Why partitioning your clubhouse can bring in extra revenue for the golf club

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 31, 2016 09:55

Functions such as weddings are a superb way for golf clubs to generate extra income, but providing for extra guests in the clubhouse can be a problem for your members. A solution, finds Andy Waple, is to partition the clubhouse using stylish glass

Most golf clubs have a long history with many tales to tell of battles won and lost on the course.

Many of them have an old clubhouse to match – built in yesteryear with draughty rooms, high ceilings and a complete lack of spatial effectiveness.

They were built many decades ago – some even longer – during the days when the need for flexible spaces for meetings, weddings and conferences were never a consideration.

These days many clubs have realised their clubhouses are potential assets, capable of helping to balance the books by bringing in income from non-golf related events. Yet managers have been thwarted by their inability to divide large areas into useful spaces particularly if they are providing outside functions that need separation from the members.

One company that has seen the potential of golf clubhouses and can offer cost effective yet attractive partitions is Glass Door Solutions (GDS).

Its products – high quality, durable, stylish and capable of personalisation with embossed logos and crests, are increasingly seen in golf clubhouses across the country.

West Kent GC is a good example of a club that has gained from a modernisation programme employing GDS’ products for internal remodeling.

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West Kent Golf Club

Despite a long and interesting history the club has moved with the times, and while always putting its members’ interests first, it has increasingly sought to attract visitors.

With this in mind, some changes to the floor plan and lay out were considered when the clubhouse underwent refurbishment seven years ago.

The clubhouse features an impressive functions’ room large enough to seat 130 guests, and 150 for buffets. It is used regularly for members’ events, such as birthday parties and the occasional wedding and is a much-welcomed feature of a club that prides itself in high quality catering and service.

Under the refurbishment plan the club looked at options on how it could provide a clubhouse that was functional yet flexible and capable of holding events without impinging on the pleasure and enjoyment of members who wanted to relax in the bar particularly at weekends in the height of the playing season.

Former club secretary Andy Hall said recently: “We have a good number of well supported members’ functions so when the clubhouse was refurbished seven years ago it was decided to provide an area for members which could be separated from the functions.

“A number of suggestions were considered and we decided that glazed partitions provided the ideal solution as they gave the flexibility we required. We can have one large area when needed or we can provide a separate area for members in the bar. The glazing allows us to divide the bar area into two rooms which was what we were looking for.”

The club opted for a purfold sliding glass partition to separate the private members’ bar area from the main clubhouse when large functions are taking place, selected and fitted by GDS.

GDS chairman, Peter Gardner, said: “The ability to slide the glass partition into place in seconds allows the club the opportunity to give the members privacy in the most easy and elegant way.

“Each panel of the partition has applied graphics showing the club’s coat of arms. These also act as a health and safety feature to prevent people accidentally walking into the glass.

“Toughened glass panels are always pleasing to the eye. Even after years of use, they don’t mark or discolour like most other painted surfaces or wall coverings. They have proved very popular with our customers who have been delighted with the way they have transformed their clubhouses.”

The investment is reaping rewards for the club that is now able to satisfy the needs of members attending functions as well as others looking for a comfortable environment where they can socialise separately without intruding on each other’s space.

The flexibility has provided the perfect answer and the club has been very satisfied with the design and quality of the doors as well as the high level of service provide by GDS.

As a welcome addition, the club believes it has benefitted from an increase in bar takings as a result of being able to provide for different needs at the same time.

“We have probably raised income by being able to hold functions and still provide a space with a bar where those not attending can relax and enjoy themselves. We are a club that puts its members first and we believe the partitions have provided us with the best of both worlds,” Andy said recently.

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Langley Park Golf Club in Beckenham, Kent, found itself in a similar position when a decision was made to attract more outside business to help bring in new income.

“We decided we wanted to make use of the clubhouse for more functions while still putting our members first,” said Ben Cleave, house manager. “But we knew we had a make changes to attract people who may have thought we were living in the past.”

The club set out to create an environment where members could have their own space, while others could feel welcomed into a setting that was far ahead of their expectations in terms of comfort and quality.

Ben recalled: “We were a typical private members’ club – rather formal with dark décor and wooden panelled doors – yet we realised we had great potential as the club is situated in a rather affluent part of Kent with few other facilities for holding functions.”

Prior to remodeling, the clubhouse was divided into number of small rooms, with a patio area overlooking the 18th green.

A little creative thinking produced a modernisation programme to create a flexible space that would appeal to members and visiting groups alike.

Part of the redesign saw the introduction of four sets of folding glass doors from GDS that ungraded the entire clubhouse adding a luxury feel and at the same time creating flexibility.

Opened out they create a single space big enough for a function of 200 people or closed to provide individual smaller rooms.

The glazed panels feature the club’s logo creating an opaque effect that allows for some privacy.

Ben added: “The glass doors have created a real ‘wow’ factor. Members love them and visiting groups coming for functions are taken aback. Our clubhouse is not what they envisage, as many perceive golf clubs to be old fashioned and formal.”

The investment is certainly paying off. While members still come first the non-member functions such as weddings, anniversaries and wakes provide a valuable source of income and social membership has risen to 160.

Ben said: “The glass doors and the patio are real assets. Club functions are fully booked – we had the 166 attend the summer ball last year and Sunday lunch on the patio overlooking the 18th is extremely popular.

“We had had to alter people’s perception of social life in a golf club but we appear to be going in the right direction. Once they see what we have to offer they are amazed.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 31, 2016 09:55
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