Change under way at golf clubhouse
New hospitality arm aims for improved operations
The Lone Tree Golf Club and Hotel is teeing up for some significant changes. Course owner South Suburban Parks and Recreation District has added a hospitality department, and its main focus is Lone Tree’s public golf facility.
The change comes two years after several exasperated Lone Tree residents suggested the city secede from South Suburban, citing problems with the golf course and other district-managed city facilities.
Under the direction of hospitality director Jay Dikeman, the large, 1980s-era clubhouse around which the city developed has gotten a thorough scrubbing. New carpet is planned for its 15 hotel rooms, interviews are under way for a highly skilled chef, and construction starts next month on an outdoor wedding site.
“The setting is of course absolutely stunning,” Dikeman said, “and the space here is very wonderful. The demographic around the physical building, if we provide a good enough product, is certainly strong enough to support us. We just have to come up with a concept, and make it good enough for everybody to want to be here.”
Dikeman’s responsibilities and the hospitality department’s territory extends beyond Lone Tree to include South Suburban’s other restaurants, including The Club restaurant at Centennial’s South Suburban Golf Course, the Avalanche Grill at Centennial’s Family Sports Center and the Centennial Grill at the Littleton Golf and Tennis Club.
“The goal is to improve our operation, both in terms of service and revenue,” South Suburban executive director Dave Lorenz said. “All the restaurants are under one roof, so we have consistency. When you go to the South Suburban Golf Course restaurant or Avalanche Grill, you’ll get the same hamburger, French fries and service in terms of quality.”
Lorenz considered recommendations made in 2012 by both frustrated residents and city officials to turn clubhouse operations over to a private management company.
“We could never agree on what we wanted or what they were willing to provide,” he said of those negotiations. “So I recommended to the board we hire our own hospitality director.”
Dikeman’s hospitality industry experience began in 1976, including employment at well-reputed, full-service chains like the Hilton, Marriott and Radisson hotels.
In Lone Tree, he aims to capitalize on its already established wedding services with construction of an outdoor wedding venue, including a garden, pergola and small stage. Plans call for opening the area in 2014.
“We really want to make our product different from other products around,” he said. “The wedding garden will be beautiful and a differentiator from other golf courses and hotels in the community that will make (the clubhouse) even more popular for weddings.”
A sound barrier also is planned on the clubhouse’s main level to block noise from the ground-level Out of Bounds Grill. A permanent awning over the north deck, and a new lighting system in the banquet areas, also are planned.
The selection process for a new chef is nearly complete.
“One of the requirements is they have to be very high end,” Dikeman said. “They’ll be based here, but also will work with the other facilities.
“Right now, the demand for the grill area is low in the evenings. We’re absolutely going to cater to the golfers, but also focus on how to build that evening business.”
An extensive overhaul of the building is not in the near-term plans.
“For the foreseeable future, the building will stay the same,” Dikeman said. “But I know there’s been conversation about the facility needing, and the community wanting, a major renovation here.”