Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

February 12, 2013

New partnership ramps up West Chase's wedding business

By Wade Coggeshall
CNHI

BROWNSBURG — West Chase Golf Club here has a big pavilion, big patio, and lots of spaces in its clubhouse for both intimate gatherings and large celebrations.

And for much of the course's existence, they were hardly used. Until West Chase entered an agreement with the restaurant Dawson's Too to serve as its caterer last year.

As a comparison, before this partnership West Chase had only hosted a maximum of three weddings in one year. After Dawson's Too became caterer late last summer, they booked six weddings. Another 16 are already on the schedule for this year, with more pending.

"We've already got June and July filled this year, and more months that are getting full," said Tony Hill, catering coordinator for Dawson's Too.

Added Greg Rose, the restaurant's general manager, "It's been a great partnership."

To say the least. Jeremy Allen, general manager of West Chase, notes that the public golf course had 72 members in 2012. In late January they had reached the century mark, a feat not accomplished since the place opened.

"We've made more money in six months than the (golf course) made in 10 years," Hill said. "We're doing it right."

He credits West Chase's commitment as much as Dawson's Too for the turnaround.

"They're really going all-out to make a big change in how this golf course looks on a day-to-day basis," Hill said.

He and Rose also are members of West Chase. Having catered events there before, Hill had wanted to team with the facility since it opened, but West Chase already had a contract with another caterer. When that expired last year, Bob Kiefer, West Chase's special events coordinator and a founding member of the club, called Hill and offered to work out an agreement. They signed a two-year deal.

"We're the only place in town that has the availability to seat for (big) parties," Hill said.

West Chase's pavilion can hold almost 400 people without tables. With air conditioning and heating, it can also be utilized year-round. Then there's the patio, big enough to have weddings on in the warm-weather months. Inside the clubhouse there's a bar/lounge big enough for groups of 75 and a smaller upstairs that can seat about 45.

"We have many facilities here that've never really been taken advantage of," Allen said.

Dawson's Too also has a banquet room perfect for rehearsal dinners. They have a kitchen at West Chase they can use for the reception.

"When you don't have to take your food on the road and can prepare it here, that's awesome," Hill said.

There are many perks to booking your wedding at West Chase. Wedding parties get to golf at a reduced rate and use golf carts to get around. The club also has a partnership with a nearby Comfort Suites for discounted rooms and a shuttle to and from West Chase.

"It's really an ideal situation. Everything's close," Hill said.

There also are private dressing rooms that the wedding party has from Friday morning until Sunday morning. They don't have to worry about cleaning up after the festivities either; West Chase and Dawson's Too take care of that.

Brides also may decorate the facility however they like. Allen says one group that booked the pavilion had a beach party with actual sand.

"There's really no limit what somebody can do there," he said. "It's whatever is in their imagination."

As well, Dawson's Too strives to be a one-stop shop when it comes to catering. Everything from tables and chairs, plates and silverware, to cake and a DJ are included in their price with no hidden fees.

"We pride ourselves on being a full-service catering company here," Hill said.

It's not just weddings either. Both sides want to host and cater all sorts of events, from birthday and Christmas parties to baby showers.

"It's totally underutilized here," Hill said. "We're just scratching the surface."

That includes doing more for West Chase's members too, like having monthly cookouts, steak dinners - basically a country club without the stuffiness.

"I want to bring that feel to West Chase, but you don't have those dues or food minimums," Allen said. "This is just a perk we're able to provide."

Hill's plan is to have daily food specials in the club's lounge and snack shop.

The renewed focus on using West Chase's full potential is already turning a profit for the club's pavilion, previously a money-losing venture. But that's not the only reason they're working with Dawson's Too. The ultimate goal is for each to drive customers to one another.

"That's the big drive," Hill said. "That's why we wanted to do this."

Added Allen, "The more people who see this facility, the better chance we have of capturing them as a member."

For more information on Dawson's Too, call 858-8400 or visit the website at DawsonsToo.com. For more information on West Chase, call 892-7888 or visit the website at WestChaseGolf.com.

wade.coggeshall@flyergroup.com