By Matt Werner
The Golf Club of Indiana will soon be more than a place to play a round of golf.
A new banquet facility and improvements to the clubhouse are two of the biggest projects for the nearly 40-year-old course.
Jeff Rubenstein, director of golf at the course, said since SL Development Inc. took over the course in 2011, nearly $2 million in improvements have been made including buying new equipment and carts.
“The interior of the banquet facility will be between 6,600 and 6,800 square feet,” he said. “We will be able to do banquets, wedding receptions, formal events, outings, and it will serve as a general meeting space for businesses.”
Rubenstein said the new, 250-seat facility will be a huge upgrade over the previous facility.
“The old hall didn’t have heat or air-conditioning,” he said. “We felt there was a need for a nice banquet facility in the area. On the northeast side (of Indianapolis) there’s around 50 facilities, but on this side (of Indianapolis) there’s less than 10.”
Rubenstein said the goal is to have the facility open in May.
The clubhouse, he said, will be getting a much-needed upgrade.
“The space of our pro-shop will not be changing, but the interior will,” he said. “We’ll be expanding it and putting in new fixtures. We hope to raise the ceilings by about three feet to give it a new look.”
Rubenstein said they will be adding an outdoor deck that will seat nearly 50 people.
“That will be a nice area that we could host events as well,” he said. “Plus it’ll be a nice place to sit and relax after a round of golf.”
An enlarged storage and preparation area is the biggest advantage the improved clubhouse will have.
“We are tremendously increasing our storage and prep area, which will allow a wider variety of food and a bigger menu for our snack bar,” Rubenstein said. “That will be exceptionally nice and give us more options on food.”
Rubenstein said the upstairs of the clubhouse will have an expanded golf academy, the Pro-formance Academy.
Tony Day, who was named the Indiana Teacher of the Year by the Professional Golfers Association, said the larger area will be a big boost to his operation.
“With the improvements, we’ll have a bigger space and be able to provide more services,” he said. “The golf industry is not doing so hot, so we have to provide more services and better customer service than other courses. With these improvements, we’ll be able to offer more ,] services year round.”
Brownsburg resident David Baker said he has been receiving lessons at the course for at least seven years.
“I’ll have a jump-start on a lot of guys by coming here in the winter,” he said. “It’s important to stay active with golf in the winter months, and (Day) helps me accomplish that.”
Day said some of the services they will be able to provide are golf-specific fitness training, club fitting and yoga.
“I want more people in here year-round, and I want more families in here,” he said. “We’ll be able to have a lot more people in here and have more people of different ages.”
Rubenstein said their rates would not go up as a result of the improvements.
“Our philosophy has been that we are very happy with our loyal customers,” he said. “We feel, with the improvements, their experience will be enhanced, and we will then be priced accordingly. We are trying to minimally impact our golfers; so we are doing all of our improvements in the winter.”
Rubenstein said frequent players have been heavily involved throughout the process.
“Ultimately it doesn’t matter what I want, it matters what the patrons want,” he said. “We are trying to involve them as much as possible. There are certain things that people like and don’t like about our course. We are trying to upgrade the don’t likes and enhance the likes.”
Rubenstein said there may be more improvements coming to the course in the future.
“When the new ownership took over (in 2011), they made a commitment to upgrade our facilities,” he said. “There is a master plan, and we hope to execute that plan in the coming years. We anticipate a lot of things happening, but you never know what will happen. We’re excited for the future, though.”