TORONTO – From soothing hot stone therapy in the state-of-art fitness wing to Friday movie nights by the family-friendly pool for children and teens, Donalda Club is anything but your average country club.
For the past decade, golf clubs across North America have been faced with a rapidly changing landscape as many chase new members to try and keep their rosters full. At Donalda Club, which sits at the southwest corner of Highway 401 & 404 in Toronto, it’s not so much the need for new blood, but revitalization from within and innovative programming that drives new growth.
“We offer our members a lot more than just a golf course, or even traditional country club activities like curling and tennis,” says Brett Mance, Donalda’s Membership and Marketing Director. “I believe that really sets us apart from other clubs and it is a model that some clubs are looking at. We have certainly had a few club GMs through our doors in the past few months and they have been impressed. The vision of the Donalda Club is to be the finest family-oriented, golf and multi-activity Club in Canada.”
While golf is the foundation that the club was built upon when it opened in 1960, Donalda Club now offers; 12 Har-Tru clay tennis courts, including six in the winter under a tennis bubble; four sheets of ice for curling, two international singles squash courts, a family-friendly outdoor swimming pool with slide and splash pad, a new fitness center with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the golf course that has been open for less than a year, a full-service indoor golf academy with four high-definition golf simulators, a junior lounge and varied dining options highlighted by; a wrap-around sports bar, outdoor terrace with BBQ kon tiki bar and fine dining in the Log Room, as well as elegant banquet and wedding facilities. There’s a new Men’s Locker Room and a $ 1.2 million renovation to the Ladies’ Locker Room is scheduled for this fall.
“It’s not just the golf course or the other facilities that make Donalda Club a special place, it’s the wide variety of social activities and programs that bring members together to create the Donalda family,” Mance says. To that point, the club offers weekly jazz nights and monthly five-course wine tasting dinners for foodies. In the fitness studio there’s everything from; Pilates, Yoga, and Aqua-Fit to Interval Training, Spinning and Cardio Kick-Boxing to name-drop a few of the classes; as well as a dietician, massage therapist and 20-plus instructors. For the children there’s; teen yoga, karate, swimming, golf, tennis and curling with amazing clinics, camps and specialized lessons for those ready to take their game to the next level. And let’s not forget the vibrant bridge section.
There is also a wonderful 18-hole layout that has been completely revamped over the past 20 years by architect Tom McBroom, including a course closure from August 2013 to June 28th, 2014. They rebuilt the greens to modern USGA standards with a consistent new look and a weather-tolerant bentgrass turf, plus a few additional tweaks here and there. “Bottom line is that in my opinion, the new Donalda greens are amongst the best in the country for interest, detail and character,” McBroom says.
“Some of our members call Donalda Club their cottage in the city, others will tell you it’s their second home, some families have been here for two or three generations, others are just getting started,” Mance says. “Most of all they’re just looking for a place to relax and the opportunity to spend time with family and friends with a diverse array of fun activities to choose from.”
Since opening in 1960, Donalda Club has been family-oriented and continues that fine heritage today with a great reputation. The Club, which is nearing capacity of 700 families, remains unique in its membership structure as all three levels of membership provide a variety of family options.
Donalda offers a secondary Activity Membership, which allows families to access all activities with limited access to golf. A Dining Membership provides access to the dining & meeting facilities, the pool and bridge groups for the entire family. Total membership is hovering around the 3,000 mark, including about 1,100 members under the age of 26.