Club + Resort Business July 2020

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July 2020


Pandemic Can’t Stop

Hollywood GC’s

Star Performance INSIDE: Giving Kids Plenty of Space Resuming Outdoor Activities Safely Diablo CC’s Return to the “Golden Age”



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5/8/19 12:59 PM


Joe Barks







Tom McIntyre 610-688-5666 office 610-416-3550 cell 175 Strafford Ave., Suite 1 Wayne, PA 19087 216-533-9186

Rob Thomas 216-316-5294 1111 Superior Ave., 26th Floor Cleveland, OH 44114 CLUB + RESORT CHEF SUPPLEMENT

Joanna DeChellis 412-260-9233








Jake Bechtel 440-465-1914

Mark Rook


Samantha King

DJ Bozentka

Brian Korsberg


Jamila Milton



Lauren Sasala

Kim Dorsey

Matthew Claney




Stephanie Hulett

Derek Little


Marilyn Odesser-Torpey

Food + Beverage:

Halle Kirsh

Erin Canetta

Pamela Brill

Bradley Voyten



Design + Renovation:

Olivia Zemanek

Betsy Gilliland Jeff Bollig

Nicole Lender



Course + Grounds:

Reggie Hall



Pat Curran 216-372-8112 708-526-1825 SR. DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER

Patrick McIntyre

Tom Birmingham





Dave Miyares

Ashley Burk


Jen Osborne


Tony Bolla


Virginia Goulding

Bruce Sprague


Club and resort properties featured in this issue

Jane Cooper

Birmingham Athletic Club, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. ...............................24

The Carolina Country Club, Spartanburg, S.C. ......................................41 Desert Mountain Club, Scottsdale, Ariz. ..................................................42 Diablo Country Club, Diablo, Calif. .............................................................34 Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem, N.C. ......................................30


1111 Superior Ave., 26th Floor Cleveland, OH 44114 Ph: 888.543.2447

The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. ...............................42 2011 - 2020

To enter, change or cancel a subscription: Web (fastest service) Phone: 844-862-9286 (U.S. only, toll-free) Mail: Club & Resort Business, P.O. Box 986, Levittown, PA 19058 Copyright 2020, WTWH Media, LLC Club + Resort Business ISSN 1556-13X is published monthly by WTWH Media, LLC, 1111 Superior Avenue, 26th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44114. Copyright ©2020. Periodicals postage paid at Cleveland, Ohio, and additional mailing offices. Subscriptions: Qualified U.S. subscribers receive Club + Resort Business at no charge. For all others the cost is $75 U.S. and possessions, $90 Canada, and $145 all other countries. Per copy price is $3. Postmaster: Send change of address notices to Club + Resort Business, P.O. Box 986, Levittown, PA 19058. Club + Resort Business does not endorse any products, programs or services of advertisers or editorial contributors. Copyright© 2020 by WTWH Media, LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher.



Club + Resort Business

Hilly Haven Golf Course, De Pere, Wis. ..................................................45 Hollywood Golf Club, Deal, N.J. ..............................................................16



July 2020

Portland Golf Club, Portland, Ore. ...........................................................28 Rochester Golf & Country Club, Rochester, Minn. ..........................25 Rossmoor Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek, Calif. ...................................54 The Royal Golf Club, Lake Elmo, Minn. .....................................................23 Turtle Creek Club, Tequesta, Fla. ..................................................................44


Stranger, But Still True In over 40 years of writing for specialized business publications, I’ve found myself interviewing people in some pretty strange places and ways. In hospitals, including with a source who was in traction (talk about your captive audience). In the back of limousines, taxicabs, buses, rental car shuttles, semis, boats, helicopters and private planes. While standing up and trying to take notes in cramped, sweltering storerooms and bone-numbing walk-in freezers, and while perched on precarious catwalks or platforms in warehouses and manufacturing plants, and at construction sites. Researching this month’s cover story, though, brought an entirely new experience. I’ve conducted plenty of interviews while wearing a hard hat, safety goggles and ear plugs, but never while wearing a facemask—and also while having those I’m talking with wear them, too. It doesn’t exactly make for speaking and hearing clearly, or getting a good read on facial expressions (theirs or mine), or in general make it easy to have a congenial conversation. But as was the case with all of those other experiences, it was worth powering through this new one to get the story. Once again, it verified that there’s no substitute for getting out to see for yourself what’s really happening, versus what you have to try to now filter from second-hand sources that are proving to be more unreliable or skewed than ever. The scene I found at Hollywood Golf Club certainly wasn’t “normal,” given that the signs on all of its buildings’ doors made it clear masks were mandatory while inside. (It should also be made clear, by the way, that we asked that the staff be photographed without masks for the cover and the photo on pg. 18, and that was allowable while outdoors, under New Jersey’s requirements.) But it was also still among the liveliest club scenes that I’ve encountered in 15 years of covering the industry. And the

The staff’s determination to still provide the best possible experience for its membership matched any I’ve seen—even if their voices were muffled and they could only express that to me from the eyes on up. staff ’s positive determination to still provide the best possible experience for their membership matched any I’ve seen—even if their voices were muffled and they could only express that to me from the eyes on up. (Another interesting thing to note: Masks were made up for the staff that include the club logo, and after members quickly began to ask if they could buy them, they became an item that the Hollywood GC pro shop hasn’t been able to keep in stock.) Based on the e-mails we keep getting from many other clubs around the country, Hollywood GC isn’t the only property that’s been eager to have us come see firsthand that some really good things are still happening in the club business. If that’s the case with your club, too, please let us know—we’re more than ready to pack our own customized C+RB masks to come have a (half) face-to-face with you, too.


You may notice something different about the “Chef to Chef” interview feature in this issue (pg. 30). For the first time in C+RB’s 15-year history, it was not written by Jerry Schreck, Executive Chef of Merion Golf Club. From our third issue in June 2005, when Jerry interviewed Scott Rowe, then an Executive Chef at Pinehurst Resort, he wrote close to 100 Chef to Chef articles for us, and it quickly became one of our most popular features. And of course, Jerry was a driving force behind also establishing our Chef to Chef Conference as a hugely successful, must-attend event. With events including a Walker Cup and a U.S. Open on the horizon for Merion, Jerry is now going to focus on his club duties and ease into an “emeritus” role for C+RB and the Conference. Our Chef to Chef interview features will now be in the capable hands of Tom Birmingham, Director of the Club + Resort Chef Association. But I didn’t want to let the transition occur without saluting Jerry’s invaluable contributions to the C+RB and Chef to Chef brands, and to thank him for providing us with such consistently great content for so many years.

Joe Barks • Editor

July 202O


Club + Resort Business




July 2020 • Vol. 16 • No. 7




Hollywood GC’s Star Performance

Operating with a carefully implemented, safety-first approach in the state with the second-highest number of coronavirus cases hasn’t slowed the momentum of the Deal, N.J. club, which still expects to start the new decade by adding to its recent run of successful years. (Cover Photo by Stephen Lowy and Courtesy Hollywood GC)



Design + Recreation


Clubs are finding a variety of ways, and places, to keep kids engaged and entertained.



Editor’s Memo


The Rob Report


Chef Blair Cannon and Forsyth CC’s team meet all challenges with a measured approach.



C+RB News Roundup

THE IDAHO CLUB UNVEILS NEW CLUBHOUSE Plus other industry, supplier and people news.


Design Snapshot

A “MEMBER SHOP” THAT’S WELL WORTH THE STOP Portland Golf Club’s enhanced retail experience.


Super in the Spotlight


Charles Demske’s all-in-the-family connection to Hilly Haven GC.

+ Grounds 34 Course BACK TO THE GOLDEN AGE Diablo CC’s $12M course restoration will secure its preeminence for years to come.

4 Club Index 6


Club + Resort Business


July 2020

Recreation + Fitness 40 TAKING IT OUTSIDE

Clubs are offering a variety of ways to let members make full use of their properties.

49 Product Showcase


Idea Exchange


Showing the way to effective emergency response at Rossmoor Walnut Creek.

53 Ad Index

Configured Templates for Speedy On-Boarding Easy Access to Data Drill Down Analyses Custom Dashboards


Trending in the Wrong Direction Question: When is a positive a negative? Answer: When dealing with COVID-19 testing. Not much more than a month ago, things were looking up in terms of the global coronavirus pandemic. Our country was doing a solid job of flattening the curve and clubs began the reopening process…cautiously. Unfortunately, as I sit here, writing this column, the tables have turned, once again. Club-heavy states like California, Florida and Arizona are seeing major upticks in COVID-19 cases. Texas, too. While some argue that it’s merely a case of more testing that’s leading to more positives, others will counter with, “positives are positives, regardless of how they’re found.” Considering clubs are a microcosm of society—and not protected in an imaginary bubble—it only goes to reason that we’ll be seeing an uptick in positive cases among members and employees. With that in mind—and as reports began to surface of new positive tests on club properties—the National Club Association hosted a Town Hall webinar, “Dealing with Employee and Member Reports of COVID Symptoms or Sickness at Private Clubs,” on June 25. Jonathan Judge, a Partner at the law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo in California, addressed the audience with best practices when handling this difficult—and delicate—situation. While it seems like the coronavirus has been around forever, there’s still so much we’re learning about it. When we thought we knew the symptoms— cough, fever and difficulty breathing—we added chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or recent loss of taste or smell to the list. Compounding the confusion, a person may have all of 8

l Club + Resort Business l July 2020

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

the symptoms, or only select issues. On top of that…we can be symptomatic or asymptomatic! Quoting Benjamin Franklin, Judge said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To that point, he advises clubs to encourage sick employees to stay home, and to immediately send them home if they’re showing signs of illness while at the club. Have them call their healthcare provider and thoroughly clean the area where the person was working, along with the tools/equipment they were using. Once you have a sick employee or member, begin to gather information. When did the symptoms start? Was the person exposed to COVID-19? With whom did the person have close contact in the two days prior to the first symptoms? As with so many situations—both good and bad—communication is critical. Be sure to send notice to those who may have been exposed, and inform the

club’s general population that a positive test has been reported. Judge advises clubs, though, to maintain confidentiality, being sure to not release a name, position or other identifying information. The method for determining when an employee or member may be allowed to return will vary from club to club, or can even depend on individual situations. But Judge presented three strategies: testing-based, symptom-based and time-based. None are foolproof, as symptoms can be vague, timing can be miscalculated, and testing isn’t always readily available or covered by insurance (in the case of multiple tests). I wrote in May about “Minding the Curve” and hoped it would be the last COVID-related column I’d pen. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. While I knew we were much closer to the start than the finish at the time, I was naïve in thinking things were trending in the right direction. I remain hopeful that we can come together as a country and get this virus under control until we have an effective treatment or vaccine in hand.

Rob Thomas • Senior Editor



in Sandpoint, Idaho is eye-catching with dark wooden beams, circular chandeliers, a centrally located fireplace and some special touches, The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash. reported. Bill Haberman, Managing Member of Valiant Idaho LLC, which owns the club, pointed out that a mounted bull moose head above the fireplace came courtesy of a member’s friend, who thought it was too big for his house. The new clubhouse also features a pro shop and a restaurant that occupies much of the top floor, with seating capacity of 45 in the bar and 120 in the dining area, The Spokesman-Review reported. A roomy outdoor deck can accommodate 85. While the two-story, “mountain modern”-style structure opened recently, it already fits seamlessly into the scenic surroundings, providing visual confirmation that great golf courses are usually accompanied by great clubhouses, The Spokesman-Review reported. And The Idaho Club now has both, with the new clubhouse designed to go with its picturesque but challenging Jack Nicklausdesigned golf course. The Idaho Club has worked through a series of challenges since a 2008 fire destroyed its previous clubhouse, leaving only some foot-

ings that were incorporated into the new building, The SpokesmanReview reported. But Haberman, who became involved with the club’s ownership after it was put up for auction in 2014, is encouraged by the progress that’s been made over the last six years, “Certainly a lot of hurdles have been removed and we’ve overcome certain challenges,” he told The Spokesman-Review. “It took a little longer than we expected, but we feel very good about where we are right now. We feel this year is a true relaunch, and we’ve had great response.”


tional Links Trust (NLT), a non-profit entity formed to preserve and protect affordable, accessible and architecturally engaging public-access golf, to manage the operations of the East Potomac Park, Langston (pictured below) and Rock Creek Park golf courses in Washington, D.C. The NLT was recently selected by the National Park Service (NPS) to negotiate a



Club + Resort Business


July 2020

long-term lease for the renovation and operation of the three historic golf properties. The NPS and NLT will begin negotiations immediately, with the goal of having a lease in place no later than September 30. Golf course architects Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Beau Welling will provide design services for renovation work on the courses, while golf developer Mike Keiser (creator of Bandon Dunes and other properties) is serving as senior advisor to the NLT. The NLT is also partnering with civic, philanthropic and environmental organizations such as the First Tee of Greater Washington, D.C.; Golf. My Future. My Game.; Anacostia Watershed, and many others. The NLT has proposed a multi-year, multimillion-dollar investment in the restoration and rehabilitation of the golf properties, while simultaneously developing and maintaining environmentally sound open spaces and parks for the benefit of both golfers and non-golfers in the community.



