At a time when many courses are cutting back perks and freebies to stay alive, one of the Middle Atlantic’s top courses is again breaking from the pack.
It started in a routine meeting about outings and group business at Musket Ridge Golf Club, consistently ranked as one of the top courses in Maryland. Despite the economy, Musket’s wedding business remains healthy and even its golf outing business is growing. Event Sales Manager Bonnie Swanson attributes some of this to the club’s relatively new banquet facilities, and adds,“It’s amazing to learn how many people still don’t realize they can have an event at a first-class public course and keep their indoor function totally separate from golfers checking in and coming off the course. Once they see it they are sold.”
Musket had reached its group business target for the year and the question arose, “What can we do to give back to the communities that support us?”
First came an effort to raise funds for a scholarship in the name of Yeardley Love, the University ofVirginia lacrosse player who was killed just prior to graduation this spring. During June Musket donated 100 percent of green fees from its daily 1 p.m. teetime. Damon DeVito, managing director of AffinityManagement explains, “Affinity is based in Charlottesville with ties to UVA. Golfers from Ms.Love’s hometown support Musket Ridge. We felt like we had to do something. We were inspired by her team holding up ‘1’ signs – her jersey number – in the NCAA tourney.”
Next up was a free Wellness Fair in partnership with more than a dozen providers. “It was easy to find partners since we invited partners and attendees at absolutely zero cost,” says Swanson. “It was a big hit.”
The club is now seeking non-profits to use its banquet space for pancake breakfasts or spaghetti suppers. Each month Musket will select one non-profit and donate the space, food and labor. Swanson notes, “Those groups might not be able to afford our space for a small fundraiser, but on weeknights and Sunday mornings we have the availability and a desire to make a difference.”
And after that? Swanson says, “The idea window is open. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions.”