TWINSBURG — City officials hope the new Gleneagles clubhouse can compete with "the best similar facilities in the area."
"Our selling point for the new facility is that there’s nothing like it in northeast Ohio," said Director of Banquet Operations Abby Fechter Nov. 27. "I believe we can compete with the best similar facilities in the area."
Fechter said the banquet center hosted 16 events in its first two months, has 11 scheduled in December and 20 so far in 2019.
The banquet center in the $6.1 million clubhouse can accommodate groups of between 20 and 300 people. Wedding receptions, birthday and anniversary parties, business meetings and community events are hosted there.
The facility’s catering staff has mostly provided food for the events already conducted, however banquet customers have the option to select from four outside caterers. The Aaron and Moses restaurant staff only handles groups of up to 70.
Fechter said she’s been going to area bridal shows to promote the banquet center and hopes to host bridal shows in the future. She is also considering the possibility of hosting special events for holidays such as Mother’s Day and New Year’s eve.
Fechter encourages people who have attended an event or banquet at the new clubhouse to post their reviews on the Gleneagles Golf Club Facebook page.
Fechter, restaurant manager Sarah Cargould and several Council members say the response has been positive, while Mayor Ted Yates says "we still need to work on improving the operations."
Council President Maureen Stauffer said she believes the city needs some input on how to better market the facility, and Councilman Greg Bellan said a solid strategy is needed to promote the clubhouse on social media.
City officials say residents and out-of-towners are sometimes unaware that the facility is open to the public. Yates said a decent-sized sign near the Glenwood Drive entrance to the parking lot is being designed and should be installed soon.
He also said officials hope to improve lighting in the front hallway, because people have been confused from the parking lot as to whether the facility was open.
Plans also are in the works to remove a mound which partially blocks motorists’ views of the clubhouse from Glenwood Drive, and to install an "open" sign at the front entrance. The mound likely will be removed in the spring.
Cargould said the restaurant is offering a number of promotions, such as gift cards for dining if a customer buys a certain amount of merchandise at the pro shop.
She said the menu is still being tweaked, and will be changed every so often.
"We’ve received a lot of good comments, and haven’t received many complaints about the food or service," she said.
"We don’t have many diners at lunch his time of year, but we’d like to increase them," she said. "Naturally, it should be much busier at lunch and in the evenings in the warm weather months."
Councilman Sam Scaffide suggested the restaurant stay open later on weekends. It currently closes at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but Scaffide said 10 p.m. could generate additional business.
"You would get some extra bar business after banquets there have concluded," he noted.
Councilman Bill Furey said Gleneagles should attract more golf outings now that the new facilities are available. Gleneagles General Manager Bryan Mineard said the course accommodated 16 leagues in 2018, with between 16 and 40 golfers per league. League registrations for 2019 are under way.
The city purchased 80 new golf carts for about $400,000 over the past year, and expects to bring in about $150,000 per year from cart rentals.
Cargould said clubhouse workers can receive discounts on meals at the restaurant, and one suggestion made was to extend discounts to all city employees.
Meanwhile, financial adviser Matthew Stuczynski told Council reps at their regular meeting that they must soon decide what to do when the $6.1 million in notes for the new clubhouse are up for renewal at the end of February.
He said they can roll over the notes for another year, pay off the entire project or issue long-term (20- to 25-year) bonds. He said the interest rates for one-year notes is running at about 2.1 percent, while the rate for bonds is around 3.5 percent.
Stuczynski said interest rates have been rising since 2016, when the clubhouse notes originally were secured, but expects no huge rate increases in the next couple of years. He encouraged Council to decide by the end of January.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.