• Drumm Farm Golf Club going private

  • With its ongoing shift from a public to a private facility, Drumm Farm Golf Club is doing more than looking to re-invent itself.

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  • With its ongoing shift from a public to a private facility, Drumm Farm Golf Club is doing more than looking to re-invent itself.
    General Manager Dustin Newman said he and his co-workers want to set a different business standard.
    “The slogan we’ve been using is ‘We’re re-inventing the private club experience,’” he said. “We felt like there was a need in the area for a good, family-friendly private club, not a stuffy club. We’re just trying to make it a fun spot for members to come and spend some time.
    “During this whole transition period we’ll still allow public golf,” Newman said. “It will be less and less as more members join.”
    Drumm Farm’s championship course, designed by Michael Hurdzan and built on approximately 280 acres of preserved farmland surrounding the Drumm Farm Center for Children, opened in 2001. The idea of changing the club from public to private first came from the parent company, Lincoln, Neb.-based Landscapes Unlimited, and Newman said the local staff researched the possibility and started making the change in October.
    Newman, whose past work included a stint as head professional at a start-up private club in Colorado, said Landscapes made a similar successful change to The Players Club in Omaha.
    “They manage about 30 golf courses around the United States,” he said. “They made the suggestion. We started discussing it about a year ago, and we realized we think there’s a need for this.
    “It was kind of a group decision. As we looked at where we were, looking at what was going on in the community, we wondered how we can separate ourselves from public courses.”
    Newman said there are 120 members now, with hopes to increase to 200 by the end of next year.
    “We had a good core group of annual pass holders from previous years, and we got some feedback from them,” he said. “We got about 95 percent converted to membership for this year.”
    In addition to upcoming improvements with the course’s irrigation system and sand bunkers, there are planned amenities provided membership reaches higher figures – such as a fitness center at 200, a pool at 300 and a clubhouse expansion at 350.
    “I think it’s an exciting opportunity here at Drumm Farm to make the change,” said Gary McClure, who has been Drumm Farm’s PGA professional for four years after a stint at private club Lakewood Oaks. “Dustin’s been instrumental with getting this off the ground, and the rest of the staff and I are excited about the opportunity. Whatever changes they make, I’m supportive.”
    Newman said he’s heard some curious reaction from golfers who point out how some private clubs around the country have gone public during the slowed economy, but he believes Drumm Farm won’t price itself out of success.
    Page 2 of 2 - “A lot of courses are going in the opposite direction; some private clubs are opening themselves up,” Newman said. “I think we’ve got a good price point and we’re value-sensitive.”
    Monthly dues for golf range from $150 to a $225 family rate, and the club also offers a single or family social membership (good for social functions, use of the practice range and walking the nine-hole executive course) for $50 per month.
    “We think we can create a fun environment where people come and enjoy themselves,” Newman said. “We’ve got a good practice facility and we’ve got a good executive course, along with the championship course.”

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