There’s a newfound determination to find more effective solutions. And members and guests are taking positive note of the effort and the change.
Before Christmas, my wife and I got a call from a friend who likes to entertain. She’s a good hostess who throws very nice and elegant parties. But this year, instead of inviting us for the usual holiday gathering at her house, she’d arranged something different. We, and several other couples, were all going to go to one of the area’s most distinguished private clubs (her parents were members, and now she and her husband are, too) for their holiday buffet, and we would all be seated in a private room.
It was a great evening. The club was warm, the service was great, the food was outstanding, the drinks flowed, and things got quite festive—when I talked with one of the club’s staff later, in fact, he commented, “Wow, your group was really having a blast.”
This all had to cost our friends far more than what they would have spent to have us to their house. And there wasn’t any reason why they either couldn’t, or didn’t, want to host us themselves. In fact, speaking to the husband during the dinner, he gave me the reason why they decided to do things differently this year: “The food here is really great now, and the manager has made it a place that you want to come to and that you know you’ll enjoy. And we were happy to have a chance to share that with others.”
That club clearly “gets it” when it comes to making sure it stays front-of-mind as a preferred social option, even during tough times when it’s easy to find reasons to never go out. And through my daily professional observation of club and resort properties, I’m happy to report it is by no means an isolated example.
Take, for example, our profile of Hillview Country Club’s food and beverage operation in this issue (“Good Things in Small Packages,”). This is a small club that’s typical of many that are now being challenged like never before. The economic and market forces coming to bear on these types of clubs may yet prove to be too much for some to withstand. But in Hillview’s case, it’s clear the management staff isn’t going to go down without a fight—and that the club’s members are taking positive note of the effort, and the change.
The hopeful signs aren’t just coming from properties that have awakened to the need to improve F&B or get more well-rounded in other areas. This issue’s letters from golf professionals, and the examples of progressive new approaches to golf instruction in our feature on practice facilities (“Making Practice More Perfect,”), show a newfound determination to find more effective solutions for core offers, too. Perhaps the most powerful words in this issue, in fact, are the comments by Cody Barden of White Columns CC on the effects of a good golf instruction program. As both his words and the picture show, he’s still finding ways to “really have a blast,” too.
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