The Brynwood Dilemma
The old model of the private, member-owned, male-centric country club is failing. While this model survives in the very high-end, elite clubs, it is largely unsustainable. Because of the high cost, low volume nature of the business, which in the Northeast generates revenues six months a year and incurs expenses 12 months a year, country clubs are struggling. For the past few years, more clubs have closed than opened, and the recession has accelerated the trend. In the U.S., 139 clubs closed last year; locally, Ridgeway in White Plains closed in the last year.
While Brynwood, the successor to Canyon Club, seeks to reinvent the dying country club model, it faces the additional challenge of doing so with facilities that are nearly 50 years old. The golf course, which is maintained in the best condition possible, demands renovating, updating and remodeling to be competitive. The clubhouse, while improved in 2010, has reached the end of its useful life and requires a top-to-bottom reconstruction of its structure, systems, and interior programming. Without major capital improvements to both the golf course and the clubhouse, the club’s current business model will be unsustainable.
The solution to “The Brynwood Dilemma” is to add a residential community to the club property and partially utilize the profits from the sale of the residences to subsidize the redevelopment of the golf course and clubhouse. In the future, with residences on-site, the operation of the club can be sustained year-round as compared with most clubs in this area which operate for only 5-6 months. This solution will produce a world class residential community and country club that will be an asset for North Castle for many years to come