Golden Fork Awards 2022: Best F&B Reinvention in Response to the Pandemic

  • The Backyard Bear Creek Golf Club

Here are the honorees for Best F&B Reinvention in Response to the Pandemic in the 2022 Golden Fork competition.


Backyard Bear Creek

F&B Reinvention in Response to the Pandemic FIRST PLACE

The Backyard Bear Creek Golf Club

With no pandemic relief for indoor dining on the horizon, Bear Creek Golf Club decided to focus on outdoor dining.

The Backyard, which opened in May 2020, sits immediately behind the clubhouse in the middle of the property where four nine-hole layouts converge. Boulders and other features from the property were moved to add to the outdoor ambience.

The centerpiece of The Backyard is a retro Airstream trailer, where drinks and food are served. The menu includes Texas favorites: barbecue, burgers, local microbrews and craft cocktails, as well as sausages and street tacos.

A modest investment was made to transform the outdoor area. What started as tents, tables and chairs around a makeshift bar attracted customers immediately and keeps them coming back today. Future plans include a permanent entertainment stage, concrete pads for additional games, more heaters and firepits.

The club reports a 60% growth in F&B revenues — both tournament and a la carte — compared to pre-pandemic indoor dining.

“The Backyard was born out of necessity during a COVID-restricted time period and has continued to evolve,” said Dirk Burghartz, president of Arcis Golf. “We’re incredibly grateful to our customers and the community for embracing it.”

What the judges said:

“Excellent use of outdoor space with incredible ROI on modest capital expenditure.”


Reunion Golf & Country Club

F&B Reinvention in Response to the Pandemic SECOND PLACE

Reunion Golf & Country Club
Madison, Miss.

Reunion Golf & Country Club’s curbside carry-out program took off during the pandemic. Members were able to order from the club’s Ella Jane’s pizza pub online or by phone, and the take-out service continues today. Menu items include pizza, burgers, salads, sandwiches, specialty entrees and desserts.

In August 2021, the club introduced a new executive chef and culinary team, which led to many new items for all dining venues and menus that are updated monthly.


Ballenisles Country Club

F&B Reinvention in Response to the Pandemic THIRD PLACE

BallenIsles Country Club
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Following a $35 million renovation of the Grand Clubhouse in 2019, BallenIsles Country Club members were able to enjoy four dining venues, a sports bar and an additional 6,000 square feet of functional patio space. The new outdoor patios helped accommodate social distancing while COVID19 restrictions were in place. And the team got creative with new services, including takeout and home delivery.

Recipe kits were created, with a virtual chef ’s demonstration to follow along with from home. Wine tasting kits included small plate pairings and virtual support. Other offerings included the $20.21 Pandemic Special and Fire Up Your Grill & BBQ, which offered burgers and hotdogs, along with all the fixings, to cook at home. Lobster To Go Night included a 2-pound, split Maine lobster with drawn butter, red potatoes and asparagus.

“Our team came together and worked seamlessly to think outside of the box to come up with creative ideas to enhance operations,” said Laura Young Cray, director of F&B.

The patios quickly became favorite spots for dining and socializing — so much so that the outdoor locations have been integrated as permanent venues on the club’s social calendar.

An increase in membership, as well as 100% membership retention, resulted in record-breaking numbers from January 2020 to November 2021.

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