Summing It Up
|Fitness is catching on at many clubs managed by GMCs, including Honours’ Moore’s Mill GC and RDC’s Tuscawilla CC|
Honours Golf also honors requests for things that have nothing to do with golf. Based on member and guest input, special, non-traditional activities and events have been developed at some of Honours’ 13 managed properties—two private, one daily fee, and 10 semi-private—including poolside “dive-in movies,” football tailgating parties, and cardio tennis.
Many of the Honours properties are still by and large “pure” golf operations, as is the case with most golf management companies (GMCs), which still tend to lag in general behind independent clubs and resorts in the growing trend to provide a more balanced menu of recreational options.
But reflecting a shift starting to be seen in the management business as a whole, momentum is picking up within the Honours portfolio to increase the emphasis on non-golf activities at selected properties.
At Reunion Golf & Country Club, an Honours property in Madison, Miss. (suburban Jackson), tennis is certainly on the upswing.
This fall, four new soft-surfaced tennis courts will be added to the club’s current five lighted, fast-dry hydro-grid championship courts. The club’s long-range plan includes another five courts—three of them hard surface—to eventually bring the total to 14. Reunion also has a separate tennis pro shop and offers a year-round junior tennis program.
The copper-roofed Athletic Club houses a 24-hour fitness center and the Reunion Grille, which has become a popular gathering place for members. In addition, two junior Olympic-sized pools (one indoor, one outdoor) and a children’s swim area round out the non-golf facilities.
Reunion still has a strong orientation to golf both through its own history and its relationship with a GMC. One tipoff can be seen by looking at its Web site. A page devoted to the explanation of tennis (“How is it played?”) includes this sentence: “Basically, the first priority is to keep the ball in play, by getting the ball over the net in the court.”
Another Honours property, the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club in Gulf Shores, Ala., touts this lineup of recreational and wellness-oriented amenities that it feels “sets new standards of quality for communities of its kind”:
• Heated indoor pool
• Outdoor garden pool environment on the clubhouse lake overlooking the first fairway
• Eight lighted hydro-court surfaced tennis courts, accentuated by a center court
• Fully-equipped fitness center
• Massage therapy
• Personal fitness training
A third Honours club, Moore’s Mill GC in the college town of Auburn, Ala., has a state-of-the-art, 15,000-sq. ft. fitness center that is proving to be “one of the most popular amenities with members,” according to the club’s promotional materials. Moore’s Mill offers a full slate of group exercise options in the fitness center (see sidebar), and also makes degreed personal trainers available from nearby Auburn University to provide fitness evaluations through the college’s Tigerfit program. A lively schedule of aerobics classes is also offered, with descriptive names like Cardio Muscle, Get Ripped, and AB-solutely Booty.
Moore’s Mill also offers a Junior Olympic-sized pool and cabana designed for water aerobics, and promotes individual poolside snack service as well as pool parties with a catering menu that includes chicken fingers, pigs in a blanket, popcorn shrimp and chicken quesadillas.
Glen Howe was brought in by RDC Golf to revive tennis at Tuscawilla CC—and the club along with it.
|Glen Howe was brought in by RDC Golf to revive tennis at Tuscawilla CC—and the club along with it.|
Tennis to the Rescue
For the most part, non-golf amenities this extensive still remain more the exception than the rule at GMC-run properties. But at the same time, there are now examples of a management company’s success in an activity other than golf making strong contributions to a club turnaround.
Such was the case when RDC Golf Group took on Tuscawilla Country Club in Winter Springs, Fla. (suburban Orlando) about a decade ago. At the time, Tuscawilla was “mired in ownership issues and suffering from neglect. Its pool had been condemned, tennis courts were in need of repair, and membership had dwindled to a reported 30 members,” reports RDC President/CEO Christopher Sciavone.
Pool additions and refurbishments are seen by GMCs as increasingly important at even the most golf-oriented of properties.
Operating first as a management company and then as the club’s sole owner, RDC plunged in to restore Tuscawilla’s pool, clubhouse and 12 tennis courts, succeeding with the latter to the point where the new courts earned Court of the Year recognition from Tennis Industry magazine. A fitness center was also added.
Once the tennis facilities had been properly upgraded, RDC looked to bring in someone who could maximize their potential. It found its man in Glen Howe, a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Master Tennis Professional who is now the club’s Director of Tennis and was recently named USPTA’s Florida Division Pro of the Year.
|Pool additions and refurbishments are seen by GMCs as increasingly important at even the most golf-oriented of properties.|
Under Howe’s direction, the club has seen tennis memberships increase by 30 percent, and private lessons/clinics go up by 100 percent. All told,Tuscawilla’s renewed emphasis on non-golf activities, which also places strong emphasis on its acquatics program, has combined with a restoration of its championship golf course to boost total membership to 650 across all categories.
And at another RDC property, Forsgate CC in Monroe Township, N.J., a million-dollar sports complex is being constructed that will feature a junior Olympic-sized pool, kiddie pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, snack bar, locker room and lounges.
Sciavone says these projects respond to “increasing demand for family-oriented, fully amenitized country clubs.” So it stands that more GMC-run properties will come to see, and honor, the need for non-golf upgrades. C&RB
Recreation & Fitness IDEAS from Management Firms and Their Properties
Big splash…ClubCorp’s development of the Clubs of Kingwood in the Houston area will include construction of a $1.1 million private water park, slated to open later this summer. The project will include a 500-foot “lazy river,” a 2,500-square-foot interactive children’s splash pad, two-story tubular slide and a small putt-putt golf course on artificial turf. Private member cabanas will be available around the river, as well as in the adults-only swimming area.
Gang mentality…Moore’s Mill Golf Club in Auburn, Ala., managed by Honours Golf, emphasizes group exercise classes in its state-of-the-art, 15,000-sq. ft. fitness center. Group classes offered include: customary aerobics (step, high-impact, kickboxing, conditioning, and circuit training); group spinning; cycling theater (with cable and DVD capability); yoga sessions; and stretching and strengthening Pilates mat classes. Moore’s Mill also offers childcare services for all parents who use the center, and child care attendents provide the added value of “working with children on basic movement skills and encouraging healthy habits.”
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