Country Club & Resort in Brookeland, Texas appears to have big plans for the property should he procure ownership, KJAS reported. The latest newsletter of the Rayburn Country Association noted that businessman Joe Penland, Jr. plans to make the entity a “casual resort,” offering new amenities for Rayburn Country property owners and their guests. Proposed changes include immediately refurbishing the hotel and swimming pool, along with building a lazy river connected to the pool, and also making a few changes to the restaurant and club, KJAS reported.




of a Master Plan that calls for the renovation and modernization of the club’s Nicklaus-designed Talon Course and an expansion and renovation of the clubhouse, to include an indoor/outdoor bar and casual dining, card/activity room, Midway Cafe, and an expanded dining/event room and balcony overlooking both of the club’s championship golf courses. In addition, four new bocce courts will be built adjacent to the clubhouse. The cost of Phase One is estimated at $22.5 million, with construction on the Talon Course scheduled to be completed in January 2022. Work on the new clubhouse is slated to be finished by November 2022. Other phases of the club’s Master Plan will be considered at a later date. It has been a whirlwind 18 months at TwinEagles, since ownership converted from a developer to the club members. To help fund the amenities and improvements, members also approved initiation fees, another first for the club. The initiation fees do not go into effect until April 1, 2021.

THE LANDINGS CLUB IN Savannah, Ga. opened its new Marshwood Clubhouse with a ribboncutting ceremony on June 2. The new clubhouse marks the final phase of a $25 million revitalization project. The Marshwood Clubhouse was the first clubhouse built at The Landings, in 1974. The new version of the clubhouse is the most significant project the club has undergone since its formation. The project created a cabana bar larger than any previously seen at The Landings, along with a zero-entry, resort-style pool complex, private rooms, a top-of-the-line golf shop and an event lawn for outdoor events and croquet. Within the clubhouse, Arnie’s Tavern and Palmer’s Steakhouse have been created as unique dining experiences that fit with the two golf courses, Marshwood (pictured above) and Magnolia, that surround the Marshwood Clubhouse and were designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer.


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July 2020


Club + Resort Business l 11



CLEVELAND COUNTRY CLUB IN Shelby, N.C. announced an extensive renovation of its interior member dining room and bar, as well as its outdoor terrace dining space. Upon completion, the dining area will feature a large outdoor courtyard. Comfortable chairs will be placed around tables for two or more people, as well as around fire pits. Couches will be placed outside as well to encourage communal dining and comfortability among patrons. The inside dining area will feature a large winding bar for both drinking and dining, as well as subtle lighting and café-style seating to help elevate the member experiences in the new casual but refined setting. COVID-19 guidelines will continue to be followed. The JPS Building Group of Shelby has been engaged for construction for the project and Lawler Design Studio of Charlotte, N.C. as the design firm. The renovations to the dining space follow other recent improvements at the club, including repainting the tennis courts, resurfacing all clay tennis courts, renovating the bunkers on the golf course and repairing the parking lot. Funds for renovations at Cleveland CC have been raised in recent years through the sale of equity memberships as part of a capital-funding campaign. The club plans to continue to offer those memberships to raise funds for future improvements, and plans to host hard-hat tours and open houses for prospective members as the latest renovation is completed.

ken ground on its 2020 Master Facilities Plan construction project—a $6 million, member-driven project to renovate and expand its Desert Lodge Clubhouse and facilities. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020. The clubhouse will see a new indoor and outdoor peninsula bar added, with full glass sliding walls and down-valley views, as well as increased casual dining space, outdoor patio dining space with additional fire pits, a private dining room and two new glass-walled wine rooms. The club’s commercial kitchen will be enlarged to handle additional dining needs, and upgraded to increase foodservice efficiency and capacity. The Fitness Center will double in size, with dedicated areas for stretching, additional free weight equipment, Pilates and other classes. Locker rooms and additional space will be available for more salon and spa services. The front entrance to the clubhouse will be updated with refreshed landscaping, improved lighting and water features. Lastly, the Tennis & Racquet Center will expand to include four new Pickleball Courts, as that sport continues to grow in popularity.

PRAIRIEVIEW GC EXPECTS NEW $3M RANGE FACILITY TO BECOME DESTINATION MATT HENKEL, GENERAL MANAGER of PrairieView Golf Club in Byron, Ill., had a radical idea, the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star reported. In the spring of 2018, with golf courses all over the country facing declining revenue, Henkel asked the Byron Forest Preserve Board to build a $3 million driving range. What Henkel had in mind, the Register Star reported, was a facility that would be unlike anything else in the Midwest, complete with Toptracer technology that provides shot replays, statistical analysis, carry distance, ball speed, launch and height. A cozy ambience would also be provided to make the experience more than about golf. Named the PrairieFire Golf & Grill and located at the site of the club’s previous driving range, the facility opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 4, the Register Star reported. “It’s an entertainment component that is open year-round,” said Scott deOliviera, PrairieView’s Assistant General Manager. “It’s similar to Topgolf, but with a lot more technology. The millennials will eat this up.” 12


Club + Resort Business


July 2020


Jordan, a manufacturer of premium umbrellas. The acquisition adds to Dynamic Brands’ portfolio that includes Bag Boy, Burton, Datrek Golf, Devant Sport Towels, IGOTCHA, SEARCH ‘N RESCUE and FLAGPOLE-TO-GO. Haas-Jordan was founded in 1899 by the Hull brothers in Toledo, Ohio. The company is specifically known for its golf umbrellas, as well as fashion umbrellas, custom umbrellas, folding umbrellas, apparel and drinkware. In 1942, with the assistance of famed PGA Tour player Byron Nelson, Haas-Jordan designed and built the first American-style golf umbrella, a design that combines large size, dense fabric weave and a double-rib frame for added strength. In 1959, Haas-Jordan were the first manufacturer to silk-screen umbrellas. Then in 1961, the company introduced the first all-fiberglass frame and fiberglass shaft.


Sterno and has launched a new brand identity and logo surrounding the iconic name. “Our new branding communicates a company that is growing and evolving beyond its origination and gives confidence to customers that when a product says ‘Sterno,’ they know it’s of the highest quality,” said Craig Carnes, President, Sterno Food Service Products Group. The new branding is an integral part of Sterno’s plans to expand its core business and create a foundation for new endeavors. Most recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company retrofitted two of its factories to produce hand sanitizer and non-medical face masks at scale. Both products are now part of the company’s permanent product portfolio. The company will continue to explore new lines of business to serve both foodservice professionals and retail customers.


back-of-the-house products to the hospitality industry, announced the promotion of Andrew Allen to VP & General Manager of the Tomlinson Industries division. In his new role, Allen will be responsible for the Cleveland, Ohio-based Tomlinson Industries division, including the growing OEM division. Tomlinson produces water-management products such as faucets and OEM components used in water purification, and medical equipment used in the fight against COVID-19. The division currently operates with 25 employees and is both a manufacturing and distribution facility. Before joining Oneida Hospitality Group, Allen held the position of Vice President at Fusion Products, a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of solar lighting products serving the B-to-C sector. Prior to his time at Fusion, Allen was VP & General Manager of Chalifour Canada—a hardware and consumer packaged goods company servicing over 1,500 dealers throughout Canada.

Excellence in




Awards Entries are now being

accepted for the 2020 Excellence in Club Management® & Rising Star Awards, co-sponsored by the McMahon Group, Club & Resort Business and the National Club Association. The awards program honors private club general managers, managers and chief operating officers who have exhibited outstanding skills in their clubs.

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING ENTRIES IS NOVEMBER 8, 2020 For more information and to submit nominations, go to

July 2020


Club + Resort Business l 13

SUPPLIER NEWS TIVOLI LIGHTING UNVEILS NEW WEBSITE TIVOLI LIGHTING INTRODUCED ITS new website (www.tivolilighting. com) featuring a sleek new design and color scheme, improved functionality, and enhanced lighting and controls content for architectural, auditorium, amphitheater and commercial lighting applications. The website is designed specifically for the user experience on multiple platforms from PCs and tablets to mobile. The new website is organized by category and product line, with user-friendly fly-out menus and image-based photography for easy navigation. Once the product sub-category is selected, each product hover-over provides access to quick data and a direct specification and installation PDF download available without going to the product page. This design helps eliminate extra “clicks” for information such as a specification sheet or installation guide. Other user-friendly additions to the website include a tape configurator, product filters, photo gallery, new Rep locator tool and Rep Portal. The website also highlights case studies with a focus on Tivoli Lighting’s mission to provide the world with the right amount of lighting in the right places and provide the highest level of customer services in the lighting industry. Tivoli Lighting’s new website will be regularly updated with news on new products, company updates, accomplishments and events.

59CLUB USA HAS ADDED three more Bobby Jones Linksmanaged clubs—Big Canoe, Hope Valley Country Club and The Champions Club—to its client roster. Just one hour north of Atlanta, Ga., Big Canoe is a private, gated, master-planned community. Hope Valley Country Club is a member-owned private club in Durham, N.C., and The Champions Club is a private club in Ooltewah, Tenn. 59club is a service-based management tool and customer-service provider that uses objective data points and images to measure, improve and then maintain standards of customer service, in turn increasing visitor and member retention. Results of on-site testing from the 59club are a boost to customer satisfaction, revenues and profits for clubs who use services such as customer-satisfaction surveys, mystery shopping services and employee training. “We’re excited to continue our relationship with the Bobby Jones Links team and are looking forward to developing a relationship with each of the managers at these three new clubs,” stated Mike Kelly, Managing Partner of 59club USA.


Ana Todor

Joe Jones

Calvin Bolling

John Muriel

Joe Herbstreith

CLUB PEOPLE Ansley Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. named Calvin Bolling, CCM, as General Manager. Bolling was most recently General Manager of The Cliffs at Glassy in Landrum, S.C. Delaire Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla. announced several new appointments. Joe Herbstreith, previously with Birmingham (Mich.) Country Club, has been named the club’s new Head Golf Professional, succeeding Joe Jones, who has taken on a new role as Golf Professional Emeritus after more than 30 years at Delaire CC. John Muriel, previously Executive Sous Chef of Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Fla., is Delaire CC’s new Executive Chef, and Ana Todor, previously with Stonebridge Country 14


Club + Resort Business


July 2020

Anthony Capua

Club in Boca Raton, Fla., is the club’s new Director of Marketing & Membership.

Garcia joined the CC of Naples as Executive Sous Chef in 2019.

Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. named Anthony J Capua IV as its new Executive Chef. Previously, Capua was Executive Sous Chef at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla.

Forest Lake Club in Columbia, S.C. named Robert Meitzer as Executive Chef. Most recently, Meitzer was Executive Chef at Windsor in Vero Beach, Fla.

Petoskey-Bay View Country Club in Petoskey, Mich. named Evan Shumway as Clubhouse Manager and Matt Zimmerla as Executive Chef. Both previously worked at the Detroit Golf Club—Shumway as Service Manager and Wine Director, and Zimmerla as Executive Sous Chef. The Country Club of Naples (Fla.) named Miguel Tellez Garcia as Executive Chef.

