Country Club Comeback
"You could gild it in gold, but if the food's not good they're not going to come," explains Mike Weikle, country club president and CEO, who lives in one of the surrounding neighborhoods. Weikle is part of the investment group that took over the indebted 137-acre property in 2011 through a member transfer of assets in the courts. Weikle says they've overhauled the facilities and last spring renovated the bar area, which, along with an adjoining dining room, is lined with windows that overlook the golf course and its towering maples and oaks. "We have the best views," he says. "We want this to be a fun and relaxing place for people to come. Plus," he laughs, compared to dining downtown, "you won't be moved to tears when you find a parking place."
The golf course opened in 1929, but it wasn't until 1963 that the first clubhouse was erected, a prototype DuPont built free of charge with a foam material--"the foam dome," Weikle calls it. (Because it was pink and topped by a cupola, pilots who flew overhead compared it to a breast.) The dome was replaced in the late 1960s by a more traditional clubhouse that served as "a blue-collar club--never a millionaire's club," and families flocked to it, he says. The current clubhouse followed in 2002, but falling memberships and economic woes eventually put the club on the chopping block. Weikle says area homeowners who knew their home values were tied to the course banded together with plans to save it, until the investment group stepped in. Don Knight--Ray's son, and like him, an AACC member--has been advising them on the restaurant makeover.