10 Country Club Event Ideas To Liven Up Your Social Scene
by Jacob Statler
Country clubs have always been known for their exclusivity.
Sure, members join for the upscale amenities, but the fact that not everybody has access to those amenities is its own draw.
While exclusivity is a hot commodity, the country club’s image isn’t what it used to be.
“Dirty Dancing’s” image of Kellerman’s Resort with bored, uppity bridge-playing housewives and their pipe-smoking, oblivious husbands wearing plaid golf pants has played out.
But the idea of exclusivity however is gaining momentum. And if you’d like to build on that momentum, hosting fresh, creative events at your country club is a Shaq-sized shoe step in the right direction.
Finding country club event ideas that’ll excite and entice your members is crucial. We’ve done the legwork for you, so you can cherry-pick the events that jive with your club’s mission.
- Why host country club events?
- 10 Country club event ideas
- AP automation streamlines invoice management for country club events
- Country club events are worth it
Why host country club events?
If you’re looking to increase your membership numbers, hosting events is a perfect avenue to achieve this. Events offer outsiders a chance for an “inside peek” into country club life and all the bonuses they’re missing out on.
Boost member loyalty
If your club represents more than amenities to your members but also a place that offers fresh fun for their families, you’ll reap loyal members.
Rather than a hefty monthly expense each time a member pays their fee, that money represents creative ways for their families to get together and create memories.
Increase event bookings
We all know event venue bookings pad your club’s bottom line. Hosting creative events at your country club showcases all your capabilities — whether a club member books a wedding or a local business chooses your club for their next social gathering — that’s revenue for your club.
While the baby boomer generation was enticed by country club membership, Millennials just aren’t as enamored with the thought of joining a country club as their parents were.
In fact, country club memberships dropped a whopping 20% from 1990-2014.
The thing is, country clubs aren’t just for old folks named Biff and Buffy who wear ice cream-colored polo shirts and drink dirty martinis.
Changing the perception of the country club image is vital for wooing younger generation members to keep your club booming for future generations.
10 Country club event ideas
Below is a list of creative, fun country club event ideas that’ll appeal to club members of varying ages and interests.
As you set your event schedule, choose your events wisely, carefully considering which events suit your club’s environment and image (If you’re looking to tweak that image, events are a perfect way to do that, too).
You also need to put thought into your club event guest policy.
Here are some questions to ask when setting your guest policy:
- Will your members be able to invite non-member guests? If so, how many per membership? (How do your members feel about the idea of non-member guests?)
- Will you open a few of your events to non-members through limited ticket purchases? (Ticketed events are a way to boost revenue and gain new members who get to experience your club)
A last note on country club events: Be sure to take lots of pictures at each event. Promote the events’ success by posting photos on your club’s social media accounts as well as in your club’s monthly newsletter.
Create your own buzz and anticipation about the next upcoming event!
1. 9, Wine, and Dine
Host a casual afternoon event for your golfing club members that kicks off with 9 holes of golf and wraps up in the clubhouse around sunset for drinks and eats. Invite a local musician to play for a couple of hours after the golf game.
Once your golfers swap their clubs for their après golf enjoyment of cocktails and apps, turn on some stringed lights and crank up the music. Intentionally create a unique ambiance and atmosphere that’s different from a usual day in the clubhouse after golf.
2. Burger & Brew Fest
Host an evening of sampling microbrews and burgers. Set out brew samples in shot glasses and slider burgers.
Bonus points if you’ve got local breweries and farm-to-table beef to highlight during your event.
Have your chef do a quick talk about best burger grilling practices and let your local brewery reps have a minute in the spotlight. This is a 2-in-1 event — build community relations and showcase your drink and dining options.
3. Glow Golf
This event is for members of all ages and skill levels. Because sometimes we all forget that golf’s a game and it’s supposed to be fun!
Open with a clubhouse buffet dinner at sunset and afterward issue participants glow-in-the-dark balls (Golfers Authority can help you choose the best balls) and hand out glow necklaces.
Set up your course with led lights throughout.
For example, the fairway’s red, white, and blue lights provide aiming points and distance markers. Flashing red could point out bunkers, water, bridges, and other hazards to avoid. Be sure to light up flags, holes, and target landing areas.
Have your golfers turn on their golf cart lights & head to the course.
Be sure to set your safety protocol numbers. (Ex: no single players allowed)
**Notify players ahead of time this is a BYOF event (Bring Your Own Flashlight)**
4. Casino Night
Casino nights are always a crowd-pleaser. When guests arrive, issue each person $1000 “playing money.” Have wait staff circulate with drinks and appetizers like a real casino. Award door prizes throughout the night.