Cleveland Country Club in Shelby, N.C. named Zach Anderson as Executive Chef. Anderson was most recently Executive Chef of The Westglow Resort in Blowing Rock, N.C. The Country Club of Indianapolis (Ind.) named Daniel R. Irons as Golf Course Superintendent. Prior to his appointment, Irons was the Head Assistant Superintendent at Illini Country Club in Springfield, Ill.




Craig Martin

Justin Riegel, 38, Director of Golf at Philmont Country Club in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was killed June 3 when a tree crashed into the pro shop and cart barn at the club during a violent thunderstorm. Riegel worked as an Assistant Professional at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.; Wilmington (Del.) Country Club; and Gulph Mills Golf Club in King of Prussia, Pa., before becoming Head Professional at French Creek Golf Club in Chester County, Pa., where he met Kate Hannon, the club’s Banquet Events mManager, and the two became a couple. He moved on to Philmont CC in March 2019 as Head Professional and was promoted to Director of Golf in January 2020. A GoFundMe page was created after Riegel’s death, to provide assistance for Hannon, who was due to give birth to the couple’s first child later in June. Contributions that included widespread support from the club and golf industry had raised nearly $350,000 by the end of June.

DENEHY Club Thinking Partners named Craig Martin as a Vice President. Most recently, Martin served as Chief Operating Officer/General Manager at the St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla.

Sipcam Agro USA named Scott Tefteller as Agriculture Account Manager in the upper mid-South. Most recently, Tefteller previously served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the U.S. for AgBiTech. Refrigerated Solutions Group named Dan Hinkle as Vice President Sales and Anthony Lorubbio as Chief Transformation Officer.


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STAR PERFORMANCE Operating with a carefully implemented, safety-first approach in the state with the second-highest number of coronavirus cases hasn’t slowed the momentum of the Deal, N.J. club, which still expects to start the new decade by adding to its recent run of successful years. By Joe Barks, Editor



Club + Resort Business


July 2020


BY 10 A.M. ON A LATE-JUNE morning, the parking lot at Hollywood Golf Club was already close to full. Tennis players were spread throughout the club’s courts and receiving loud and enthusiastic instruction as group drills were conducted. Touring the golf course required frequent stops, to let players who could be seen on pretty much every hole hit their shots. And as lunchtime approached, tables on the club’s outdoor pavilion began to fill up. And yes, this was a June morning in 2020. And it wasn’t in California, but rather in New Jersey— the state that has registered the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States. In Deal, N.J., in fact, which is less than an hour from New York City, the pandemic’s epicenter. But by this time in June, both New York and New Jersey had emerged as states that had been the most effective in turning back the tide—so

much so, in fact, that they were now imposing quarantine orders on visitors from more-infected states. And Hollywood Golf Club (which took its name from its original location on Hollywood Avenue when it was founded in 1898) stood as an example of a club that was farther ahead on the recovery curve than pretty much any property in the country—with staff and members expressing confidence as the first half came to a close that 2020 could still end up being a successful, and perhaps even profitable, year. “We’re still optimistic that it could be a great year,” said Salil S. Bokil, CCM, Hollywood GC’s General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, as one of the most volatile and challenging first halves that his 122-year-old club—or any other club— has ever seen was coming to a close. “The response from our membership for what we’ve been able to provide for them so far [while July 2020


Club + Resort Business




The Hollywood GC management team has drawn on its many years of working together to form and execute the club’s coordinated response to the coronavirus challenge. Left to right: Robert Egan, Dining Room Manager; Brij Menon, Director of Tennis; Martin Bradley, Executive Chef; Lisa D’Amato, Executive Assistant/Membership Coordinator; Kevin Weyeneth, Head Golf Professional; Sharon LoPresti, Events and Marketing Coordinator; Valerie Riehlman, Assistant Controller; Michael E. Broome, Golf Course Superintendent; Salil S. Bokil, CCM, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer. (Not pictured: Controller Mary Bryk)

operations have been restricted] has been great, with usage of our golf course through the roof and strong response to our takeout food service,” Bokil added. “We have 100 well-spaced seats for outdoor dining that we can use until indoor dining is reopened, and that’s been very busy, too, since we’ve been able to start serving out there. “And through all of this, we’ve been able to continue to add new members and new people to our waiting list,” Bokil said. “So we’ve been ready to get going at whatever pace is allowed, and my gut tells me we’re going to be extremely busy if and when this all gets back to something representing a new normal.” MAKING THEIR LUCK Members of the Hollywood GC management team sometimes cite a feeling that the club was “lucky” with regard to the timing of how it was confronted by the pandemic, because it has always normally stayed closed through March, so it did not encounter a need to scramble

and adjust an active operation—or lay off or furlough any employees. But luck is the residue of design, and being closed didn’t make anyone from the club’s Board or management feel they had the luxury of time in preparing for how to respond to the outbreak. Rather, as featured recently in a segment of C+RB’s “The Road Back” video series, Hollywood GC was one of the first clubs to quickly embrace how it could continue to operate virtually through Zoom and other technology, not only to maintain momentum for membership applications and interviewing (it has brought in 10 new members in the first half of this year), but also to coordinate Board and staff communication for setting its response strategy. That strategy, says Stephen Lowy, a 38-year member who has been Hollywood GC’s Board President for the past six years, began with establishing that the primary focus would always be on the health of the membership and the staff. Secondly, in keeping with what Lowy

We’re still optimistic that it could be a great year. We’ve been ready to get going at whatever pace is allowed, and my gut tells me we’re going to be extremely busy when this all gets back to something representing a new normal.

—Salil S. Bokil, CCM, GM/COO 18


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says has been the key to turning around the club after the stock-market crash of 2008 and subsequent Great Recession, Hollywood’s decisions for how it would proceed would be driven by careful monitoring of data, both for the club’s operation and for the club industry as a whole. “It certainly helped that we were able to take our time, but our approach was always going to be measured, cautious and not overly ambitious, with decisions based on learning all we could about what was going on at our club, in our area, and in the club market,” says Lowy, who has found as Hollywood GC’s President that even a tradition-rich operation can benefit from what he’s successfully applied in his own business career, which has included involvement with 12 startup companies. It also certainly helped that Hollywood GC has a management team with extensive tenure at the property. “Our core staff averages seven years here, and most of our department heads have been here 10 years or more—some over 20 or 30,” says Bokil, who has been at the club 12 years himself, starting as Clubhouse Manager and then advancing through the Director of Food & Beverage and Assistant General Manager positions before taking his current role in 2015. “The internal camaraderie we have really helps us have consistency in how we operate,” Bokil says. “There’s no tension,

At A Glance:


Hollywood GC re-spaced its pavilion area to be ready for outdoor dining as soon as it was allowed, and immediately saw “very busy” activity.

because we all respect how we can work with and help each other deliver personalized service for our members.” THE RIGHT COURSE As it became apparent that golf stood to be the first activity that would be allowed to resume (even though all clubs in New Jersey experienced growing frustration, as the state was one of the last to allow play), the Hollywood GC staff knew that another major advantage it would have in planning a successful restart would be the allure of its golf course. The connection to a legendary name like Walter Travis, an early member of the club who designed the course that has since been consistently included in “classic” U.S. course rankings, has always provided Hollywood GC with a good opening statement. Renovation and restoration projects by Rees Jones and Brian Schneider of

Location: Deal, N.J. Founded: 1898 Members: 403 Golf Course Design: Walter J. Travis Annual Golf Rounds: 19,000 Main Clubhouse Size: 20,000 sq. ft. Winter Clubhouse: 15,000 sq. ft. General Manager/Chief Operating Officer: Salil S. Bokil, CCM Head Golf Professional: Kevin J. Weyeneth, PGA Golf Course Superintendent: Michael E. Broome Executive Chef: Martin Bradley Dining Room Manager: Robert Egan Director of Tennis: Brij Menon Membership Coordinator: Lisa D’Amato Events and Marketing Coordinator: Sharon LoPresti Controller: Mary Bryk Assistant Controller: Valerie Riehlman

Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design have further enhanced the course’s appeal over the years. Then, with another stroke of “luck,” being able to delay this year’s opening gave Golf Course Superintendent Michael Broome, who lives on the property along with two of his assistants and other staff members, ample time to get it in prime condition before the word came that play would finally be allowed. Once the ban was lifted, Broome says, “we were packed from day one.” And the pace hasn’t slowed, with the month of May bringing 1,000 rounds just from member play, topping the same month a year earlier when guest rounds were also included in the count. June was on a similar pace, again with only members playing, and Head Golf Professional Kevin Weyeneth, PGA, also reported being pleasantly surprised by how his staff has been “booked solid” for lessons, reflecting increased interest by some Hollywood members who had not been playing as much golf previously. Weyeneth also saw that members found new enjoyment from the walking-only restrictions that were originally imposed when the course was

Golf Course Superintendent Michael Broome (above left) and others on his staff literally live with Hollywood GC’s Walter Travis-designed course on a daily basis. The grounds department took advantage of the pandemic-enforced closing to get the course in exceptional shape before play was allowed to resume, and members showed their immediate appreciation (“We were packed from day one,” Broome says).

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Club + Resort Business



» Hollywood GC

Play confined to members in the first two months since Hollywood GC’s reopening has outpaced round totals that included guests for the same periods a year before.

opened. “Many of them enjoyed it more than they thought they would,” he says. “Once you start to do it, you realize it’s one of the easiest walking courses you’ll find. And when we had 15-minute tee times [to ensure proper social distancing], it felt like it was your own golf course.” The Hollywood GC property is situated just a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, and that has also always provided another special feature for the golf course, Broome says, because of how the wind can frequently change to not only provide welcome breezes, but also add new variety to how the course can be played. The proximity to the ocean and the smaller-town appeal of Deal has also provided another unexpected, pandemicprompted stroke of “luck” for Hollywood GC, as the outbreak set off a mass exodus

of residents from the crowded cities to the north. “The real estate market here right now is insane,” says Bokil. “So many people, especially those with children, couldn’t stand being cooped up in New York City or Jersey City or Hoboken [during stay-at-home orders] and now want to get out.” That’s added to the pipeline of interested new members, and promises to continue the trend for younger families joining the club (the average age has dropped into the mid-50s over the last decade). And while the region has many other options, Hollywood GC thinks its smaller size (“We have 100 fewer members than any other club in the area,” says Lowy) will add to its appeal as an especially safe haven as pandemic-related concerns linger. “There are tons of other restaurants that [area residents] can usually choose from,” Bokil notes. “But as long as they’re all confined to sidewalk service or even limited indoor seating, we’re going to look very attractive by comparison.”

GROUP EFFORT Longer-term, as Lowy assesses how the Hollywood GC management team and membership have worked together so far to take on the challenges that rose up as they prepared to start the 2020 season, it also reaffirms his confidence that “Hollywood’s best is yet to be.” “When I got involved [with the club’s governance] after the crash in 2008 and we saw a crisis developing for the club,” Lowy says. “it became clear to me that our job [as Board members] was to put very good professionals in the right roles and to let them do their jobs, with us not micromanaging, but instead providing guidance and encouragement and helping them find and analyze the right data to help them make the right decisions. “It’s made it so much easier for me to stay on as President for as long as I have, because of how Salil and his team have stayed together and performed so well as a group for so long,” he adds. “With consistency comes quality, and that has certainly proved to be the case in how we’ve seen our staff step up and respond this year.” C+RB

Hollywood GC’s appeal as a respite from big-city crowding has been enhanced by the pandemic, generating new member interest that promises to continue the trend it’s seen over the last decade for younger families joining the club.



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July 2020

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Photo Courtesy Birmingham Athletic Club

Starting them

young By Pamela Brill, Contributing Editor



Club + Resort Business


July 2020

Clubs are finding a variety of ways, and places, to keep children engaged and entertained as part of all-inclusive settings throughout their properties.



Providing amenities aimed at family members ensures more time spent on site.


Centrally located kids’ facilities provide easy access for parents utilizing other parts of the club.


