By being agile and adaptable with how it continues to serve its members, Sawgrass CC is finding success despite challenges.
When the PGA Tour canceled the remainder of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Sawgrass Country Club, located just two miles down the street in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., knew they needed to prepare for some changes to their operation.
“TPC cancelled on Thursday and by Friday we were working up a plan to launch our own delivery service called ‘Sawgrass Eats,’” says Perry Kenney, Assistant General Manager of Sawgrass CC. “We had to make things happen really fast, though. Once we had the infrastructure set, we ordered branded shirts for our drivers as well as car magnets, to-go packaging, labels and we even started to create videos and marketing materials to push out to the membership on social media.”
By Wednesday, Sawgrass CC was ready to go live with its new delivery program.
“Our club is located within a residential area and of our 1,475 members, about 850 live within the club’s gates,” says Kenney. “We had a segment of our service staff still interested in working even though the clubhouse is closed to members, so we transitioned them into our delivery team.”
While Kenney focused on marketing, Meuse focused on the menus. He created a daily prixe fixe menu that members are able to order in advance. Those orders go out at exactly 5pm and it takes the three drivers about 20 to 30 minutes to deliver 10-20 packages each. After that, they come back and begin running a la carte orders, which can be placed from 11am through 8pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
“We reduced the a la carte dining menu by about 25% so that the dishes would work better for the to-go format,” says Meuse. (View Sawgrass CC’s To-Go menu here.)
To keep the menu fresh and interesting, the club also launched what Sawgrass CC calls ‘popup specials.” These include themed nights, such as pizza. “We had over 100 pizza orders within the first hour. We eventually had to cut it off because we sold out of supplies.”
That night, the club did $9,000 in revenue.
Taking “Sawgrass Eats” one step further thanks to regulations that now allow clubs to sell mixed drinks to-go, the club is launched “Sawgrass Eats Drinks.”
“Every day, we’re going to bottle up 2 premixed cocktails that members can order,” says Kenney. “The first is a Good ‘ol Fashioned Cocktail, made with Horse Soldier Barrel Strenght, House-made Old Fashioned Syrup and Angostura bitters.”
As part of Sawgrass Eats Drinks, the club is also continuing it’s Wednesday half-priced wine program, by selling half-priced bottles of wine to members to-go. “We’re offering cheese plate pairings with the wine, too,” says Meuse.
On Sunday, the club plans to host a touch-less bloody Mary and biscuits drive-through for members.
“Everyone is really excited about all these ideas we’ve put into place,” says Kenney, who added that the club’s leadership has been really supportive and transparent with members. “We had a member diagnosed with COVID-19, but the club was well ahead of it. So far, it’s the only case we know of within our membership.”
Still, challenges lay ahead.
“Our biggest challenges is simply trying to figure out who has the better idea for the day,” says Kenney. “In all seriousness, I think our biggest challenge is going to be the unknown. Everything seems to change daily and every day we aren’t sure what the news is going to be or how we’re going to deal with it. But I think we’ve all handled it fairly so far—and I expect us to continue doing so.”