MILFORD, Conn. -- As many club managers and lovers of the game know, golf has been facing tough times in recent years. Rounds have been down at most private clubs, memberships have declined and clubs have been forced to close at an alarming rate. However, not every club has been experiencing this downturn. In fact, Great River Golf Club in Milford is at the forefront of what they believe is a remarkable turnaround.
“There are a host of reasons why golf has experienced some challenges," said Mark Appelberg, executive director of Great River Golf Club. "If I had to sum it up, though, I would say lifestyles have changed. So our focus has been on meeting those changes head on, and giving Connecticut golfers a fantastic new approach to membership.”
Reasons for golf's downward trend vary. The costs and commitment to join a club are often high, while daily time constraints and the game's “stuffy” image have all been billed as detracting factors. However, many golfers still want to be part of a community, just without red tape and excessive conditions.
“We are in a unique position to take the lead in golf’s renaissance in our area,” said Appelberg. “We have one of the top-rated courses around that is consistently rated in the top two or three in the state, along with the backing of Sacred Heart University. Therefore, we can do some unique things here.”
To help continue its positive membership growth, Great River has placed an emphasis on quality of play, course aesthetics and financial investment in the facility. “We want Great River to be an escape," said Karin Attolino, head of the club's membership and outing sales. "Lifestyles have changed, but the desire for relaxation, quality, value and attentive service hasn’t. We’ve developed the facility and course to satisfy all of the above.”
The club has implemented a number of membership changes that have resulted in positive growth, year over year. These include modified and less costly member options, no initiation fees, no long-term commitments, no assessments, a well-trained, professional staff and a fun yet challenging golf experience with equal tee times for all. With membership up 45 percent over last year, Great River Golf Club is working to ensure that golf in Fairfield County is poised to grow.
To learn more about membership options available at Great River Golf Club, visit their website.