Now that the Lakeland, Fla. property is member-owned, it is making it a priority to spread the word that living in its gated community is not a requirement of membership. It’s also important, said General Manager Steve Knott, ”that folks know a first-class country club really becomes an incentive to attract employees to local companies.”
Grasslands Golf & Country Club, a gated community in Lakeland, Fla., has become a member-0wned organization, The Ledger of Lakeland reported—and as one, it has made it a top priority to erase its standing as one of Lakeland’s “best-kept secrets.”
Specifically, The Ledger reported, Grasslands G&CC officials are setting out to dispel the “secret” that one doesn’t have to live in the gated community to be a member of the club, by spreading the word about membership availability and what Grasslands offers in the way of golf, tennis, swimming and other recreational facilities.
“Now that we’re member-owned, we could do a much better job at reaching out to the Lakeland community,” Cliff Otto, President of the Grasslands Board of Directors, told The Ledger. “We think a lot of people, once they find out the myth that you have to live here is not true, will show a great deal of interest in becoming members.”
Grasslands’ 172 equity members purchased the club on September 27th from the developer, Drummond Corp., The Ledger reported. Grasslands residents become equity members because their real-estate purchase agreements include an equity stake in the country club.
Since the club opened in the early 1990s, equity members had accumulated more than a $2.5 million share in the club, said Otto, who is the CEO of Saddle Creek Logistics Services, a Lakeland-based transportation and warehousing company. So when the deal closed, the members paid only about $190,000 to complete the $2.7 million purchase, The Ledger reported.
“Grasslands is an ideal community, and it is the perfect place for us to live. We enjoy the amenities, such as golf, restaurants, pool and tennis facilities,” Bob Behr, an equity member and CEO at Florida’s Natural Growers in Lake Wales, Fla., told The Ledger. “I’m an avid golfer, and Grasslands has one of the best courses in the area. The course conditions are exceptional.”
Behr also approved of the move to member ownership, The Ledger reported.
“We are excited about transitioning to a member-owned club,” he said. “As a member-owned club, members can help shape Grasslands’ future, building upon the value proposition that members already enjoy.”
Grasslands G&CC currently has a total of 420 equity and associate members, Otto told The Ledger. The club hopes to grow 15 percent, to 485 members, by the end of 2019.
Associate membership carries all the rights and privileges of equity membership, save for the ownership interest, Otto explained.
“We firmly believe that this takeover makes us a stronger and more viable, member-centric club,” Otto told The Ledger. “Unlike our previous owners, the new member-owned club will aggressively market these associate memberships, in an effort to grow our ranks.”
The club offers a variety of associate memberships, The Ledger reported, that include these options
- Full membership at an annual fee of $1,000 and $535 per month dues.
- Dining and social membership at $500 annually and $270 per month.
- Tennis membership at $750 a year and $295 a month.
Equity memberships are also available, with an initial payment of $12,000 plus the full-membership fee plan.
All memberships include a spouse and children up to age 23, The Ledger reported, and members may also bring guests.
“One of the things members most appreciate is the breadth of offerings,” Otto said. That includes both fine and casual dining and other athletic options, including a fitness center and a hiking trail, he added.
The community also benefits from the club, General Manager Steve Knott told The Ledger.
“I think it’s important that folks know a first-class country club really becomes an incentive to attract employees to local companies,” Knott said.