Club + Resort Business’ Second Annual Awards recognize The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.), which introduced its Richard C. Helmstetter Performance Centre in the summer of 2020. In addition to lessons and club fitting, a stocked bar and games such as Zombie Tag on the simulator offer entertainment options for non-golfers as well.
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 property was recognized for innovative achievement in the Golf Operations category:
The year of the pandemic will also be remembered as a time when clubs invested major dollars and valuable space to provide their members with innovative golf technology centers. One of the most prominent examples came from The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.), which introduced its Richard C. Helmstetter Performance Centre in the summer of 2020.
The facility, named after the former Vice Chairman/Senior Vice President of Callaway Golf and creator of the Big Bertha driver, who is a longtime member of The Bridges, is 2,700 sq. ft. and equipped with two hitting bays for instruction and club fitting.
In conjunction with the opening of its Performance Centre, The Bridges hired renowned instructor Matt Kilgarriff, PGA, to help equip the facility with the latest in technology, including a Full Swing Simulator, Putt View, Blast Motion and Swing Catalyst.
A stocked bar and games such as Zombie Tag on the simulator offer additional entertainment options for non-golfers as well. And once COVID restrictions are eased, the club envisions the space being used after-hours for corporate outings, birthday parties and other social gatherings.
If Kilgariff conducts lessons as part of those events, The Bridges team can provide video analysis to those who participate—complete with corporate logos at the beginning and end, to serve as a reminder of the host.
The Performance Centre has already been a big hit with current members of The Bridges, but the club’s leadership sees its potential going well beyond that. “On the [member] recruitment side, when someone comes and visits the club, they see something [special] the club has to offer,” Kilgariff says. “We’re able to develop a great teaching program and have the amenities to support that program.”
The Performance Centre checks all the boxes, adds club President Gerry Douglas, and will help the club broaden its appeal in step with how the industry has changed. Today’s club, Douglas notes, is all about lifestyle and not just about golf, and attracting younger members and families with multi-purpose facilities is critical to how a club can differentiate itself.