A DIP IN THE POOL followed by an ice cream at the snack bar may have sufficed for giving kids a satisfying club experience back in the day. But for today’s member families, spending time at the club means getting a full helping of amenities for all ages. As more clubs attract prospective families, they are fulfilling the demand for dedicated spaces that afford structured activities, free play and even child care services. GROOMING FUTURE PROS At The Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, Minn., kids can practice perfecting their golf swing in a less intensive setting—and at no cost. This spring marked the opening of the club’s six-hole short course, a product of the combined efforts of golf

legends Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam and Pro Links Sports’ Hollis Cavner. “They all wanted to provide a course that would give kids access to golf where money and equipment would not be a barrier,” says Head Golf Professional Kent Blaschko. The course is designed for kids ages 17 and under, who can play for free and are provided with equipment as needed. Ranging from 60 to 100 yards and named after famous golf courses from the around the world, the junior course is designed with holes featuring one set of tees made from synthetic turf. (The remainder of the course is natural grass.) It sits adjacent to the parking lot and within walking distance to the clubhouse and practice area. A soon-to-be constructed fitness center will overlook the short course, offering easy

Tapping members of all ages for input on design and programming needs ensures a positive experience for the long haul.

access for kids and adults alike. “The philosophy is to allow parents a great vantage point to watch their kids play golf while they get a workout in,” Blaschko says. To protect players from a sudden rainstorm or the summer sun, kids can find a spot under a gazebo, just off the first hole. As an extra safety measure, an attendant is on site to monitor and supervise adult and junior golfers. This staff member also ensures that all golfers sign up in advance. In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, the club has implemented proper safety protocols on its short course. Custom posts have replaced flags and cups, eliminating the need to retrieve golf balls out of the hole. This rule is expected to continue for the remainder of the season. “We are also requiring all childrender July 2020


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“[The vision was] to provide a golf course that would give kids access to golf where money and equipment would not be a barrier.” — Kent Blaschko, Head Golf Professional

under 13 to be supervised by an adult at all times while playing the short course, and advising all others to practice social distancing,” says Blaschko. Since its opening, Royal Golf’s short course has proved to be a success story for both its members and surrounding communities. According to Blaschko, it represents “a unique gesture of good will for the entire area. People drive from afar to give their kids this unique opportunity and exposure to the game of golf.”

SHARK TANK PAYOFFS At the Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC) in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., finding ways to welcome a burgeoning family membership has been top-of-mind for management. “When I started at the club in 2016, we had 20 members in our intermediate (junior) category,” says General Manager Paul Spencer. “We now have 97, so we’ve been trending younger.” After renovating the clubhouse’s kids’ room two years ago to wide acclaim, management decided to unveil a new, two-story dining and recreation facility (see photo, pgs.

AN INSIDE JOB WHEN DETERMINING HOW BEST to serve a club’s youngest members, it pays to go right to the source: the kids themselves. At the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., management tapped its fledgling members to determine how to operate the space effectively. “We formed a committee made up entirely of kids, and we discuss everything from games and activities for the [youth] rooms to ice cream flavors at the snack stand,” says General Manager Paul Spencer.

Parents whose children utilize the kids’ club at the Rochester (Minn.) Golf & Country Club have been instrumental in the success of that facility. Initially an ad hoc committee of a dozen members, this group has assisted with every aspect of the kids’ club, from furnishings and color schemes to rules and games. The club’s social committee has since taken over responsibility for the kids’ club and is currently comprised of 10 members. According to General Manager Carl Granberg, the committee is working diligently to prepare for the kids club’s reopening, tentatively scheduled for late July.

Games installed in Birmingham Athletic Club’s kids’ room were specified by a kids-only committee. Photo Courtesy Birmingham Athletic Club



Club + Resort Business


July 2020

22-23). Dubbed the Shark Tank, the 8,000sq. ft area features locker rooms, a tennis pro shop, grab-and-go fare, a lifeguard stand and a kids’ camp on the lower level. A rooftop bar, kitchen and paddle hut make up the upper level. Spencer describes the entire building as family-oriented, connecting the kids’ and adults’ areas, yet maintaining distinct identities. The rooftop bar incorporates a walk-up snack stand where kids can indulge in an ice cream cone or a piping-hot slice of pizza fresh from a wood-burning oven. “The space is right over the pool, so families will come right up for lunch or dinner, with great views of the entire club,” says Spencer. While this dining area normally contains 18 tables and 24 bar stools, the club has currently reduced the layout to 10 tables and 8 bar stools, to promote social distancing. In the kids’ room, where Camp BAC is held, a maximum capacity of 27 children provides ample space for engaging activities. With the ability to see the club from the main road, the Shark Tank has garnered true visibility. “To see 100 people at the rooftop bar with kids running around having a good time sells itself,” says Spencer. “We’ve ran our Camp BAC for several years now, and the demand with the new space complete is incredible. We were never at capacity before, and now we are selling out daily.” At press time, the club anticipated being able to reopen its kids’ club facilities following the July 4th holiday. At that time, the camp program will be limited to four kids per counselor and will host all of its activities outdoors, weather permitting. “We have a detailed plan [for inclement weather] with several designated spaces throughout the clubhouse for the groups to spend the day,” Spencer says.


“We’ve run our Camp BAC for several years now, and the demand with the new space complete is incredible. We were never at capacity before, and now we are selling out daily.” —Paul Spencer, General Manager

DESTINATION KIDS Family life has a second home at the Rochester (Minn.) Golf & Country Club. To better appeal to its younger clientele, management decided to rev up its amenities with a succession of enhancements, from a golf simulator lounge and fitness in 2018, to its latest venture: a kids’ club that was unveiled in May 2019. “Our club’s membership was trending younger every year, with a current average age of 52,” explains General Manager/ COO Carl Granberg, CCM, CCE. Staff offices were relocated to two new locations to make space for a 1,900-sq. ft. kids’ club, which has a maximum occupancy of 20.

Conveniently positioned across from the golf shop and at the bottom of the stairs just off the main entrance to the clubhouse, this facility features a check-in desk directly inside a glass-door entry. A large window looks onto an area that facilitates both free play and structured activities. Large bean bag and child-sized chairs, along with two arts-andcrafts tables, are dotted around the room, which is well-stocked with classic playtime favorites. A magnetic/whiteboard wall, giant doll-

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“We found out there is a significant difference from simply manning a check-in desk versus creating raving fans when our staff engages with the children, resulting in increased member confidence and club use.” —Carl Granberg, General Manager/COO

house, play kitchen and playhouse fuel young imaginations, while two reading nooks, five gaming stations and a movie viewing area provide alternate forms of entertainment. To ensure a safe environment for its guests, the kids’ club door remains closed when the room is occupied, and no adults are permitted past the check-in desk. All children are escorted to an adjacent bathroom by a staff member, all of whom have been trained specifically to work in this part of the club. “We found out that there is a significant difference from staff simply manning a check-in desk versus engaging with the children,” says Granberg. “We create raving fans when our staff

engages with the children, resulting in increased member confidence and club use.” In fact, positive member feedback has helped to tweak kids’ club programming accordingly, hosting bi-monthly pizza and movie nights and crafting events and the recent addition of child care services. “Members are now able to leave the club premises for up to three hours to run errands or for other purposes,” Granberg says. “This has been very well-received.” While the kids’ club has yet to start up since the clubhouse’s reopening in early June, plans are in place to increase sanitization procedures once everything is back up and running. C+RB

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A “MEMBER SHOP” THAT’S WELL WORTH THE STOP Updating the pro shop and performance studio at Portland (Ore.) GC started with a full evaluation of what it should be offering, and how, followed by a makeover to match the unique look, feel and member experience that’s now being provided throughout the property. By Pamela Brill, Contributing Editor

Following on the heels of a successful clubhouse renovation, an updated pro shop and performance studio was a natural next step for the Portland (Ore.) Golf Club (PGC). “The decision to remodel the pro shop was made to provide a consistent atmosphere and member experience throughout the entire club,” says General Manager Lonnie Lister. While construction for the pro shop remained on track and wrapped this past March, the shop’s full opening was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Even while operating on a limited basis, however, it has already provided improved traffic flow and streamlined operations.

THE RIGHT SPOT AND LOOK Partnering with Portland-area design firm 2Hemispheres, PGC set out to create a customer-friendly format that drives business in 28


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July 2020

Design Snapshot


Project: Renovated pro shop Size: 900 sq. ft. Renovation: Nov. 2019-March 2020 Master Plan/Architect: 2Hemispheres, Oregon City, Ore.; DECA Architecture, Portland, Ore. Interior Design: 2Hemispheres, DECA Architecture Lighting: Gotham Open LED Flooring: Armstrong Flooring Carpeting: Bentley Carpet Mills Paint: Miller Paint Display Fixtures (custom): 2Hemispheres

The cash wrap for the shop (left) was decreased by 50 percent, opening up the sales floor and also allowing more space to be created within the same footprint for an upgraded clubfitting area and performance studio (above).

an aesthetically pleasing format. The 900-sq. ft. pro shop mirrors the look and feel of the recently renovated clubhouse. “We took the coffered detail from the clubhouse and applied [it] in the pro shop,” says Dan Hones, 2Hemispheres’ Chief Creative Officer. White painted millwork is enhanced by a neutral green on the walls. “We also carried down the walnut finish from the clubhouse, which contrasted nicely with the white millwork,” Hones adds. Located in the lower southeast corner of the clubhouse, just off the putting green and first tee, PGC’s pro shop provides easy access for golfers on the move. The addition of a second entrance door to the shop on the east side (near the putting green and women’s locker room) now also affords greater traffic flow through the shop. The cash wrap was decreased in size by 50 percent, opening up the sales floor and giving shoppers more elbow room. An emphasis was also placed on having an open ceiling and bringing in more natural light, while also improving the organization and presentation of product categories (shoes, golf bags, hats, etc.) to eliminate any need for a “stack it high” merchandising approach. This design strategy led to a more purposeful use of merchandising fixtures, now comprised of a mix of wall units with customizable attachments. “We migrated away from the typical fixed-shelf, cabinetry style, and let the product be the hero,” Hones says. PGC, in fact, originally engaged 2Hemispheres through a busi-

Extra touches on hangers that promote Portland GC’s history complement the feeling of relaxed luxury now found in the shop.

ness assessment of its shop and merchandising strategy, which then led to the firm’s involvement with the renovation. Shop layout and display decisions were “backed into,” based on the needs identified by the evaluation for what percentage of space each category and vendor merited, based on the desired sales mix. The emphasis on maximizing space also benefits key product areas for the shop. One such spot is the zone for footwear, which was identified by the business assessment, along with headwear, as being an underpenetrated category in the store. “Previously, footwear did not have a home and was strewn throughout the shop—but now the space [for shoes] is focused,” Hones says. Each entry point to the shop is now marked by lead-in tables with risers and bust forms that can be used to highlight new collections. Two full mannequins also help to market assorted gift and accessory presentations. Special touches include stylish wooden hangers customized with “Est. 1914,” referencing the year Portland GC was founded. And eyewear is displayed through an elegant, slide-out, self-serve “jewelry case” positioned at the front and center of the sales counter. FIT AND FUNCTIONAL PCG’s pro shop now also includes a private office for the head golf pro, a changing room, and a small lounge area where shoppers can relax in vintage leather chairs while taking in a tournament on a high-definition monitor. An enlarged clubfitting studio, four times the size of the previous area designated for this service, provides ample room for golfers to perfect their swings, and the club also envisions using this area as a multifunction space. And while PGC had to postpone plans for the shop’s grand opening, which included contests in the fitting studio, guest speakers, entertainment and special merchandise discounts, the club’s staff is still excited about finding the right time for when its spruced-up space can be properly showcased. “When we can resume somewhat normal operations, we will certainly be celebrating the completion of the project in some form,” notes Lister. “And we’re looking forward to showing how [the shop] is now much more of another enjoyable member space, rather than just a golf shop.” C+RB July 2020


Club + Resort Business




CALM AND COLLECTED By Tom Birmingham, CEC, Director, Club + Resort Chef Association

