In this episode of C+RB’s video series, Chief Operating Officer Eric Dietz and Assistant General Manager Liam McAuley describe how the tradition-steeped, 106-year-old private club community in central Florida is maximizing the appeal of its unique space—which includes a Seth Raynor-designed golf course, landscape design influence by Frederick Law Olmstead, and the Colony House private inn that is listed on the National Register of Historic Place—while also placing a renewed focus on “finding the fun in the formality.”
“The Road Ahead” video series from Club + Resort Business highlights how clubs are moving forward to create successful new programs, events and amenities and enhance the member experience.
This episode features Mountain Lake, one of the most unique club properties to be found anywhere in the U.S., and especially in Florida. The private community north of the city of Lake Wales in central Florida was founded in 1915, and its golf course was designed the next year by Seth Raynor. The property also reflects the design influence of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and includes the Colony House, a private inn listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
But even such a tradition-steeped club must continue to stay in step with the times—and in this episode, Chief Operating Officer Eric Dietz, CCM, CCE, PGA, and Assistant General Manager Liam McAuley describe new facility initiatives and activities, inspired by operating adjustments made during the pandemic, that will further maximize the appeal of Mountain Lake’s unique outside space while reflecting a renewed focus, as McAuley describes, on “finding the fun in the formality.”
Mountain Lake is a seasonal club with 110 residential members and another 150 non-resident members “from all over the world,” says Dietz. “In November 2019, we opened the Colony House after a $5.5 million renovation of the first floor,” he reports. “We were on a tremendous trajectory and then COVID came forth. We pivoted to focus on keeping the residents who were here safe, and also used that time to conduct a capital reserve study and a long-range plan, complete with in-depth sensitivity analyses.
“We’re now also in the process of retaining a master facilities planner, and have been working with a land engineer on some potential development,” Dietz adds. “And with all of this, we will embrace changes that were revealed through the added flexibility and increased use of our outdoor space and property brought about by the pandemic.”
Embracing those changes, McAuley adds, will also reflect how the Mountain Lake staff has more deeply explored “what we can and can’t achieve” and reimagined how its facilities, activities and amenities can evolve from what has been a very traditional and formal setting, to one that can have consistent and lasting appeal for all generations within member families.
Previous episodes of “The Road Ahead” can be viewed at https://clubandresortbusiness.com/category/the-road-back/
Upcoming episodes will feature how a prominent Washington, DC.-area club kept its robust tennis program in full swing through the pandemic and emerged even stronger on the other side, and the turnaround of a 73-year-old New Jersey club property after its rebranding in 2018.
If you have a great idea or success story you’d like to see featured on a future episode of “The Road Back,” contact firstname.lastname@example.org.