With more members extending their visits well beyond sunset, outdoor spaces have become a vital component for stretching the social hours.
There’s nothing like the change in seasons to reinvigorate the outdoor scene. As warm weather makes its reappearance and members spend more time on the golf course, tennis courts and in the pool, clubs have the opportunity to encourage members to extend their time on property by creating a welcoming and stylish outdoor atmosphere.
To capture members and guests for more waking hours, clubs and resorts are creating dedicated outdoor space in the form of enhanced patios and decks with comfortable seating, modern-day amenities, and flexible layouts that can accommodate everything from casual cocktails to highly catered affairs.
|SUMMING IT UP
• An open seating arrangement encourages members and guests to intermingle.
Sit and Stay Awhile
At The Sanctuary Golf Club, on secluded Sanibel Island, Fla., members have the advantage of socializing in a private setting. So when management decided to revamp the clubhouse by expanding its outdoor dining and wellness facilities, the goal was to utilize the surroundings without sacrificing members’ privacy.
“Our desire was to bring the outside in,” explains Chief Operating Officer Ken Kouril, CCM, CCE, CAM. “We are surrounded by hundreds of acres of wildlife preserve, so we wanted to capitalize on that outdoor nature—that’s why people come to Southwest Florida.”
Completed last October, the new patio expands The Sanctuary’s outdoor dining options and sits adjacent to the grill room. Because the original porch did not take advantage of the picturesque golf course views, the design called for opening up the space. The elevated patio, now 12 feet above sea level (in compliance with area flood plans), maximizes the view down the first fairway. Weather-resistant, modernized wicker furniture provides comfortable seating for 50 to 60 guests and is outfitted in a coastal palette.
“We used to have traditional greens and browns and decided to update that with sands, whites and blues in sky, aqua and navy,” notes Kouril.
Bulky railing has been replaced with a lighter, cable style, while tile flooring has been designed to resemble wood planking. Ceiling fans and decorative torches provide the necessary amount of cool air and heat, while retractable screens prevent insects from becoming unwelcome guests. When rolled down, they still provide unobstructed views of the golf course and lush landscaping, made up of palm and oak trees, hibiscus and other tropical vegetation.
Thanks to the patio’s proximity to the club’s grill room, members can enjoy their lunch and dinner al fresco, or simply sit and take in the tranquil setting.
“With the old outdoor dining facility, people used it because it happened to be there,” says Kouril. “Our vision was to have them view the patio as a destination. Now people come just to sit in the outdoor component.”
The patio has also benefitted from the arrival in 2016 of Executive Chef Joe Albertelli, whose sophisticated menu has helped to generate more business in outdoor dining. “We’ve really upped our game now,” says Kouril.
|A New View for a New Season
Winter has been slow to loosen its grip on much of the country this year, but that hasn’t affected progress on the new patio at the Woodlands Golf Club in Alton, Ill. The patio is an expansion of an existing structure that serves as a main feature of the club’s golfing experience, and was scheduled for completion by the end of March.
“Looking over the first, 17th and 18th holes, [the patio] provides a scenic backdrop for an after-round cocktail, while watching the golfers finish their rounds on the 18th green,” says General Manager Dan Morelli. “We felt that by extending the patio an extra 12 feet, it will further enhance the experience.”
Woodlands’ patio renovation, which complements the club’s new full-service restaurant, also provides extra seating for members looking to dine outdoors. Made from stamped concrete, the 720-sq. ft. space features a new metal railing, outdoor lighting and ceiling fans, and seats approximately 100 people.
To better support its burgeoning membership of families and younger guests, Salem Golf Club in North Salem, N.Y., was determined to meet the needs of an expanding clientele. A portion of last year’s extensive renovation project included a new outdoor pool and sun patio that promotes mingling for members of all ages.
“Patios are an integral part of Salem’s cachet, because they tend to be the focal point for social interaction,” says Managing Partner Joel Berman.
A new 14,000-sq. ft. pool patio is designed to complement two other outdoor patios at the clubhouse: a partially covered, wrap-around wooden porch and an adjacent, full-sun stone patio.
The latest patio includes a secondary full-service sports bar that provides another gathering spot for families, as well as for members who have just used the club’s fitness and/or golf simulation center. Adjacent to the tee box for the 10th hole, the patio looks out over sloping greens below.