THE YEAR 1913 SAW the official merging of two towns, Winston and Salem, in Forsyth County, N.C. It was also the year that a group of WinstonSalem sporting enthusiasts gathered to create a club and establish a facility outside the interior of the new city for the pursuit of golf and various recreational, social and dining activities. Forsyth Country Club (FCC) was officially founded on June 30, 1913. The club features an 18-hole golf course that reflects the work of two legendary designers. Shortly after it opened, A.W. Tillinghast upgraded the original 9-hole course with sand greens to create a “real” 9-hole course, on the property that now contains FCC’s current back 9. In 1920, Donald Ross was hired to give the club a true championship, 18-hole course. The golf course was renovated in 2018 and in 2019, FCC installed a new event lawn featuring electrical power, drainage, and land grading, to make hosting outdoor events more feasible. In addition to Forsyth’s active golf program, other popular programs among its 30


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962 member families (who account for a total of nearly 2,800 people) include tennis and paddleball, along with cycling and massage in the club’s state-of-theart Wellness & Fitness Center. Heading the club’s extensive culinary program—which encompasses The Pavilion restaurant and pool complex, The Forsyth Grill restaurant, The Forsyth Fieldhouse Café, eight banquet rooms, and a large ballroom with an outside terrace that overlooks the golf course from the main level of the clubhouse—is Blair Cannon, CEC, who became Executive Chef in 2019 after joining FCC as Executive Sous Chef in 2016. We appreciate Chef Blair taking the time to provide us with insights into his career and Forsyth Country Club’s impressive program, even while he and his staff were dealing with the immediate challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. C+RB Unfortunately, Chef, any conversation these days has to start with how the coronavirus outbreak has affected us. How has COVID-19 changed your operation the most so far, and

what do you expect to be its most lasting effects? CANNON Like all chefs during this pandemic, we have had to completely reinvent and evolve our operations based on the weekly changes and regulations issued by local and state governments. Being nimble and understanding of the need for spontaneous change, but also remaining calm, has been our staff’s main objective before anything else. I could not do my job successfully without the input, hard work and support of Chef De Cuisine Devin Brunelli, Executive Pastry Chef Jessica Shelton, Purchasing Manager Will Erickson, and everyone else on our team. Into the summer and hopefully into Phase 3 of our recovery effort, we are planning more outdoor special events and functions for smaller group gatherings. Really focusing on the themed member events and weddings is going to be key for revenue generation, because of how most companies have pulled back on expenditures. Switching the normal on buffets to expanded seasonal plated options is

Chef Profile

Blair Cannon, CEC Current Position: Executive Chef, Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem, N.C. (2019-Present) Previous Experience: > Executive Sous Chef, Forsyth CC (2016-2019) > Sous Chef, Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club (2012-2016) > Sous Chef, Best Impressions Caterers, Charlotte, N.C. (2010-2012) Education & Professional Achievements: > Bachelors Degree, Foodservice Management, Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, N.C. > Associates Degree, Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, N.C. > WSET Level II Wine Certification > Certified Executive Chef, American Culinary Federation > CMAA Chef of the Carolinas Competition Winner, 2016 & 2018 > Attended Club & Resort Business Chef to Chef Conference, 2015-2020 > Founder’s & Dean’s Award, 2009 & 2010, Johnson & Wales University

D going to continue to drive our banquet operations. Some of the “pros” for these kinds of plated events are reducing food waste, less potential error, and overall better platecost margins. Some of the “cons” are limitations with overlapping scheduled events, production and storage-space limitations, and labor cost increases for the hands needed to plate and serve the dinners. We’ve already seen an increase in wedding inquiries this fall and into winter, because of how the outbreak has caused reschedulings and affected venue availability in the area. Our event-planning team usually averages 10 weddings a year, but we’re already forecasting 15 to 20 for the year, with more inquiries coming in weekly. We are customizing the menus for these events on a case-by-case basis, while steering their choices with strategic suggestive selling and cross-utilization of products when applicable. We have found this to be more work on our side at the beginning, but better in the long run for the cost of goods and revenue generation. C+RB During Phase Two of your recovery

plan, your kitchen was being constructed, restaurants were opening again, sanitation

training classes were being conducted, staff was returning from furlough—and then you had to have surgery on your shoulder. What was the key to setting up your staff for success through all of that? CANNON These times are hard for everyone, but that was a sudden change for all of us. The original plan was for me to have surgery at the end of June, but I got a call in May to have it in ten days. This was a huge surprise and challenge that my team handled tremendously. We all met quickly to put our thinking caps together. The main focus was overcommunicating, setting the team up with SOPs, putting together the sanitation training manual, and getting everything in place before I left for quarantine before the surgery. We then assigned tasks and responsibilities for each FCC culinary team member to focus on daily, with checks and balances to fill in any gaps. It was essential that the three culinary managers discuss everything together as a team, and all would have to assist each other, even if it was out of their comfort zone. My main goal from this was to challenge and empower these managers. This was their show now, and I did not want to shadow or hover over them while I was away.

Learning from my past experiences with the Executive Chef going on vacation or maybe being sick, I knew that the next manager down would have to make important decisions they may have never encountered before. As the saying goes, it is truly “flight or fight”—but no matter the outcome, they would learn from those experiences. I cannot thank my chefs enough for all of their hard work and dedication to our FCC culinary team. Being confident in the team really allowed me to focus on healing and then getting back in the kitchen beside them again. That is why I wanted to feature and showcase their recipes on this article. They have been the true heroes during these hard times, and have really brought pride to our team and myself. C+RB You also had a capital project in motion for your banquet kitchen. What was the goal of the project, and how do you see it helping your facility going forward? CANNON We originally planned a $2 million capital renovation that would run from July into September this year. The original plan was to renovate all banquet rooms on the main level, build a wine room with member wine-storage areas, repair/replace the roof July 2020


Club + Resort Business l 31



For the recipe for Coriander-Seared Chilean Seabass from Devin Brunelli, Forsyth CC’s Chef de Cuisine, see the online version of this article at

with Macerated Strawberries and Ricotta Ice Cream INGREDIENTS FOR THE POUND CAKE:

1 lb. butter, diced and not too cold 6 cups sugar (flavor with lavender for 24 hours, then tamis) 2 tbsp. fresh lavender (optional) 12 eggs (room temp.) 4 tsp. vanilla extract 1 lemon (juice and zest) 18 ozs. cake flour 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. baking powder 16 ozs. cream


Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Slowly add eggs two at a time, scraping bowl often. Sift flour, salt and baking powder, then add half of it; then add in the cream and finish with remaining dry. Do not overmix. Divide between four buttered and floured loaf pans, sprinkle the top with sugar, and bake at 310˚ F for approximately 45-60 minutes. When cooled, cut end off of loaves and cut into large dice.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE RICOTTA ICE CREAM: 2 qts. cream 2 qts. milk 2 lbs. sugar 35 egg yolks 2 kg. Ricotta 1/4-cup rum 1 tbsp. salt 1 lemon finely zested and juiced


Bring cream, milk and half the sugar to a full boil. Temper in yolks and remaining sugar, passing through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in remaining ingredients and cool in water bath.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LAVENDER SYRUP: 4 cups sugar 3 cups water 2 vanilla beans (split) 1/4-cup lavender flowers


Reduce sugar, water and vanilla beans to syrup; add flowers and cool.

and HVAC system above the ballroom, repair the pavers/roof on the outside ballroom terrace that was leaking on the restaurant ceiling below, renovate and expand the employee locker rooms, expand storage areas on the main level, and renovate the main-level banquet kitchen. Due to the COVID pandemic, we really had to push the brakes on this project. Our Board of Directors and our Chief Operating Officer, Lee Smith, thoughtfully brought the idea to me in late April to start most of the kitchen renovation, repaint the ballroom, and repair the terrace floor. This could be executed while most of the staff was temporarily furloughed. We would have the space to work in one kitchen, with no events booked in that space, and more time to complete this project efficiently within a short window of four weeks, with weekend workdays factored into the schedule. Further advantages to completing this now is the ability to have all of the culinary/banquet staff back to work while this is being completed, being open during the July through September months for revenue generation, and then shortening the second potential phase of renovations in January of 2021. The total cost for the phase-one renovation is projected at around $225,000. This new kitchen would also allow us to capitalize now on “In the Kitchen” Chef’s Tables, expanded cooking classes, a safe work environment, and a refreshing new kitchen for team members to be excited about. The ballroom renovation will also create a bright and modern appeal while still keeping the traditional feel. Since the ballroom completion in mid-June, we have already seen a big impact in the reaction of potential banquet clients and member satisfaction overall. C+RB (Editor’s Note: For an extended conversation with Chef Cannon, where he discusses his career advancement, mentoring influences and personal philosophies and motivations; Forsyth CC’s involvement with the Piedmont Culinary Guild; and the club’s development of its own extensive garden project, plus beekeeping and a pickling and preserving program, see the online version of this article at

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MACERATED STRAWBERRIES: 2 cups, stemmed and cut into small quarters 3 tbsp. sugar


Toss and let macerate for a minimum of 20 minutes. SUBMITTED BY JESSICA SHELTON, PASTRY CHEF, FORSYTH CC, WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.



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July 2020

Tom Birmingham, CEC, is the Director of the Club + Resort Chef Association and has more than 20 years of experience as an Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager for several Chicago-area clubs. Know someone you’d like to have Tom interview for a future “Chef to Chef” conversation? Send your suggestions to

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All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Open to Foodservice Operators in the 50 US & DC, 18+ (19+ in AL/NE). While supplies last or 12/31/20. Subject to Terms:



GOLDEN AGE With a complete, $12 million renovation of its 18-hole course, Diablo (Calif.) Country Club has recreated its early-20th century design to secure a position of preeminence for years to come. By Betsy Gilliland, Contributing Editor

ALTHOUGH STEEPED IN HISTORY AND tethered to golf royalty, Diablo (Calif.) Country Club, the sister property to Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland, doesn’t dwell in the past. However, the property takes great pride in the distinguished heritage that has helped it lay the foundation for a promising future. Diablo, which celebrated its centennial in 2014, recently completed a $12 million renovation of its 18hole golf course to restore the layout to its Golden Age of golf design lineage. With the restoration project, the property, which held a reopening June 13-14, has positioned itself for the next 100 years as a preeminent golf experience in San Francisco’s East Bay region. “Our history and our connection to the game of golf mean a lot to our members,” says Director of Golf and Member Services Jason Walter, who has been at Diablo since 2009. “The renovation brings a sense of tradition and history to the club.” LEGENDARY CONNECTIONS The pedigree of Diablo reads like a Who’s Who in the annals of golf lore. In 1915, 23-year-old, two-time California Amateur champion Jack Neville created the original nine holes at Diablo as his first golf course design. For an encore, his second project was none other than Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Five years later, William Watson, one of California’s most successful and prolific Golden Age golf course 34


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architects, created the second nine at Diablo, crafting most of Neville’s original holes into a new 18-hole course. Watson’s next two designs were at The Olympic Club and Harding Park, both in nearby San Francisco. By the end of the 2020 season, 12 major championships will have been decided on courses originally designed by those two legendary architects, including this year’s PGA Championship at Harding Park. “Not only was our golf course designed by two icons, it’s the only collaboration between those two icons in the world,” says Frank Cordeiro, Diablo’s Chief Executive Officer. Other key figures in golf history populate Diablo’s venerable past as well. Originally from Carnoustie, Scotland, John Smith, greenskeeper, and his wife, Joann, moved to Diablo in 1914. The land, which had been developed in 1872 by railroad barons, was converted into a recreational sanctuary for their families. Smith built the golf course on the property and also became its greenskeeper. The Smiths had five sons, all of whom played professional golf. Two of their sons were U.S. Open champions, two were inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame, and three of the boys served as Diablo club pros. Diablo and Carnoustie even share a historian in David Mackesey. He documented Diablo’s past for its centennial celebration and provided historical context for the renovation project, including aerial photographs from the 1920s of the original routing of the golf course.

