Vibrant and Affordable Social Experiences

Today, new innovations are popping up everywhere—in every industry. These innovations breed new activities and can leave private club leaders wondering how to stay relevant in an ever-changing, tech-driven world. And while evolving to meet the needs of the modern member is fundamentally important, so is staying true to the foundation on which every club is built—to be a welcoming and homey retreat for all who enter.

In general, people tend to crave authentic experiences over things, so it’s important to make sure clubs are providing members opportunities to focus on what’s most important: memories, experiences, and quality time with loved ones. While trying to stay ahead of the curve can often come with a hefty price tag, it’s not always the case. Check out some of these vibrant and affordable activities that will bring your members together … and maybe even closer than ever before.

Fire Pits

Is there anything cozier than lounging around a fire on a crisp night? There’s something about good conversation surrounded by nature and loved ones that warms the heart more than the fire itself. It feels like home. And we’re willing to bet your members would prefer a night like this over a night out on most occasions.

Fire pits are affordable, easy to install, and aesthetically pleasing. And this timeless addition not only provides members with a spontaneous place to congregate, but it also affords private clubs opportunities to host creative social events (and for all ages). Junior members can roast s’mores and tell ghost stories while the adults enjoy anything from a cigar night to a wine or craft beer night. Adults can even take a cue from the youngsters nearby and opt for something more nostalgic—is there really an age limit on s’mores?

Speaking of nostalgia—the thought of a drive-in movie immediately makes most reminisce on simpler days. So for a fun twist, take your members back in time with an outdoor movie theater. Turn on a family-friendly movie, provide cozy blankets for members to snuggle up with by the fire and viola—Friday Fireside Movies are a go! And for ample options, choose movies that complement the time of year or upcoming holiday with festive food and drinks.


Pickleball has been around for more than 50 years—but its growing popularity in the 21st century (and in the last few years, especially) is why so many are talking about it today. Pickleball is a game resembling tennis in which players use paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. Like all sports, pickleball provides health and social benefits. But most importantly, it’s categorized as a “serious leisure” activity—meaning that pickleball is great for all members. Seniors can benefit from playing an active game that isn’t too tough on their joints. Meanwhile, it’s a great option for kids as it’s a non-contact sport, teaches hand-eye coordination and if played two-on-two, helps teach the importance of working as a team. Pickleball is also a fun option for couples, friends, and parents who want to enjoy a sport with their kids.

And the best part? Your tennis court can easily be converted into a pickleball court by simply incorporating both sets of lines with appropriate dimensions for both games. Of course, if you have additional space (and funds), dedicated pickleball courts can be built for under $20,000. Test the waters on your existing tennis court first, and if it gains popularity, then dedicated funds can be built into your budget.

Outdoor Yard Games

Yard games are always a staple at family events—from birthday parties to graduation parties to your typical summer evening or Sunday cookout. So by incorporating yard games at your club, you create the kind of relaxed and inviting atmosphere that your members aim to exude in their very own home. Today, corn hole is extremely popular all around the U.S. and can be played by all ages. The game also presents another opportunity to establish dedicated boards for both junior and adult members. To add a personal touch—customize your boards with your club logo and colors!

Additionally, bocce ball is one that the whole family or a group of friends can enjoy together; and just like corn hole, it doesn’t take up too much room. Some clubs have developed full bocce leagues because the game has become so popular! Consider adding a fire pit nearby, and you’ve created a cozy and vibrant evening for your members at little cost.

There are factors to consider when determining if your club should build a bocce ball court. While it can be beneficial to do so…the game can also be played in the grass (on a flat surface). So be sure to weigh the pros and cons and choose the route that’s best for your club. If your members aren’t familiar with the game, test it out in the grass first. If it’s a hit—then a court may be the better option.

Outdoor games don’t have to stop there. Giant Jenga is a family favorite and croquet is a private club classic! Mix it up and get creative … but don’t forget about those outdoor games that have stood the test of time.

Food Trucks

Food trucks may have once been considered a trend, but with the industry earning $2 billion in revenue in 2017, it’s clear that this popular “food on wheels” option isn’t driving away any time soon. So why not bring this convenient and vibrant offering to your members? Almost every town in the U.S. today has at least one food truck … and cities? Hundreds. Food trucks are perfect for events large and small, sure—but they’re also great for any regular day at your club.  A food truck would also make a thoughtful addition to your golf course during a fundraiser or even just a busy weekend for an added fresh halfway house treat.

To take it a step further, consider making it part of your F&B Department by creating your very own! It’s an investment upfront, but will surely pay for itself in the long run. This opens up other opportunities as well. Your truck can be used to cater local community and/or church events as part of your volunteer efforts—while doubling as a mobile advertisement.

The relationship between people and food isn’t one to overlook. It brings your members together—whether it’s at a table for dinner, a snack break on the course, or the kids laughing over popsicles at the pool—good conversation and good food go hand-in-hand. It’s truly an activity and experience in itself. Putting a spin on this with a food truck is just an added bonus.

More than anything, members want to connect and spend time with one another—and providing a breadth of activities (both inventive and nostalgic) presents all the more reason for them to get involved.

Has your club incorporated a new activity recently? Was it a hit? Comment below!

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