Dormie Network, a growing national network of premier golf clubs, offers members exceptional hospitality and even better golf.
Simple yet unique, the concept honors golf’s roots by investing in its future: the network not only grows through the addition of new clubs, but by reinvesting in course conditioning, amenities, facilities and services. For golf purists seeking world-class courses, Dormie Network delivers nationally-ranked designs from Arnold Palmer, Coore & Crenshaw, Lester George, and Tom Fazio.
It all started with a little-known golf course in the Nebraska countryside and the idea to create a nationwide collection of private clubs. ArborLinks, acquired by Dormie Network in late 2015, sprawls hundreds of acres of native prairie and set the vision in motion.
“From the very beginning,” said Zach Peed, Dormie Network President, “we saw the possibility of something much bolder than any one golf course.”
Ballyhack, with an irresistible location in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Virginia, was also purchased in 2016. Fazio-designed Briggs Ranch in San Antonio, Texas, joined the fold in 2017, but it was the fourth addition – Dormie Club near Pinehurst, North Carolina – that lent its name to the organization. Up next was Top 100 Victoria National in Newburgh, Indiana, in 2018. Hidden Creek in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey – with 14 years among the nation’s Top Modern Courses – is the most recent add.
“We look first at the quality of the course—its layout, design, features, and playability, then we look at it in terms of facilities, upgrades, amenities, overnight accommodations, staffing,” explained Mark Ruhga, Chief Operations Officer at Dormie. “We want to ensure a consistent experience whether guests are here for a weekend getaway or a corporate retreat.”
For avid golfers with high expectations, local country clubs often lack in both play and service. Golf, even at elite clubs, remains a revenue stream alongside other pursuits like tennis and swimming lessons. Quality of play often suffers when the focus is not completely on the golf experience. Even with multiple club memberships, a golfer may find that access and time to play remains limited. For golf purists, the industry doesn’t have a lot to offer, but Dormie Network seeks to fill that need.
With access to a collection of six premier clubs around the nation, Dormie members possess the luxury to pick and choose where they’ll play. Across the board, the emphasis remains on quality of play; course reinvestment is ongoing, from top-to-bottom agronomy planning and equipment fleet upgrades to clubhouse renovations and construction of on-site cottages. The end goal for the Dormie Network then becomes fulfilling the potential of each course to offer an ultra-high-end golf retreat. Part of that equation includes an emphasis on the small details such as a full-service concierge team, performance facilities, comfort stations, club fitting services, and high-end, chef-prepared food offerings.
“Simply put,” said Ruhga, “we’re committed to outstanding service and being the absolute best at everything we do. We dig into the details to create a memorable experience for every guest.”
No matter the course location, guests and members can expect every cottage to be appointed to their preferences. Every chef-prepared meal features local ingredients and seasonal menus. The concierge team waits on-call to accommodate any other need, large or small.
“There are a number of destination golf courses across the country, where you arrive and live out of your golf cart for a few days. The experience revolves around only the play,” Ruhga elaborated. “Dormie Network consists of destination courses, but the experience goes far beyond the greens. Years after you visit our clubs, we want you to remember the play, the meals, the accommodations, and the camaraderie. Our goal is to leave that lasting impression, and we accomplish that with our focus on hospitality.”
Jet Linx clients will find continuity of service and personalization when booking a trip to a Dormie Network club. Transitioning from a private jet to a private course, clients will delight in the practice of anticipatory hospitality; much like on your Jet Linx jet, don’t be surprised to find your favorite beverages stocked in your cottage upon arrival. Dormie Network clubs, by nature of their exclusive membership model and focus on the game, offer entertainment designed for the new normal. Staggered tee times ensure social distancing, meaning safety for you and your chosen golf mates.
Sustaining Optimal Courses and Facilities
The problem with traditional country clubs is that to remain competitive they must diversify – think pool houses and tennis facilities – so course conditions frequently suffer. Quality play remains priority at Dormie Network clubs, so the emphasis is naturally on excellent course conditions. Consistent investments result in pristine greens and unique designs meant to please even the most discerning golfers.
Initial and ongoing agronomic assessments at each club play a crucial role in course management. Dormie Network’s agronomy team takes a long-term approach without neglecting the precious day-to-day details. Each investment in the short- and long-term health of courses contributes to the larger vision where pure golf is the goal.
Clint Tolbert, Dormie Network’s Chief Agronomic Officer, evaluates strengths, weaknesses, deficiencies, and needs to compose a plan of action. “Every club is different—not only in its design and turf, but in its climate, resource requirements, staffing, and overall course conditions,” explained Tolbert. Day-to-day challenges include managing thatch, healthy green growth, airflow and drainage. Long-term projects consist of bunker renovations, cart path reconstruction, green resurfacing and aerification.
The network model allows shared access to a fleet of machinery and nursery greens. Aeration machines are streamlined across the system and implemented by teams of specialists, allowing for quicker and more effective execution. Particularly intrusive aerations that usually require weeks of recovery can instead be accomplished in days. Shorter course closures combined with superior maintenance translate to consistent customer satisfaction.
“Dormie Network is fundamentally about the experience members and guests have on the course,” said Tolbert. Recent examples of intentional improvements aimed to elevate the member experience include a new fleet of electric golf carts and the construction of new cottages.
Unmatched Hospitality On and Off the Greens
A concierge at each club provides genuine hospitality through an endlessly attentive experience. These teams offer assistance for all aspects of buddy trips, business retreats and corporate functions: booking travel, arranging airport transportation and scheduling group activities.
“We’re here to take care of the details, down to a special meal or a particular drink,” explained Chris Graham, Chief Hospitality Officer. “Whether our members want a golf-only experience, more of a tourist experience, or something in between, we provide it for them.”
The Dormie Network’s dedication to excellence translates from the greens to clubhouse kitchens. Chief Culinary Officer Tony Pope carefully selects ingredients, region by region, and works with local farmers and artisans to source only the finest and freshest bounties. Locality and seasonality play an important role when it comes to creating complex flavor profiles.
“At the end of the day, there are hundreds of nice golf clubs in the country,” Graham explained. “While our six courses earn high marks, first and foremost, we’re a hospitality company. Our attentiveness on and off the course truly makes the difference.”
With access to six clubs in Dormie Network – and more to come – plus ongoing improvements and incredible hospitality, it’s impossible to lose.