Clayton calls Meadowbrook a city amenity as golf course rebounds from tornadoes

Golf revenue rose the past two years; city has changed banquet options, will add pickleball courts this fall

CLAYTON — Seven years after acquiring the Meadowbrook at Clayton golf course and banquet center, and after bouncing back from tornado damage in 2019, city officials say the club is in good standing and are encouraging residents to take advantage of the amenity.

Formerly known as Meadowbrook Country Club, the 171-acre property was privately owned until it was donated by Larry and Tina Harris of LGH Properties LLC to the city of Clayton in April 2015. Since then, the city has focused efforts on marketing the banquet space and golf course to the Miami Valley.

The property consists of a 65,000 square-foot banquet center, clubhouse, driving range and 18-hole golf course. Swimming pools previously located on the property have since been filled in, according to Facility Manager Elaine Wittman.

Wittman said the former pool space will soon house pickleball courts, with groundbreaking expected to begin in October.

“We’re trying to find opportunities for Meadowbrook to be even more of a community asset,” Wittman said, adding that responses to a community survey conducted last year indicated residents had a strong preference to bring pickleball to the city.

Also new as of April, the city cut ties with its on-site caterer, The Grill by Heritage, to allow more flexibility and options for guests who host gatherings at the facility, while saving the city money overall.

“We saw the bank operations lagging a little bit, so we wanted to go in a different direction — something new,” Wittman said. “This way, the city has more control over operations.”

The move also allowed Meadowbrook to hire around eight new employees, Wittman said. Overall, the city staffs around 30 seasonal employees at the facility.

As for the club’s financial impact, in 2021, the revenue from golf sales totaled $601,194, up from $566,307 in 2020. Banquet revenue in 2021, from a total of 51 rentals, was $70,658, and $41,696 from a total of 22 rentals in 2020.

In 2021, accrued golf expenses totaled $730,435, with banquet expenses coming in at $111,443 the same year. In 2020, golf expenses were $699,381, and banquet expenses totaled $96,826.

The difference in expenses and revenue is covered by subsidies through the city, Wittman said. The city subsidized $129,241 for the club in 2021, and $133,074 the previous year.

“We look at recovery rate, so through our charges for services and things (in 2021), we recovered about 82.3% of the expenses,” Wittman said, adding that the city is always looking for ways to run operations more efficiently with the goal of breaking even financially.

As a result of the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes that tore through the Dayton region, the entire golf course at Meadowbrook was closed for a total of nine days in June, a peak golf month, and nine holes were closed for an additional 23 days, Wittman said.

“(The tornado damage) really did hinder golf operations that year and we certainly did see it in our revenue,” she said.

Credit: Jim Witmer

Credit: Jim Witmer

Total golf revenue in 2019 was $441,426, with a total of $698,218 in expenses, resulting in a 63.2% recovery rate, the lowest in the past five years, and requiring a subsidy of $256,791.

Comparatively, the facility recovered 96.1% of its banquet revenue in 2019, with expenses totaling $95,184 and a total revenue of $91,428.

Along with golf and private gatherings, Wittman said the city hosts multiple community events at Meadowbrook throughout the year, including Labor Day fireworks, a Halloween costume and carving party, breakfast with Santa, movie nights, and more.

Wittman said she hopes to see residents continue to utilize the facility, including those who may not have visited before. She said Clayton residents can receive discounted rates for banquet rentals, golf passes and green fees.

“Just like parks, this does create an amenity and provides an avenue for people to come into our community and see how great it is,” she said.

About the Author