“It offers yet another option for our expanding membership and their guests to socialize, eat and take a swim,” says General Manager Scott Garvin.
The versatility of the patio’s design accommodates casual hangouts or formal catered affairs, including weddings, corporate functions and other special events. A mix of spot, chandelier and lamp lighting works well for this multipurpose facility.
Upscale teak tables, chairs and chaise lounges provide comfortable seating that can be rearranged as needed. Poured concrete flooring for the pool patio balances out the wood-floored wrap-around porch and flagstone patio, while overhead fans circulate the air on sultry evenings. The entire facility is maintained by an in-house crew and professionally contracted service providers.
While Salem GC did not encounter any specific obstacles during construction, management had to contend with issues pertaining to cost and timeframe.
“A strong consideration was [made in] balancing quality, convenience and curb appeal, while meeting [Westchester] county’s stringent code requirements,” says Garvin. “Because the new facilities are an integral part of our long-term expansion, we always side with high-quality solutions, even if they are costlier. This sometimes delayed us as progress depended on official inspections and approvals, but compromise was not an option for us.”
The necessary adjustments have, nevertheless, proved their value, with club members already providing glowing feedback. “Members tell us that the club now feels like a true destination for family gatherings, socializing, relaxation, wellness, entertainment and great food,” says Garvin. “This enhances what we have always had: a challenging and spectacularly beautiful golf course.”
At Montgomery Country Club in Laytonsville, Md., a renovated outdoor patio was part of a larger expansion plan that included a clubhouse-wide renovation last June. While several add-ons to the clubhouse’s original 1963 construction had taken place over the years, there wasn’t a designated area for outdoor dining.
“The patio is an essential element to the transformation of the clubhouse—not only structurally, but more importantly to revitalize the lifestyle for the members of a contemporary club,” says General Manager Kieron Mooney.
To provide ample space for additional guests, the patio was expanded from 1,500 sq. ft. to 3,700 sq. ft., tripling seating from 40 to 120. Mooney describes the new design as “more casual, which better suits the lifestyle of today’s club member.”
This also fits owner/operator Arcis Golf’s goal to help members connect with each other more easily. “There is more conversation table-to-table, creating a culture of getting to know one another,” Mooney says. “Being outside, members are quick to join those at another table—and they just take their happy-hour drink with them. It cultivates camaraderie.”
Designed to promote greater socialization, the patio has been divided into two levels. The 1,200-sq. ft. upper level is outfitted with umbrellas, glass-top tables, and chairs. The slightly larger 1,500-sq. ft. lower level has the addition of a 15-foot stone fire pit, with rows of lounge chairs and tables and seating directly behind that area. Dividers separating the upper and lower levels contain planters filled with seasonal flowers (often tulips and daffodils), in shades of yellow and red.
Comfortable seating features a basket-weave, rustic look, which mimics the region’s farming culture, Mooney notes. Deep blue upholstery pays tribute to Montgomery CC’s signature color, balanced out by neutral umbrellas that match the tile flooring. Controlled, building-mounted lighting, along with pole lighting around the perimeter, provides sufficient illumination for members and their guests.
Thanks to a seamless design, very little daily maintenance is required for the patio area, other than sweeping and hosing down flooring, storing cushions indoors, and closing the umbrellas each night. According to Mooney, the greatest obstacle of this project involved creating a special-access path in compliance with ADA requirements—but the additional legwork has proved to be worthwhile, he adds.
Today, the patio has quickly become one of the most popular spots at Montgomery CC, frequented not only by golfers, but families, too.
“The patio is so close to the pool, the ‘pool parents’ are out [there] while the kids are swimming nearby,” says Mooney. The space for dining also fills up faster than anywhere else on the property.
Looking ahead, Montgomery CC is considering adding a cover for the upper patio—either an awning or another design element that would shield members from adverse outdoor conditions.
“It will allow members to have even more access to one of the most popular new assets to the club,” Mooney says.
As General Manager, Mooney is thrilled that the patio is such a hit. “It creates an atmosphere at the club that allows members to be better connected to one another than ever before, and to re-energize those personal relationships,” he says. “It has been a complete success in that regard.”