Essential tips for planning an upscale casino night
- Hire real, certified dealers
- Rent gaming equipment
- Create a theme (Black-tie, Las Vegas, Monte Carlo…)
- Pick the right food and drinks (a sit-down dinner isn’t appropriate, circulate appetizers & beverages while mingling)
- The right music sets the mood (DJ, band, or a well-chosen playlist, depending on your budget)
- Don’t forget the prizes — quality is of utmost importance (don’t skimp here)
5. Movie night on the green
This is a fun, family-friendly summer event idea — you could even make this a monthly event during the summer.
Rent a large outdoor movie screen and a popcorn machine. Every member gets popcorn and bottled water or soda. Offer additional snacks for purchase. Stage your movie area on the practice course to avoid damaging your golf course.
Offer the option for golf cart rentals for a fun take on a “drive-in” movie.
6. Family Poolside Luau
Host a summer evening poolside dinner (traditional luau fare – minus the roasting pig, unless your club is equipped for it). Encourage guests to dress in Hawaiian attire, offer lei’s as each person arrives.
Decorate with tiki torches, flowers, and use table cloths with grass skirts. Hawaiian music with a ukulele is a must, of course.
End with a late-night swim party and shaved ice.
7. Junior Chef Cooking Class
Calling all junior chefs ages 6-12! Set up cooking stations for each child (or a team). Have your head chef and kitchen staff teach an age-appropriate cooking lesson & end with a competition.
Offer an extra package of a child-sized chef’s jacket and hat available for an additional purchase.
8. Family nighttime pool party & scavenger hunt
Here’s an insider tip: Kids think scavenger hunts are the bee’s knees, and they’ll be begging their parents to participate in yours.
The scavenger hunt takes place on the first 9 holes of your golf course. Give each group a handout with a list of things to find and snap its picture with a seeker’s phone.
Make sure there’s at least 1 adult in each group and only 1 phone designated as the “picture phone”.
Have your scavenger hunt items be a mix of items found on a golf course and others you’ve placed there (like a lurking pink flamingo).
Give prizes out for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in your hunt.
Once the scavenger hunt is over, celebrate with dinner by the pool (hamburgers & hot dogs), hand out glow necklaces, and pump up the jams for the pool party.
9. 4th of July big top tent celebration
What would a country club be without a killer 4th of July celebration?
The morning starts with a 9 am golf tournament, followed by a golf cart parade — award prizes for the best-decorated golf carts in 2 categories: Most Patriotic and Most Creative.
Once the awards are handed out, it’s time for the after-parade party! Have a DJ, snow cones, face painting, and airbrush tattoos.
Once the after-party wraps, offer a buffet lunch at the clubhouse followed by an all-afternoon beach pool party. Decorate your club poolside like a beach and set up an ice cream stand near the pool.
Have a lineup of family pool games, a poolside kid craft table, and a watermelon eating contest.
Moving into the evening, set up a big top tent on the practice range. Host an all-American cookout, animal balloons, face painting, airbrush tattoos, carnival games, and an adult/kid hotdog eating contest with prizes for the winners.
A band playing during this time really sets the mood for festivities.
End the day with a spectacular firework display on the golf course. This is an event your club members won’t forget and will look forward to each year.
10. Nosh and Network
Boost event bookings by hosting an event showcasing your club and all its amenities. Invite local businesses and create a welcoming space for those businesses to network with each other.
Offer a primo food and beverage lineup to allow attendees to sample your executive chef’s cuisine to get an idea of your catering capabilities.
Have your event coordinator do a short talk on hosting successful events to grow your business. Be sure your coordinator is available throughout the event to answer questions about booking an event at your club.
Hosting an event like this can position your club at the forefront of business owners’ minds for the next time they need to book a venue to host an event.
AP automation streamlines invoice management for country club events
It’s no secret that hosting events at your country club can boost new membership and increase current member engagement. However, they take a ton of planning and a boatload of vendors to pull them off without a hitch.
After an event, your time should be spent following up with attendees, planning & promoting the next event, and even basking in the glow of success. Your time shouldn’t be spent with you up to your ears in event invoices.
Automating your AP with Plate IQ also positions your club to be better prepared come audit time. Organization and obtaining timely info BEFORE the audit is easier, faster, and more accurate with automation.
Country club events are worth it
While coming up with event ideas for your country club may seem like an overwhelming addition to your long list of to-do’s, just know they’re worth it.
Hosting events keeps things at your club fresh and lets your members know you appreciate them. You can also gain some new members if that’s one of your goals.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and out-of-the-box when coming up with club event ideas.
And when the confetti’s swept up and the band’s gone home, and you’re left with a mountain of vendor invoices, Plate IQ is here to help.
Jacob Statler writes about the unique challenges of hospitality AP automation for Plate IQ.
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