In this episode of C+RB’s video series, DJ Butler, Director of Racquets at Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C., discusses how his staff kept the club’s tennis-playing members engaged and feeling safe during the pandemic, and how a challenging 2020 has shaped the way he looks at the program—and life—going forward. “I’ve never seen participation this high,” Butler says. “Literally every day, from sunrise to sunset, there wasn’t a half-hour available on the weekends.”
“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 how DJ Butler, Director of Racquets at Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C., and his staff kept the club’s tennis-playing members engaged and feeling safe during the pandemic, and how a challenging 2020 has shaped the way he looks at the program—and life—going forward.
“The pandemic was a terrible, terrible thing, but for sports like golf and tennis, I think we really benefited,” Butler says. “I’ve never seen participation as high. Luckily in our area, the climate was just starting to change when things shut down, so we were prepping our outdoor clay courts and just getting going.
“Literally every day, from sunrise to sunset, there wasn’t a half-hour available on the weekends,” he adds. “It was unbelievable.”
With six outdoor clay courts and five indoor hard courts (the club also offers pickleball in the indoor months), Butler has seen things return to a bit of normalcy in 2021.
“We’re on the other side of things,” he says. “I think the members are starving for it, so we’re starting to do a lot more private events and the clinics are starting to fill back up. I think we’re all just kind of ready to move forward.”
The club’s owner—former President Donald Trump—may be known for his propensity to play a lot of golf, but Butler says his tennis game can’t be ignored. He tells the story of Trump at the opening of the club’s indoor facility.
“Mr. Trump, in his nicely tailored suit, takes off his dress shoes and hits balls,” he says. “It was amazing.
“[He] has been great to our tennis program,” Butler adds. “I’ve been at the club for almost 12 years, and the program’s gotten better every single year. Our state-of-the-art facility wouldn’t have been built without him. Mr. Trump has a great swing, too—he had some top spin.”
Going forward, Butler believes he’ll take more than professional experience from the challenges faced in 2020.
“I think we all get very comfortable with what we have,” he says. “We have a great membership and sometimes we take for granted all the beauties that we have.
“I know that I enjoy myself more on the court than I did before, which I didn’t know was possible,” Butler adds. “I mean, it’s probably more of a life lesson—just enjoying life, don’t take every day for granted [and] enjoy what you have.”
(Viewing time: 10 minutes)
Previous episodes of “The Road Ahead” can be viewed at https://clubandresortbusiness.com/category/the-road-back/
Upcoming episodes will feature how clubs are achieving growth through a variety of strategies tailored to the specific needs of their properties, markets and target demographics.
If you have a great idea or success story you’d like to see featured on a future episode of “The Road Ahead,” contact [email protected].