Sportsman's Country Club hopes to hook some new members with a newly renovated clubhouse bar and dining lounge.
But the club at 4001 NW 39 Expressway, which opened in 1949, is getting more than a face-lift. Directors brought in new management to lead fundraising and improve the place inside and out.
“It's a new day. We're looking forward to showing our members and the community the new look of the club and the additional services and amenities we've added over the last four months,” said Ken Whittington, president of the board. “I'm excited about the future and where we're headed.”
Directors hired Tom Wynn, a Ponca City native, as general manager in September. He has 13 years in club and hospitality management and has a degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Oklahoma State University.
Wynn previously managed the now-defunct Petroleum Club in Tulsa. He was hired to manage the deeply troubled Tulsa club a year ago but with its membership having fallen by half in just two years, it was too far gone and closed in July. Previously, Wynn managed an On The Border restaurant in Tulsa.
Sportsman's Country Club is not in such dire straits — but Wynn said it has seen better days. He said 1994 was its most successful year, with some 1,200 members. Now it has between 500 and 600 members and could use another 100 to be sustainable, he said.
“We are staying out of the red by the seat of our pants,” he said. “It's not a secret. All country clubs, except for Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club and Southern Hills in Tulsa, are suffering.”
Oklahoma City's Tom Hoch Design, recognized nationally as a specialist in club design and renovation, is leading the work at Sportsman's.
Hoch considers club space and how it directly affects revenue from food and beverage service and other operations. Wynn called him “the top gun” in club design. Hoch's work in Oklahoma includes Quail Creek Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City, Tulsa Country Club and Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur.
“We have undergone months of research to determine how we can better serve both current and prospective members, and our No. 1 priority is the improvement of our facilities for the benefit of our members,” Wynn said. “The total experience for our members will be improved from the quality and selection offered on our buffet to the time they spend around the new fire pit on the new outdoor deck.”
He added, “Our concentration, and the reason for our founding, is hunting and fishing, but it's also important that we provide members with a comfortable place to bring the family for a day of relaxation or entertain friends and clients over lunch, dinner or drinks.”
In addition to services and amenities provided at the clubhouse and grounds, Sportsman's offers members more than 60,000 acres of hunting and fishing leases across Oklahoma, several with accommodations.
After a $500 initiation fee, memberships range from a business category at $55 per month to full membership at $176 per month with stockholder and hunting-only categories in between. The club's website is www.okc
With the clubhouse bar and dining lounge — and restrooms — made over, up next is renovation of the main dining room in the 7,300-square-foot clubhouse, a landscaped deck overlooking the club's three pools and 30-acre lake and a 3,500-square-foot open-air pavilion for outdoor events.