Getting kids and their parents to make a club their first choice for regular uses and occasions-the pool on weekend afternoons, or traditional holiday celebrations-is a key first step to establishing the family-friendly foundation that is now key to any property’s long-term success.
And once that foundation has been laid, offering fun new twists to what’s now part of member families’ routines can not only help to ensure continued interest from year to year, but also create new revenue-producing opportunities.
At The Golf Club of Dallas (Texas), the staff led by General Manager Marta Crismon, CPA, CCM, continually seeks to keep things fresh by finding new times, and new ways, to feature events and places that have become proven favorites at the property.
Last fall, the club hosted a children’s Halloween costume party-at breakfast. For $14 per child and $10 per adult, the families that came were first treated to a meal that featured fun-shaped pancakes, along with a full complement of other breakfast items, from cereal and sweets to eggs and hash browns. After eating, the kids moved to long tables set up for “Spooky Arts and Crafts,” where an assortment of four craft items per child was provided so they could make Halloween-themed items with the help of Mom, Dad and the club’s popular Swim Director, Kristin Keller.
The crafting activity was then followed by staff-led trick-or-treating around and outside the clubhouse. A highlight was when the kids were stopped in front of a framed picture hanging in the Ladies 19th Hole lounge, and told to yell “Trick or Treat” as loud as they could. The picture-which had been hung to cover the window normally used for passing shoes into the club’s shoeshine room-then magically opened and a staff member handed out candy though the “wall.” “If you walk around your clubhouse, there are lots of nooks and crannies that can make fun trick-or-treat stops” in this fashion, Crismon notes.
The morning then ended with a costume contest, with prizes designed to ensure a return trip for another club event: gift certificates to an upcoming “Breakfast with Santa.”
At the end of this summer, The Golf Club of Dallas staff dreamed up a new way to get kids and their parents to make one more trip to the club’s pool for a special event: A Back to School Party at the Pool that featured a nighttime swim that would allow the club’s pool to be seen and enjoyed in a “whole new light.”
“Our pool closes at 8 PM during the summer, so our back-to-school parting gift was a Friday night swim that went until 10 PM,” Crismon reports. “The pool lights were on, we had Tiki torches burning, and the kids were given glow bracelets. We had a DJ and a special Kids Only buffet for $8 that included mini-corn dogs, chicken drumsticks and fish sticks, which were amazingly popular.” The adult menu featured fried chicken or fried catfish for $10.
“We purposely priced the pool party low as a back-to-school, pool-closing ‘parting gift’ to the members,” Crismon adds. “The evening was a huge success and enjoyed by young and old alike. Some parents even brought along the kids’ PJs, and headed home with the children ready to go right from the pool party into bed!”
The Halloween breakfast and Friday night pool party each attracted around 80 attendees for The Golf Club of Dallas, which has 280 members. “The feedback was very positive [for each event] and we will definitely do them again,” says Crismon. “We may even find another reason to have a second night-time pool party.”