Photos Courtesy Diablo CC


May 2020


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Golf Scorecard

DIABLO COUNTRY CLUB Location: Diablo, Calif. Club Website: Golf Holes: 18 Course Designers: Jack Neville, William Watson, Todd Eckenrode Property Type: Private No. of Members: 750 Year Opened: 1914 Golf Season: Year-round Annual Rounds of Golf: 23,000 Fairways: Santa Ana Bermudagrass Greens: Pure Distinction Bentgrass

The golf course renovation was part of a three-phased, $31 million strategic and master plan, which Cordeiro implemented shortly after his 2015 arrival at Diablo to identify projects that would enhance the property’s future growth. The second and third phases of the plan will include construction of a Family Wellness and Activity Center and renovations to the clubhouse. STAYING THE COURSE Diablo had four goals for the golf course renovation project: create a more enjoyable playing experience for golfers of all levels; recapture the historical attributes of the Golden Age of golf; reduce water usage and the demand for water, and update the golf course infrastructure and gain the ability to use recycled water. The property engaged golf course architect Todd Eckenrode to craft the updated 36


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design. “It’s a wonderful historic club. We were thrilled to be commissioned for the master plan,” says Eckenrode, who does 90 percent of his work on Golden Age golf courses. “From the Board level to the management team, everyone was incredibly supportive and instrumental in the project turning out as well as it did.” One of the people with whom Eckenrode worked most closely was Golf Course Superintendent Ryan Nicholson, who immediately became immersed in the project when he joined the Diablo staff in 2018. Working hand-in-hand with the architect and the contractor, Nicholson was involved in the planning, concept, design, implementation, construction and grow-in of the golf course. “I wore a lot of different hats during the project,” he says. “I went from a golf course superintendent to a project manager-type role.” Nicholson put together budgeting for the project, ordered materials in-house, and made sure everything was on hand when needed. He also served as a liaison between the architect, the contractor, and the property.

RETURN TO THE ROOTS A key aspect of the renovation was to maintain the original routing of the golf course, so that Diablo’s members can play the layout the way it was intended to be played more than a century ago. “Sometimes properties change the routing of their golf courses when they follow trends or bow to real-estate issues,” Cordeiro says. “Maintaining the original routing was really important to us.” Through the years, however, the golf course had lost some of the attributes that made it special, such as the original footprints of the greens and fairways, and the original bunkering configurations. In addition, Nicholson notes, “The network of dry creekways had been smoothed over and piped underground.” The renovation began in April 2019 and was finished October 1st with the regrassing of the course. The entire golf course, which previously had a mix of poa annua, ryegrass, common Bermudagrass, and some bentgrass, was resurfaced with new grasses—bentgrass on the greens and surrounds and Bermudagrass on the rest of the layout.“Every square inch of dirt was touched,” says Cordeiro. The putting surfaces were reconstructed to their original dimensions, enlarged by about 30 percent to restore lost pin placements. They also were rebuilt to USGA specifications, to improve their playability and their overall health in the root zones. Santa Ana Bermudagrass was installed in the fairways, Bandera Bermudagrass was planted in the rough, and hybrid Bermuda went everywhere else. The blue-green

Sometimes properties change the routing of their golf courses when they follow trends or bow to real-estate issues. Maintaining the original routing was really important to us. Not only was our golf course designed by two icons [Jack Neville and William Watson], it’s the only collaboration between those two icons in the world.

— Frank Cordeiro, Chief Executive Officer

Superintendent Profile

RYAN NICHOLSON Santa Ana is known for its drought tolerance, short dormancy period, fall color retention, and early spring green-up. Able to withstand high traffic and to repair itself quickly, the disease-resistant Bandera Bermudagrass is drought-, shade-, and coldtolerant. All of the bunkers were rebuilt as well. Many are in the same location, but selected ones have been removed. Others were restored to their original location to bring historical character to the new design. In addition, proper drainage, along with a polymer liner and new sand, was installed in the bunkers to extend their life and to improve conditions and playability. “We patterned the bunkers so there’s an avenue to the greens that is opened up now in areas that used to be bunkered,” Eckenrode says. REDUCING THE NEED FOR RAIN To reduce water usage and demand, maintained turf was reduced by 35 acres primarily in out-of-play areas. Drought-tolerant fescue and native California grasses, whose texture and color provide an appealing contrast to the manicured turf, were planted on 23 acres of open expanses on the golf course perimeter. The remaining portion of the 35 acres was covered with mulch under trees or along property lines. Over time, more droughttolerant or native plants will be planted to further enhance golf course aesthetics and to provide select screening. “Once they’re established, they will no longer require irrigation,” Cordeiro says of the naturalized areas. In another effort to conserve water, the property installed a $3.4 million, stateof-the-art, dual irrigation system that is expected to create annual water savings of about 30 percent. Features of the new system include greater efficiency, a dual system for potable and effluent water, and three to four times more heads than the previous 30-year-old system, which was past its useful life. “Now we can put water only where we need it, when we need it,” says Cordeiro. In addition, Nicholson says, the new

Title: Golf Course Superintendent Education and Training: Penn State University Years at Diablo Country Club: 2 Years in Golf Course Maintenance Profession: 13 Previous Employment: > Silverado Resort and Country Club, Napa, Calif. > Colorado Golf Club, Parker, Colo. > Roaring Fork Club, Basalt, Colo. > Valley Club of Montecito (Calif.) > Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club Duties and Responsibilities: Responsible for the daily conditioning of Diablo Country Club, along with the long-term capital and organizational planning for the Golf Course Maintenance Department. Areas of responsibility involve the golf course itself, as well as the clubhouse grounds and various other facilities around the Diablo CC campus. A commitment to furthering the education and professional development of the management team and staff is at the core of the operation. Nicholson also assumed a project-management role during the course renovation, coordinating contractors/consultants, suppliers, course construction and the subsequent grow-in.

irrigation system has provided aesthetic and functional advantages, by eliminating unsightly satellite control boxes from the golf course. MULTIPLE BENEFITS With the renovation project, the Diablo golf course has reaped benefits from the standpoints of sustainability, maintenance and playability. The current membership continues to uphold the environmental stewardship values that were established by Diablo’s founders, says Cordeiro. “They want to leave it better than they found it,” he adds. And the forward-looking membership certainly has an eye on the future. To continue its sustainability efforts, Diablo has plans to construct a satellite water-treatment plant on site. The facility would allow the property to divert effluent water from the community to the treatment plant, and then use the water for irrigation purposes. With the dual irrigation system, Diablo would be able to maintain surfaces with reclaimed water and still have the option to use potable water. Another sustainable aspect of the project includes the restoration of the natural creekways on the golf course which, along with the increased naturalized areas, create wildlife habitat.

These environmentally friendly features have spilled over into golf course maintenance practices as well. In addition to the expected water savings, pesticide usage has been reduced significantly because of the new grasses as well. The bright green Pure Distinction bentgrass on the putting surfaces and the Pure Select bentgrass on the surrounds provide density; upright, aggressive growth; less thatch; resistance to disease, heat and cold; and easy maintenance. The Pure Select also can be mowed at a higher height. “Drier, firmer turf is more conducive to good golf,” says Nicholson. “All of the things that make a classic course come to life will bring out the golf course architecture. Maintenance has to go hand-in-hand with the architecture of the golf course. To get better angles to the greens, the course needs conditions that emphasize the architecture.” With the updated irrigation infrastructure, the maintenance staff can also irrigate the Bermudagrass and native grasses with one system, and the greens and low-mow areas with the secondary system. Although grounds crew members water less on all surfaces now, they spend more time mowing, because the size of the fairways grew by about 45 percent. However, Nicholson says, “We’re spending a lot less time just trying to keep grass July 2020


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COURSE + GROUNDS alive. The renovation is allowing us to focus on the things that are most important to golf. Our maintenance practices have become much more focused on conditions and playability.” And, so far, the feedback about the golf course’s conditioning has been positive. “We have a uniform, consistent stand of grass, which makes for better aesthetics and playability,” says Cordeiro. “We wanted to make the golf course more interesting for proficient golfers and more playable for recreational golfers. People are enjoying the golf course and learning to play it differently. It will change during the seasons.” WIDENING THE VIEW With the renovation, most of the holes now have fewer, but larger, overall tees that offer more variety in setup and more resistance to wear and tear. Chipping areas have been added to select spots adjacent to the greens, and many of them flow into the next green to provide a seamless walking path. These areas also create multiple short-game options, including putting, bump and runs, pitches, and flop shots. The expanded fairways reflect Eckenrode’s design philosophy, notes Nicholson. “A lot of courses tend to get narrower as the years go by,” the superintendent continues. “Older golf courses had wider fairways to navigate the greens complexes and create more advantageous angles to the greens. You’re aiming at the sides of the fairways now, instead of right down the middle.” Just as intended, the renovations have made the golf course more equitable for players of different skill levels. Players with higher handicaps and slower swing speeds no longer are punished by tight corridors. At the same time, Nicholson says, “The nuances around the greens complexes are more challenging for experts.” Walter has found that the project—the

Course + Grounds Operations Profile

DIABLO COUNTRY CLUB Annual Course Maintenance Budget: $2.54 million Staff: 25 full-time staff members, including superintendent and assistants Other Managers: Roger Smidstra, Assistant Superintendent; Kellen Whaley, Assistant Superintendent Irrigation System: Rainbird IC System, 3,000-plus stations Water Source and Usage: Potable water source Equipment: John Deere mower fleet, leased; Toro/Yamaha utility vehicles, leased Technology: ASB Task Tracking software Maintenance Facility: One building consisting of break room, equipment repair bay, and offices. Another building is purposed for equipment storage. Aerating and Overseeding Schedules: Aeration currently scheduled twice per season on bentgrass greens and green surrounds in May and July, but conducted on an “as needed” basis. Supplemental verticutting/brushing and topdressing is the core of the maintenance plan and implemented throughout the season to achieve OM Dilution. Bermudagrass surfaces are primarily managed through verticutting and solid-tine aeration up to four times per season, in conjunction with 50 tons/acre of topdressing. Upcoming Capital Projects: Wastewater treatment facility, to generate recycled water for the golf course.

first renovation in the property’s history— has completely changed the golf course. “The fescue is not in play in all of the areas where we had trees and normal turf,” he says. “It has changed the appearance, definition, and shots around the golf course. The course is playable not only for our ladies, seniors, and juniors. We believe we have a really good member golf course that is playable every day and is fun to play every day.” Nicholson agrees. “Golfers can think their way through the golf course with more varieties of strategies and shots,” he reports. “The course has improved rollout on the fairways, and it has better movement of the ball around the greens.”

Our history and our connection to the game of golf mean a lot to our members. The course renovation brings a sense of tradition and history to the club.

— Jason Walter, Director of Golf and Member Services 38


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A FIRST TASTE Diablo’s members got their initial look at the renovated golf course on February 28th when a soft opening of Nos. 5 through 15, the first set of holes to be renovated, was held. However, the property closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, before reopening in May. The June 13–14 event was a coronavirusmodified, members-only affair that was spread out across two days to meet socialdistancing guidelines. Foursomes were allowed to play together, but golf cars were limited to a single rider unless they were occupied by more than one member of the same family. Golf cars were also restricted to cart paths, because the grass was still in its infancy. The club set up food-and-beverage stations at various places on the course, and Diablo personnel hope to have a proper grand opening at a later date, when large gatherings are once again permitted. C+RB

Is Your Club

A Top


More than ever, great ideas are needed on an everyday basis for club and resort properties, to stay relevant in today’s vastly changed operating environment and to provide new levels of value and satisfaction for members and guests.

In its December 2020 issue, Club + Resort Business will once again honor Top Innovators through its 2nd Annual Awards that will recognize leading-edge performance in club and resort operations and management, including:

• Board of Directors Relations

• Youth Programs

• Clubhouse Design

• Other Recreation Programs (Archery, Equestrian, Outdoor Activities, Shooting, etc.)

• Course and Grounds Maintenance • Food-and-Beverage Programs, including Development of Signature Beverages, Dishes and Venues

• Outdoor Dining and Patio Design • Pool Operations and Aquatic Programs

• Fitness Operations and Programs

• Pro Shop Retailing

• Golf Operations and Programs

• Social Media

• Kitchen Design and Operations

• Special Events

• Locker Room Operations

• Staff Motivation and Training

• Maintenance Facilities

• Technology

• Member Marketing and Communications

• Tennis Operations and Programs • Websites

To have us see why your club and management team should be viewed as a Top Innovator, go to and complete the online form. Or send an e-mail to to have us contact you for details.

