Troon Privé, the private club operating division of Troon, Columbus CC members have access to 80 other clubs around the country, and discounts at more resorts, Columbus Business First reported, and this has also proved to be a popular benefit with the younger members who have recently joined.
For the complete article and slideshow, go to https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2018/06/07/photos-inside-the-reinvention-of-columbus-country.html