Hanover Golf Club rebranded from Hanover Country Club. (HGC)
After quietly testing the waters of semi-private status, a local golf and country club is officially opening up to the masses in a bid to drive more rounds and more revenue.
Hanover Country Club in Ashland is rebranding as Hanover Golf Club and more publicly welcoming daily fee rounds from non-members, while still offering memberships.
The changes at the 55-year-old club are being steered by Mike Hatch of Acumen Golf, who took over management in 2014 as HCC was looking to regrow its membership base and get back in the black.
“We took over the club three years ago when it was private and it just wasn’t in the condition to stay a successful private club,” said Hatch, who also owns and manages Brandermill Country Club and Birkdale Golf Club in Chesterfield County. “With the current golfing market like it is, we believe the club is better positioned to be semi-private that’s opened to outside play.”
Hatch said he informed the members of the change on Monday. The club has about 200 golf members and 100 social members, mostly from surrounding neighborhoods.
The new format isn’t aimed at huge growth, but rather to build on the club’s recent profitability and show off improvements around the grounds, Hatch said.
The club hosted 13,000 rounds last year and the target is to increase that by 2,000 to 3,000 rounds annually.
“We’re not looking for exponential growth, but on this side of the river we believe there’s an opportunity,” Hatch said. “If for years and years you’ve been private, no one knows what it’s like.”
Hatch said the club has returned to profitability after being in the red when Acumen took over management three years ago. He said it reinvested $350,000 of profits into renovations on the pool, bunkers and clubhouse furniture.
New signage and logos are being rolled out with the Hanover Golf Club brand, including a logo that plays on the year 1953, when the course’s first three holes opened. The club itself was founded in 1959.
The new identity also will come with a new pricing structure for daily play and memberships, Hatch said.
Full membership is $225 a month and $300 with unlimited cart use. Other tiers are aimed at various age groups. Golfers under age 35 and over 70 pay $175 a month and $250 per month with unlimited cart use. Those under 45 pay $200 a month and $275 with unlimited cart use. Off-peak time membership is $150 a month and $225 with unlimited carts. There are no initiation fees.
Fees for daily play will range from $40 to $55 during the week with a cart and $45 to $65 on weekends.
Hatch said is also is offering reciprocal play and cart use for members at Hanover, Brandermill and Birkdale.
While its days as a private club are numbered for now, Hatch said, Hanover’s semi-private model may not last forever.
“Ideally we’d love to go back to being private. It all depends on how Hanover Golf Club is received,” he said. “If we pick up 5,000 rounds (more per year), that may mean 100 potential new members. We just need to get people out here to see the value of membership.”