Club + Resort Business’ Second Annual Awards recognize GreatHorse in Hampden, Mass., which opened a new pool bar in August and went on to serve more than 1,000 pizzas and pour more than 1,500 drinks. “Even with certain restrictions due to COVID, the pool bar amenity has significantly increased our food-and-beverage revenue,” says Marketing and Communications Coordinator Kayla Turowsky.
The December 2020 issue of Club + Resort Business features the 2020 Innovation Awards, recognizing club and resort properties that have conceived and implemented concepts that have paid real dividends in the form of enduring member and guest satisfaction and loyalty.
This properties was recognized for innovative achievement in the Design + Renovation category:
At GreatHorse, a country club in Hampden, Mass., members in search of a relaxed yet entertaining setting have found their outdoor oasis. In August 2020, the club unveiled a pool bar and a professional pizza oven to rave reviews. Occupying previously vacant space on an outdoor patio, the new addition has attracted diners, swimmers and even teetotalers who are relishing its casual vibe and flexible design.
Drawing upon GreatHorse’s laid-back ‘no rules’ mentality, the pool bar is designed to mesh with the clubhouse’s overall look and feel. Constructed with safety in mind, it runs along the perimeter of the fence outside the pool, creating a barrier between the pool and patio. Teak high-bar chairs mesh with the patio and pool area furnishings, seating up to 28 guests.
The bar itself features a salt-and-pepper, leather-textured granite countertop, with surrounding masonry designed to match the patio. Copper accents mimic the clubhouse design, while custom-built, black-pipe LED lighting adds a rustic element.
Overhead, four 65-inch television sets were strategically placed to not obstruct the view of the Pioneer Valley backdrop. “This was accomplished by using a very untraditional mounting bracket that did not take away from the look and ambience of the structure,” says General Manager Bryan Smithwick. The back bar itself hosts six kegs, a frozen drink machine, a novelty ice cream freezer and a wood-fired pizza oven that cranks out an average of 30 pizzas per day and is arguably the biggest draw.
Since the bar opened to members during the pandemic, grabbing a coveted seat hasn’t been an issue. Instead, the club has swapped stools in favor of socially distanced arrangements of tables and chairs, along with padded barrel chairs positioned near firepits. Bar service is offered in this area, allowing patrons to partake of the sunset views with cocktails in hand.
In the offseason, GreatHorse has plans in place to protect the pool bar from inclement weather. A set of 32-ft. metal roll doors will prohibit wear and tear and secure all goods stored inside. Before freezing temperatures set in, the bar will be shrink-wrapped and all food and beverage, soda lines and keg lines will be winterized to prevent freezing.
“When building the structure, we made sure the plumbing was set up for easy winterization for when the time comes, making the transition a seamless process,” notes Dave Kopec, who managed construction for the project.
But before closing out the calendar year, warm memories of a productive and active inaugural year at the pool bar will sustain the club through the colder months; in addition to the 1,000-plus pizzas that were served from it, over 1,500 drinks were poured.
“Even with certain restrictions due to COVID, the pool bar amenity has significantly increased our food-and-beverage revenue,” says Marketing and Communications Coordinator Kayla Turowsky. Just as importantly, she adds, the new venue has helped the club become more of a multi-style dining destination. By truly offering a facility that appeals to all demographics, GreatHorse has seen a tremendous response from parents enjoying a night out, as well as business professionals.
“When it comes time to head home, parents order a pizza to go and bring it home for the kids,” says Turowsky. “We have also seen corporate members purchase pizza to-go for their offices and employees, to help increase morale during these unpredictable times.”
Taking the long view, GreatHorse hopes to further expand its pool bar menu by making chicken wings, grinders, strombolis, calzones and high-temperature steaks in the pizza oven. The culinary team is looking into hosting kid and adult cooking clinics, and the bar manager is aiming to host mixology classes.
“The possibilities are endless with the GreatHorse pool bar, and we are looking forward to more days sipping cold beverages, eating homemade pizza and overlooking the sunset,” says Turowsky.