Good morning everyone,
It is hard to come up with better news than the Thursday announcement by Ben duPont and Don Wirth to purchase the DuPont Country Club for an undisclosed sum.
The agreement preserves 500 scenic acres that includes three golf courses, a large clubhouse, and the Brantwyn meeting-reception center.
The agreement eases concerns about the property being used for luxury home or commercial development.
DuPont and Wirth plan to pump $18 million into the country club as part of a strategy of making badly needed upgrades that will position the property as a family-friendly destination with amenities that include swimming pools and fitness center.
More amenities could be on the way, depending on membership growth.
It’s an ambitious vision that comes with risks. Many country clubs are struggling these days and the casualties are piling up here and elsewhere.
But even in this environment, a few clubs are prospering by broadening their appeal.
Technology will also be the key in marketing the country club. Ben duPont, a tech pioneer in Delaware and long-time club member announced a country club app for your mobile device.
DuPont and Wirth plan to roll out high-speed Internet and we can expect the aggressive use of social media and other tools to reach their targeted audience.
The strategy will also require a balancing act in keeping long-time members happy and attracting new members. Physical improvements to the golf courses and upgraded dining will go a long way in making the transition to a broader membership base.
The challenge is formidable, but a well-thought-out $18 million investment will go a long way toward keeping the country club relevant.
Remembering John Deming
Finally, I wanted to offer a thought or two on the passing of John Deming.
Thanks, in part, to Deming, Delaware still has the BASF (formerly Ciba) plant in Newport.
The plant was sold by DuPont to the Swiss company, followed by the German chemical giant.
Deming his nearly 40-year career at Ciba, Deming worked hard to make sure that the Newport site was a good neighbor.
It wasn’t the easiest thing to do in a populated area with less tolerance for chemical plants.
New pigment technology for paint used in vehicle and other markets led to an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and many environmental improvements, one reason the plant is still around.
My condolences to his family and friends. Click here for his obituary.
Here’s to a snow-free weekend. This is getting ridiculous. Rain, snow or shine, the newsletter returns on Monday. – Doug Rainey, publisher.