A Detroit Golf Club Fights to Survive
From our colleagues at Golf Magazine, a piece on a Detroit club's efforts to survive. Here's an excerpt:
There is at least one job more challenging than keeping a private golf club solvent in this dismal economy: keeping a private golf club solvent in Detroit.
That task falls to Todd Beals, chief operating officer of the Detroit Golf Club, the only private golf club within the city limits. The place has a lot going for it: a storied, 111-year history; two classic Donald Ross courses; a stately red brick clubhouse designed by the iconic Detroit architect Albert Kahn; and a diverse, golf-mad membership.
But it is battling the disintegration of the city that surrounds it. Thanks to Detroit's 15-percent unemployment rate and, more specifically, the implosion of the automotive industry, more than 100 club members have resigned in the last three years, prompting DGC to drop its initiation fee from $39,000 in 2006 to $6,500 today. It is a dilemma faced by many southeast Michigan clubs that have for decades relied on Big Auto to keep their tee sheets full.
"We're the kind of club that [Henry] Ford built," Beals says. "It used to be nothing to have our upstairs bar full every day of the week with salesmen wooing the GM guys or whatever. They'd take them to play golf to close the deal, but that has all dried up."
Even members who have held onto their jobs are reluctant to schmooze at the club during the week. "We don't get hooky days anymore," Beals says. "In years past we could get an awesome early spring day where by noon we'd have 200 guys out there having fun. Today they don't want to risk becoming a blip on [their employers'] radar screens by not being in the office from at least 9 to 5.
Read the full story here.