Then watch to see if your club makes the list of C+RBʼs Top Innovators this year!



Outside After the coronavirus pandemic hit, golf was considered “essential” in many states, and was either never stopped or welcomed back quickly. And at properties where other outdoor activities are also popular, it wasn’t alone. By Rob Thomas, Senior Editor


> In addition to golf, activities such as hiking, biking and tennis have seen a boost in popularity as club members seek a variety of options for getting outside.

> Because of restrictions on indoor group activities, clubs have moved fitness classes outdoors to take advantage of fresh air and spacing.

> While post-pandemic plans vary from property to property, it’s widely believed that the increased emphasis on cleaning and sanitation will become the new normal.

Photo Courtesy Desert Mountain Club

WHEN THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HIT, clubs across the country were forced to shift operations on the fly. Fortunately for many properties, outdoor activities were either uninterrupted or permitted to return prior to their indoor counterparts. Anthony Stewart, Director of Tennis at The Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg, S.C., says his members have seemed to be OK with social-distancing changes made at the club, and he actually views the global pandemic as a way to bring more people to his sport. “There are a lot more people that could be recruited into tennis than previously expected,” Stewart says. “I’ve had

a lot more people that did not play before, but because they couldn’t do anything else, they came out and played tennis.” Stewart believes the industry can still do more, however, to find ways to make tennis fun for the masses. “I have played tennis all my life and enjoy the competition part, plus the social part,” he says. “Too many times pros and organizers, including myself, push players into leagues and tournaments, and not everyone wants that. I think we have lost a lot of players because they think that is what they have to do. To bring the younger players—20 to 40—into the sport, we need to make it more fun.”

Valley Lo Club in Glenview, Ill. draws on decades of camp experience, but experts warn not to start a program hastily.

Photo Courtesy Valley Lo Club

A SAFE PLACE FOR KIDS While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to reconsider how they’ll conduct business going forward, KE Camps, which operates summer camps for kids at private clubs across the country, has seen an increase in demand. “We have had many clubs reach out to us [during the pandemic] in areas where their members’ children typically attend sleep-away camps,” says Dan Schmitz, KE Camps. “Since most major camps in the Northeast have been cancelled, clubs are doing their best to provide something to do for those kids. “While it is easier to operate a controlled camp at a club,” Schmitz adds, “I would urge clubs to be very careful—especially in the Northeast— as they will need to operate with a camp license and may not be able to procure one so late in the game.” While there are ways around getting licensed, clubs should research the requirements in their particular state and locality to make sure they are adhering to licensing regulations, Schmitz suggests. As for the changes that KE Camps has implemented in its programming based on newly heightened safety concerns, Schmitz points to educating his staff first. “Every year we publish a new program book for our camp directors,” he says. “This year we added an addendum of ‘socially distant’ programming that we can safely run. “There will also be changes to how we operate at the pool and for tennis, golf and group games,” he adds. “It’s impossible to believe that young children will be able to properly socially distance themselves, but we are doing everything we can to mitigate risk.” For clubs still considering a last-minute camp to accommodate their youngest members (and their parents) who may have found themselves without something structured for the summer, Schmitz advises avoiding it unless a team can be fully committed to a camp project. “It’s late in the game and throwing a camp together sounds easy and fun,” he says. “But In reality, it’s incredibly hard and time-consuming to do it the right way—especially this summer, when most clubs are at limited capacity with pools and indoor dining. “Don’t let one or two of the ‘louder’ members push you into doing something that has a chance to be less than an awesome product,” Schmitz warns.



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PROPERTIES WITHOUT BORDERS The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. boasts an unbelievable amount of outdoor activities—everything from fly fishing, hiking and mountain biking to a gun club, golf, tennis, off-road driving and falconry. And that’s just a small sample. Cam Huffman, The Greenbrier’s Director of Public Relations and Content, says the resort has been able to operate almost all of its activities following a two-month shutdown and reopening in May. “There have been some modifications for safety, such as the number of people allowed in a group and extra cleaning procedures, but the changes haven’t been too restrictive,” Huffman says. “For the most part, our guests have been very understanding. I think most people have a desire to get back to something at least somewhat normal, and they are willing to follow the proper procedures to be able to do so.” Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. is also flush with outdoor activities for its members—seven golf courses, tennis (on three different surfaces), pickleball, swimming, bocce, horseback riding and 2,000 acres of hiking. But it also still found ways to expand its offerings when the virus hit. Beyond the social-distancing guidelines for the club’s golf courses—single-rider

There are a lot more people that could be recruited into tennis than previously expected. I’ve had a lot more people that did not play before, but because they couldn’t do anything else, they came out and played tennis.

—Anthony Stewart, Director of Tennis, The Carolina Country Club

—Douglas Anderson, GM/COO, Turtle Creek Club

carts, no-touch flagsticks, no rakes in bunkers and dozens of daily sanitation protocols—Desert Mountain brought the indoors outside and kept members active on property and in their own homes, reports CEO Damon DiOrio, CCM, CCE. “We took some of our activities outdoors and utilized our grass tennis courts and lawn areas to conduct fitness classes,” DiOrio says. Desert Mountain members have been “very gracious, supportive and understanding of the guidelines and changes” the club has been forced to implement, he adds. “As with any major lifestyle modification, this has not been easy, but we are all working hard together to make the best of it, and are keenly focused on protecting our safe, positive and healthy culture,” DiOrio says. “Our Board has been incredibly supportive, and my team

Photo Courtesy The Greenbrier

Factors included ‘snowbirds’ staying in town longer, people locked down except to golf, boredom, and [the need for] outdoor exercise—it all led to a very busy golf course.

The Greenbrier resort has been able to operate almost all of its wide-ranging activities—which include fly fishing, off-road driving, a gun club and falconry, in addition to golf and tennis—since reopening after a two-month shutdown.

deserves all the credit. Their willingness to go the extra mile to make our members comfortable, and to be a consistent, fully engaged and calming force, has really been gratifying.” In addition to taking the club’s sanitization programs “to the next level in all operational areas”—which DiOrio says will remain in place for the long term—Desert Mountain will continue virtual real-estate tours and an expansion of Desert Mountain TV, the club’s own YouTube channel. “Pro Tips” from instructors throughout the club’s amenities have been popular and are also “here to stay,” DiOrio adds.

February 2020


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ert Photos Courtesy Des

Desert Mountain Club members have flocked to the property’s already-popular hiking trails, reports CEO Damon DiOrio, since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Mountain Club

BUSINESS PRETTY MUCH AS USUAL Turtle Creek Club in Tequesta, Fla. quickly adhered to CDC recommendations and state/ county mandates, and actually saw an increase in golf rounds played, reports Douglas W. Anderson, CCM/CAM, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer. “We are in Martin County and golf was considered an ‘essential’ activity,’” Anderson says. “So we never shut down. We are on the border of Palm Beach County, so while our neighbors a half-mile away were dark for 30 days, we remained open for members to get outside for fresh air and exercise.” Turtle Creek adjusted its operation as the pandemic worsened and more restrictions were implemented, Anderson says, and staff and members were continually reeducated on proper



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July 2020

guidelines. But even with walking-only play imposed during April, Turtle Creek was still doing 120 rounds per day. “Factors included ‘snowbirds’ staying in town longer, people locked down except to golf, boredom, and [the need for] outdoor exercise—it all led to a very busy golf course,” Anderson says. “Adjustments, modifications to COVID rules and communicating with members and staff regularly helped get our members on the course.” In May, Turtle Creek instituted single carts only, along with walking, and began doing 180 rounds per day. Through it all, members responded favorably, Anderson says. “Overall, the membership was very appreciative that we were able to continue to stay open for golf, while also making it possible for them to get groceries [toilet paper and sanitizer were big hits], and to get lunch or dinner,” he says. “Again, we never closed—we just made some modifications.” C+RB



Charles Demske has spent 25 of his 30 years as an active contributor to Hilly Haven GC, his family’s business where he is now Superintendent and co-owner. In addition to a spectacular setting for golf, the property offers a wide range of year-round outdoor attractions, including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, hiking and photography, with fat-tire biking soon to come. By Jeff Bollig, Contributing Editor

WHEN YOU SET FOOT ON the property of Hilly Haven Golf Course in De Pere, Wis., you can instantly tell there’s a family feel to the business. Originally a family dairy farm owned by Norman and Hazel Demske, the course was then developed by that couple, along with their three children. And now the next generation of Demskes is involved in running the award-winning facility. With the goal of providing customers more value than they pay for, Hilly Haven GC offers something for everyone, every day of the year. From golf to Friday Fish Fries, crosscountry skiing, winter hiking, snowshoeing, weddings and celebrations, and more, Hilly Haven is the centerpiece of the community. “We want people to have fun,” says Golf Course Superintendent and co-owner Charles Demske. “If there is

thing that people can do to have fun on our golf course, then we’re probably going to do it.” In the past two years, Demske and his team have added golf simulators and put the finishing touches on a short course/ practice facility, and they’re now preparing to add fat-tire biking. They’ll even let you bring your dog out to the course to run around during the winter—as long as it doesn’t play through. For Charles Demske, the course has truly been his life. At a very young age (five), he was putting his mark on it, doing odds and ends to help out. And except for a brief stint working on another farm during high school, it is the only place he has ever worked. Imagine being 30 years old—and 25 of those have been spent on the grounds of the same golf course property. But then again, as Demske tells us in this conversation, when it is in your blood, it is more than a job. July 2020


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C+RB Tell us about your relationship with Hilly Haven Golf Course. DEMSKE We’re a family-owned business and I’ve essentially been at Hilly Haven my whole life. I grew up right on the golf course and basically started when my grandma was still helping out around here. My grandfather had already passed away. I must’ve been about five or six. She said, “Here’s a hammer. Go out to the porch and pound the nails. They’re all sticking up and somebody’s going to trip on them.” So I guess it’s been about 25 years now. I’m 30 years old, so my whole life has been here. My grandparents had three kids and they had a very progressive farming operation. My grandfather was a conservationist at the forefront of sod waterways, and he did reforesting of pastureland. In fact, that pastureland would later become a ski hill. The three kids, Dale (my father), Ron and Karen, all grew up on the farm and then went their separate ways. The boys went into the Navy, but came back. My dad became the Superintendent and later retired. My uncle Ron had another business, but was involved in the construction here and helped to run things. Karen was a teacher, then came back to help, too. She has since passed away. Ron and I are now co-owners. His daughter and my cousin, Kristin Stelzer, is the General Manager. So it is quite a family affair. C+RB Were you destined to become the

golf course superintendent? DEMSKE I think so. I always enjoyed being

out on the course. The plan probably got sped up a bit because my dad had a stroke, so when I was 19 I went away to Rutgers to enroll in its short course. I graduated in 2010 and then came back and have been here ever since. The good thing for me is that I could apply everything I was learning to our golf course at the time. The other people in the program had no clue where they were going to be. I knew everything about our course, so as I was learning I was thinking about how it applied to Hilly Haven. I lived on the course when I was young, and today I live right across the street from the maintenance facility. C+RB How was the golf course created? DEMSKE This is an interesting story—and

a bit of a long one. My grandfather bought the land in 1938 and farmed it until the 1960s. He and my grandmother started to age a bit and they were having some health issues, so they began to look for something else to do with the land that would be considered an up-and-coming business. In 1964, they opened a portion of the land for downhill skiing. Then in 1968 they decided to get into golf. They began to lay out where the greens would be and went

from there. My grandfather actually helped to design the golf course, and there was a local guy, Bob Ahsay, who provided some professional help with the design. My father Dale added some design ideas as well. It opened in 1970, so for quite some time we had downhill skiing and golf. C+RB Where did Hilly Haven come from? DEMSKE Back in the days when the golf

course didn’t exist and there wasn’t a ski hill, there was some consideration given to making it into a campground. One of the neighboring farmers was a cousin to my grandpa and had a farm named Hill and Gully Farm. We were considering calling it that, but church groups that came out to see the waterfalls and my family felt the land was such a haven. That stuck, so it became Hilly Haven. It made sense because we had downhill skiing. We just kept it for the golf course. C+RB Descriptions say your land is along the Niagara Escarpment. What is that? DEMSKE Picture the structure of Niagara Falls. We have similar features here, with bluffs 200 feet high in the area. It’s a rolling hillside formed by glaciers that moved through and carved out the bluffs about

Super in the Spotlight

CHARLES DEMSKE Current Position: Golf Course Superintendent and Co-Owner, Hilly Haven Golf Course, De Pere, Wis. Years at Hilly Haven GC: 25 (Grew up on the course as it was a family-owned business. Began doing odds and end at 5 years old.) Years in Golf Course Maintenance Business: 25 Previous Experience: Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Hilly Haven GC Education & Training: Fox Valley Technical School (Agribusiness); Rutgers University, Turfgrass Certificate, 2010. Honors and Awards: Best of the Bay Award, 2019 and 2020 (also runner-up five times in public voting for best public golf course in Northeast Wisconsin).



