by Dave Daubert
It has been a long while since I have written a story about a new golf course in Central Florida. I recently visited ” The Chain of Lakes City” Winter Haven in east Polk county, to take a look at the Rees Jones and Bill Bergin designed Country Club. That’s right. The ‘Open Doctor’ himself was involved with the championship layout along 2200 acre Lake Hamilton. Bill Bergin, who is also a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and located in Atlanta, has over 56 projects that he has designed and brought to fruition. The 7000+ yard design sits on an unspoiled(no homes just nature) 290 acre property where Lake Regions Yacht and Country Club was. Totally new drainage and irrigation systems were installed to maintain the course at a first class level. The day I was there was the last day for the old clubhouse. It was being demolished the next day. In fact every building on the property will be raised.
The other thing the new owners did was bring in Billy Casper Golf, the largest domestic owner-operator of golf courses, country clubs and resorts, to manage the Country Club of Winter Haven. BCG will provide turnkey management of CCofWH operations, including golf course and property maintenance. member programs, sales, marketing and public relations, staffing and training, merchandising, restaurant and banquet activities, special events, golf instruction and financial management. Peter Hill, Chairman & CEO of BCG, stated “we are excited to partner with an ambitious ownership group, and members will realize the Billy Casper Golf difference in the short and long term.”
BCG will enact its proprietary “BCGreen” initiative at the Country Club to conserve, protect and enhance the environment. They will enroll the course in the ‘Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary’ program that will result in increased efficiencies in maintenance, energy, water, pesticides, fertilizer, equipment wear and labor.
Another feature Billy Casper Golf has that others don’t, is its BCG-U, the company’s career development and training resource, with 16 educational courses. Launched in 2012, BCG-U is a portal housed on BCG’s intranet site. Unique to the golf industry, learning tools for employees include more than 100 e-learning modules, goal development, interactive progress reviews, catalog of training resources, management feedback, and customizable profiles to track goals. “BCG’s goal is to give everyone on our growing team the opportunity to expand their horizons and become even better professionals,” says Peter Hill. “Investing in and cultivating high level talent is integral to producing terrific results for our managed properties.”
To learn more about The Country Club of Winter Haven you can go to www.CCofWinterHaven.com or call 863-324-6666.