Family-friendly amenities are the key to managing a successful private club. At least that’s the strategy Dominion Golf Group has used since it formed in 2006. It has helped them grow in a time when many golf clubs struggle to retain members.
President and CEO Steven Held, who previously worked for ClubCorp for more than 20 years as a regional manager, founded the Texas-based management company. Dominion’s portfolio includes: River Place Country Club, Onion Creek Country Club and Twin Creeks Country Club located in Austin, The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio, and Bridlewood Golf Club and Lantana Golf Club, both located in the Dallas area.
“We’ve been very successful despite the economic downturn because Steven saw it coming and made a mission to form family values in 2008 before everything started falling apart,” said Justin Jafarian, general manager of Onion Creek. Jafarian was the general manager at River Place for four years before moving to Onion Creek last year.
Jafarian and Held were speakers at the recent Crittenden Golf Conference, where several hundred golf business professionals gathered together to discuss the state of the industry and how to move forward in 2013. Jafarian spoke on using technology to grow membership and increase membership spending. Held offered his expertise on the panel that discussed the importance of community and socialization in the club.
Jafarian said due to member demographics and the course’s location, Onion Creek was on a decline until this year.
“This year we’ve really turned it around,” Jafarian said. “The way we did that was by partnering with the community to make it where [the club] wasn’t behind the gates and it could be the center of the community.”
He said Dominion is getting ready to renovate River Place with an estimated $2 million-upgrade to the dining room, fitness center and tennis center.
“[River Place] has been the model for us because of its success within the community,” Jafarian said. “It’s really the focal point in the community and because of that they’ve really out grown their facilities.”
The family-fun amenities play an important part in retaining and adding new members. Dominion has created a place where families can unwind and spend time together.
“We positioned ourselves as the place to go for relief. Everything is value-based and family-based and it’s been very successful for us,” Jafarian said.
Hiring the right staff at the club also plays an important role in its success. Jafarian said it’s all about creating fun and building relationships with the members.
“We really pride ourselves on the ability to hire good people and in this business there’s nothing more important than that,” Jafarian said.