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July 2020

four hundred million years ago—when Wisconsin was a tropical zone, actually. A layering of algae created limestone, and so we have limestone waterfalls that are one of the features of the Niagara escarpment. It creates an interesting landscape here for us, because there are not drastically huge hills, but there is a rolling terrain. People love driving through these hills and it’s a really nice setting. It just creates a relaxing experience for people, and we’re nestled in the edge of that. C+RB Why expand to 18 holes of golf? DEMSKE I guess it was about 1980 and we

had some years where we started to naturally run out of snow and business slowed down. Plus, insurance premiums got crazy and they figured it was time to move on to something different. We closed downhill skiing, but made some cross-county runs that are still in operation today. Then in the early 1990s, we began buying some adjacent land with the thought of opening up a back nine, and we opened it in 1997.

Golf Course Profile

Hilly Haven Golf Course Website: Ownership: Family-owned Golf Course Type: Parkland with wooded areas Golf Course Designer: Norman Demske (grandfather) and Robert Ahsay, 1968; Back Nine, 1994. Land was originally a dairy farm and then a ski area. Year Opened: 1970 (9 holes); Back Nine (1997) No. of Holes: 18 Par: 72 Yardage: Longest (Blue), 6,600 yards; shortest (Red), 4,800 yards Golf Season: Primarily early April

through October; golf simulators year-round. Annual Rounds: 35,000 Grasses: Fairways & Tees - bluegrass; Roughs - mixture of bluegrass, bentgrass and fescues Greens - Pencross/poa Water Features: Natural creek (Sand Creek) runs through property and becomes a waterfall near clubhouse; 10 other features, with two used for irrigation. Larger pond is three acres and one is just under one acre. All other features collect runoff and all come into play. Bunkers: 25 (with 1 waste bunker)

C+RB Who’s your clientele? DEMSKE We get people from all over

Northeast Wisconsin. During the week it’s mostly local, from the region between Appleton and Green Bay, but we’ll get people on the weekends from as far as 100 miles away. Golf is very competitive in Wisconsin, with a lot of courses. I always say we give more value then they pay for. We have a fun setup. The course is very tidy and the conditions are very consistent. You can find your ball off the fairway. We are not aiming for a U.S. Open setup. We want them to have a fun time and come back. The course is walkable. We’ve became a cart society, but you can walk it with no problem. There’s a great junior league and we do clinics for the juniors. We have women’s and men’s leagues, and have outside fundraisers for charitable events. C+RB When is the golf season? DEMSKE We are dependent upon the

weather. You just never know in Wisconsin. We are generally open in early April and go through October. By that time there isn’t

enough sunlight to play after work and the weather can get cold, so we generally shut down. But there are some times during the day when we get play into November and early December. This year, we actually could have opened in mid-March, but couldn’t due to the pandemic. But Wisconsin people love to golf, so they will get out early on the driving range. We’ll have people hitting on the range and cross-country skiing at the same time. I’ve also seen it where people are skiing one day and two days later the course is clear and they are playing golf. C+RB Do you have water features? DEMSKE We have a lot of them. There’s a

natural creek that runs through the property. It’s not always heavily flowing, but it does turn into a waterfall at the tail end of our property near the clubhouse. It runs along hole number nine, where it turns into a waterfall right along our signature hole number eight. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful setting where there’s a covered bridge over

the top of the waterfalls. There are about 10 water features, and they all come into play. C+RB Tell us more about No. 8. DEMSKE There was a piece of the property

we gained, but had not used, when we added the back nine. We thought that it could be utilized for the front nine. There were a lot of trees, so we bought a mini-excavator and dug out the stumps. We manipulated the hill and used the limestone to build the tee box. It’s very picturesque. C+RB What about your short course that’s in the works – how did that come about? DEMSKE We bought a 27-acre chunk of land adjacent to us to help with erosion and runoff. We built a dike system to curtail runoff and flooding, but thought it would also be perfect for a driving range, so we built that. We had some extra sod, so we created a chipping green with a bunker. We were left with about three or four acres from a hayfield. When it got cut, it looked like it would make a perfect hole.

July 2020


Club + Resort Business



SUPER IN THE SPOTLIGHT Then we started to see more. So we built six holes, beginning at 40 yards and going up in 10-yard increments. We have seeded all the greens and think it will be fun. There’s a lot of excitement for it. It will be a great place to teach the youth. C+RB What other course improvements are planned? DEMSKE Ever since the course was built, we have been continually improving it, always tinkering with something. We might have to slow down occasionally, but the focus is to make it better for the customer. We do like to make sure people have fun. So if we think people will like it, we’ll jump in and do it. Some of the big things we plan on doing are making more rooms for tees. We have a very far-forward tee that is basically a stake in the ground. We are looking to improve those and other teeing areas. We also have a diesel pump for our irrigation that we would like to improve down the road. C+RB Why install the six golf simulators? DEMSKE We used to be a year-round oper-

ation with the skiing, but since the downhill closed down we wanted to do something to keep business flowing. We were essentially shutting down in the winter. We had good people working at the course and we

Once the golf season ends and snow comes to the property, Hilly Haven uses a Snowcat to groom cross-country skiing trails, and also offers snowshoeing.

wanted to be able to keep them here. So we began researching the simulators. It took us three to four years to find what we really liked and what our clients would like. We were traveling all over, looking for just the right ones. We finally found new HD simulators. We’re very happy because they weren’t just an animated simulator, they have an actual picture that is used to produce the picture on the screen. The technology was very good for the simulators. They have been extremely well-received; we get traffic from the whole surrounding area. Actually, people as far as Milwaukee, which is a two-hour drive, come up to use them. We added to the clubhouse to make room for them. They’ve also been very popular for corporate events, birthday parties, and retirement parties—you name it. It was only our second year this past year, and the pandemic hurt because we had to close down.

Course + Grounds Operations Profile Staff Size: 10 (in season, with two full-time); in the winter, two additional grounds crew members stay on part-time. Water Source and Usage: Irrigate from ponds and supplement with well water Aerating and Overseeding Schedules: No regular overseeding. Aerating is weather-dependent. Every year, an effort is made to solid-tine fairways, tees, aprons and greens. The greens are cored in the fall. Upcoming Capital Projects: Continually seek to improve the golf course. Currently working on short-course area that will open in late 2020 or early 2021.



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July 2020

C+RB Tell us about the skiing. DEMSKE The cross-country runs are a bit

of a blend. Some of them are on the course and some are on the open areas, and then some intertwine through the woods. The course and the surrounding land is about 200 acres. We have a groomer that is an old Snowcat that works great to form the runs. About 10 years ago we added snowshoeing and that picked up our business. It’s popular here in Wisconsin. We also allow people to bring out their dogs as well, and that seems to attract people. Skiing is not a big money-making business. Our goal is to recoup the expenses for operation, or perhaps make a little money. But since we’ve added the golf simulators, more people are coming out to ski, hit the simulators, and then they eat something while they’re here. So we are seeing an increase in revenues there. C+RB What other changes are planned? DEMSKE This winter we’re going to create

paths for fat-tire biking. It has become very popular in the region. We had a very popular yoga class in the summer that we’ve put on hold during the pandemic. Our waterfalls, bridges and great landscaping make for some good photography opportunities. We allow people to hike in the winter, and would like to expand this to year-round. We have some small weddings here, too. Nothing too large, because our clubhouse does not allow big groups. The golf team from Wrightstown High School also practices here. We’re all alumni, so we love having them here. And we’ve added some corporate outings and competitions set up on the simulators. C+RB


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IDEAEXCHANGE SIGNING UP FOR SAFETY By Betsy Gilliland, Contributing Editor

PEOPLE CAN PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING on the golf course, but errant golf balls have little regard for Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Just ask the golfers at the 27-hole Rossmoor Walnut Creek (Calif.) property, which features the nine-hole Creekside Course and the 18-hole Dollar Ranch Course. About 18 months ago (long before social distancing was a thing), a player took a glancing blow to the head from a golf ball on the third hole of the Dollar Ranch Course. The incident was frightening enough to call 911, but logistics delayed the arrival time of the responding medical personnel. “There was no crossing street, and the emergency vehicle ended up on the wrong side of the valley,” says Director of Golf Mark Heptig. “The person was fine later, but it woke us up to the fact that something serious could happen.” In addition to errant golf balls, courses need to be aware, and ready to respond, should golfers fall or suffer from heat stroke, dehydration, reactions to medications, or even a heart attack. “We all know that in those situations, seconds and minutes mean everything,” says Heptig. “We haven’t had a lot of those situations, but we are in a retirement community.” Even if only a few incidents occur in a year, he adds, EMTs need to be able to reach anyone who has suffered a medical emergency quickly.

So about a year ago, Rossmoor put up makeshift signs to mark access points to the golf courses, to see if a wayfinding system would work. In February, the property erected permanent signs at 10 locations for emergency vehicles to access the golf courses. Two signs were posted on Creekside, seven on Dollar Ranch, and one between the two courses. Rossmoor got approval from the Board of Directors to post the signage, and property personnel also coordinated efforts with emergency responders. “We invited them here and showed them what we were doing,” says Heptig. “They were receptive because they’d had trouble before.” Emergency responders know the streets in the community, which has only one gated entry for more than 6,500 residential units, Heptig says, but they are not as familiar with the golf courses. The park-like courses are two miles long from end to end. In addition, a creek runs through the middle of the tree-lined layouts, making the terrain difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate in some places. The yellow, diamond-shaped wayfinding signs (see photo above) include a number and the words “EMT Access,” and are posted on poles along the streets at cart paths, or at small entrance roads to the courses. Now, if Rossmoor staff members need to report an emergency on one of the courses, they can tell the dispatcher which entrance

When you’re in an emergency, you don’t always think straight. It helps to have emergency information right in front of you. — Mark Heptig, Director of Golf



Club + Resort Business


July 2020

Rossmoor Walnut Creek’s wayfinding signage (left) now helps emergency responders navigate the golf courses in the community of 6,500 residential units, which has only one gated entry. would provide the easiest access to the person in need. A marshal or golf professional can meet the emergency vehicles at the access point to show them the way to the incident. The signs can also direct first responders to the location of incidents such as a brush fire or a home emergency. “They provide the quickest access and the best access for the vehicle,” Heptig says. Personnel with the Rossmoor security company have maps of the golf courses, and the property also provided maps to ambulances, fire departments and other emergency response services outside the community. Safety has always been paramount at Rossmoor. For at least two years, each golf car at the property has had a sticker in the windshield with emergency contact information that includes phone numbers for the community security agency and the golf pro shop, as well as a reminder to call 911 in an emergency. The staff has also provided emergency contact stickers for members to put in their privately owned golf cars. “When you’re in an emergency, you don’t always think straight,” Heptig says. “It helps to have emergency information right in front of you.” Rossmoor Walnut Creek’s golf courses reopened on May 5 after being shut down for several weeks because of COVID-19, but Heptig says the pandemic will not have any bearing on the use or effectiveness of the emergency response signs. “They’re in place and ready to be used,” he says. As properties have learned all too well this year from the pandemic, anything can occur that can call for a little ingenuity to adjust to extenuating circumstances. “The unexpected can happen,” says Heptig. “It’s best to be prepared when it does.”

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