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Westborough Country Club: The Kids are Alright

Westborough Country Club (WCC) in St. Louis, is an unmistakably family-focused club. Nestled in a neighborhood bustling with young, active families, WCC offers its members—85% of whom live within a five-mile radius—a year-round slate of

sporting and leisure activities for all ages. Engaging young members, making them feel comfortable at the club and encouraging them to frequently bring guests has been a strategic initiative membership has truly embraced.

WCC is now seeing the results of its efforts in the form of increased membership numbers and surging usage by younger members and their families. And those “younger” members have gotten younger: In 2003, the average age of WCC members was 59; in 2015 it was 51; and in the last five years that age lowered even further to 46.

In addition to an 18-hole golf course and two family-friendly dining spaces, the club’s amenities include a resort-style pool, lap lanes, a baby pool, a full-service poolside restaurant and bar, four outdoor hydro-grid clay tennis courts, a state-of-the- art fitness center available seven days a week, childcare options and programming and instruction for everyone from pee-wees through retirees.

In 2009, WCC completed a $5.5 million renovation that included significant upgrades to its golf course, an expanded and revamped fitness center, an enhanced pool area, and a new casual dining room, freshening the club’s appeal for younger, more active members (and, of course, prospective members) and their families. Unfortunately, the recession took a toll, and the club experienced an exodus of members due to financial hardships. The leadership stayed focused on the end game and decided to decrease initiation fees and offer a scaled annual dues system to ease the financial commitment and make the club more palatable to younger families. By 2016, they were able to restore the initiation fee and it has increased incrementally each year.

General Manager Jim Capek has been at WCC for five years and speaks with clear admiration about the members he serves. “The unique culture here at Westborough is one that really welcomes families and encourages them to feel at home in every inch of the club. That is a direct result of the board really stepping up to sell the idea to the members-at-large that it was in the club’s best interest to offer these financial incentives to attract the next generation of WCC members. This club’s founders were legendary for their tenacity … the WCC board members have picked up that mantle and honored that tradition of tenacity, which instigated a culture shift that has been a pleasure to witness and has truly secured the club’s legacy,” he said.

In 2018, the membership—which was by then more diverse than ever—overwhelmingly approved another round of improvements to secure WCC’s future. With extreme precision and execution, the club underwent a $2.5 million renovation in just five months, transforming Westborough into a decidedly modern space with upgrades touching nearly every corner of the clubhouse. WCC members enjoy a contemporary bar, restaurant and outdoor veranda, as well as a completely remodeled clubhouse, ladies’ locker rooms, entryway, kitchen, formal dining room and event space. WCC’s adults-only bar and restaurant, Bendelow’s at Westborough, pays homage to prolific golf course architect Tom Bendelow and provides a casual dining space for members that is a great source of pride.

“Bendelow’s was a turning point for us; it is a destination in its own right with a vibe that rivals any scene in town—top- notch without being stuffy—and members are proud to host guests here. Three years ago, we brought in Chef Alejandro, and he has created a menu that really resonates with members and is consistently praised,” Capek said.

Five years ago, WCC was down 100 members, but upon Bendelow’s opening, women began coming to the club on their own or in groups, members began entertaining at the club more frequently, and the membership began to increase by 73 (2019), 97 (2020), and 83 (2021) new members annually. WCC started its waitlist in 2020, and there are currently 47 people on the golf waitlist (about two years) and 36 on the social waitlist (about 1.5 years), with this past year’s attrition rate a modest 4%. Furthermore, as Bendelow’s has become the main dining outlet at the club, member spend on F&B has increased 75%.


WCC’s youth programming offers numerous opportunities to get kids active and engaged at an early age, engendering a love of an active lifestyle on the course, on the courts and in the pool. While it remains to be seen whether this will translate into lifelong memberships, the evidence supports a

trend in that direction. For instance, the youngest member category at the club—21 to 34-year-olds—boasts an impressive 60 full golfing memberships and has increased. The social membership category, which tends to skew younger than the golfing memberships, has a steady inflow of younger families as well.

With all the sporting and leisure opportunities, a full calendar of family social events and many cherished traditions, Westborough is central to the lives of its families. Members are dedicated to interacting across generations and fostering an age-inclusive community.

“Westborough is a comfortable and welcoming place. I think the culture of authenticity and genuineness coupled with excellent service is what’s striking a chord with the younger set,” Capek noted

Junior Programming is vibrant and central to the club’s programming, and members are more than happy to clear the course or courts for junior activities and instruction. In 2021, WCC had 200 kids on its swim team, approximately 300 participants in the Jr. tennis program, and 184 Jr. golf participants, 38 in the PGA Jr. League, and 63 in WCC’s Operation 36 program.