Interview by Derek Grosso
Originally from the Cleveland area, Daniel Hug moved to Columbus in 2016 to take on the role of Director of Membership and Marketing for Brookside Golf and Country Club. Those who may be unfamiliar with the 90-year old club (it was founded in 1927!) will find it nestled within 260 acres of pristine landscape between Dublin and Worthington on SR-161. Before moving to Columbus, Daniel was in management at two other private clubs, The Union Club of Cleveland, Downtown, and Westwood Country Club in Rocky River, OH, and with a chain restaurant. He is a graduate of both Cleveland State University (MBA, Marketing) and Youngstown State University (BSAS, Hospitality Management). And with a last name like Hug, it comes as no surprise that Daniel is making quite a name for himself in the hospitality industry!
Name: Daniel Hug
Company and Job Title: Brookside Golf and Country Club, Director of Membership and Marketing
“I enjoy my position at Brookside Golf and Country Club – it allows me to interact with club members and the entire Columbus community in multiple ways. Job #1 for me is to introduce new members to our club’s growing membership. New members find out about Brookside through multiple channels, including our current members, the club’s website and through our efforts in community networking including several area chamber of commerce groups and the Columbus Young Professionals Club,” he said. Asked why he chose Columbus, Daniel offered the following: “The Columbus area is growing so quickly and offers a great deal of opportunity in the Hospitality and Marketing fields. Columbus is a very livable city with great outdoor spaces, a fabulous restaurant scene, and everything is less than 30 minutes away!”
Tell us a little about the history of Brookside Golf & Country Club:
Founded in 1927, Brookside Golf and Country Club features a beautiful tree lined, 18-hole golf course that has been host to many U.S. Open Sectional Qualifiers as well as the 2012 Ohio Amateur and the upcoming 2018 The Trans-Mississippi Amateur. Over the club’s 90 year history, we have continuously evolved as Columbus has grown and changed as a region. Looking at the past 12 months alone, Brookside has experienced significant change and the club has strengthened its stance as the most desirable Golf and Country Club in Central Ohio. In 2016, Brookside’s members approved a strategic plan to ensure that the club continues to be aligned with the needs of its current and future members. One of the largest aspects of this strategic plan was the completion of a $2.5M construction and renovation project that touched multiple areas of the club including the golf course, pool and clubhouse. Within the clubhouse, many of the dining areas were renovated and we introduced a brand-new causal pub concept.
What makes it desirable to be affiliated with Brookside?
Brookside’s membership offers social and golf categories with attractive pricing available for those members under the age of 40 years old – which is our fastest growing group of members.
Tell us about your neighborhood, Westgate:
It is truly a hidden gem in Columbus with beautiful homes and great neighbors. It is located just 4 miles from downtown and provides residents with easy freeway access to get to any part of town quickly. In June, several neighbors showcased their homes in the Westgate Home and Garden Tour and the community celebrated Summer Jam West this month. The neighborhood boasts a thriving farmers market twice every month throughout the summer and frequent Food Truck visits at the Westgate Lodge.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
What gets me up in the morning is coffee – I never leave home without it! On a more serious note, I enjoy knowing that I had a positive impact on someone throughout the day. Sometimes that person is a co-worker, a friend, or member of the club. In my role at Brookside, I am able to interact with members in their early 20’s and members who are nearly 100 years young. (The club’s oldest member just turned 98 years old and comes to the club weekly!)
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I think back to my very first job quite often. My manager told me to smile before I answer the telephone. He told me that the person on the other end will know it – and I believe it! I think of this every time I take (or make) a phone call. I was told by a manager I respect that a good company should always strive to be “easy” to do business with. Ask yourself, from your customer’s perspective, are you “easy” to work with? Does your organization make it “easy” for customers to have their questions answered? Complete a transaction? Make a purchase? You might be surprised by the answer! Also, make lists. Lots of lists. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you can cross off every item on the list and move on to the next one.
How do you achieve success in spite of the hustle and bustle? And how do you unwind?
We have a great team at Brookside and I know that I can always count on many of my co-workers to assist when needed. When it is time to unwind, I have found that Columbus is home to more festivals and events than any one person could possibly attend! I have enjoyed learning more about the community and exploring the city.
Tell us about a Brookside initiative that you’re most passionate about?
Brookside has a great partnership with the Columbus Young Professionals and we are having a YP Networking Event on Tuesday, July 18 at 6:00pm. We have invited members of the CYP Club to Brookside for an after-work mixer for CYP members, Brookside members, and friends. While networking over cocktails and appetizers, participants will also have the chance to learn a few golf pointers from one of our Golf Professionals. As I mentioned, the “Under 40 Crowd” is the fastest growing membership segment right now and Brookside is excited to introduce the club to these new members. Our club offers a beautiful, tree-lined golf course, a fantastic dining experience, state-of-the-art athletic facility, family programming and events, swimming pool, and tennis. Since April 1, the club has approved 29 new member families – and they are raving about their experience so far!
What’s the coolest thing about Columbus right now?
It’s growing! Everywhere I look I see new apartment complexes, single family homes, office buildings, restaurants, and entertainment districts. Columbus has something for everyone while still maintaining a very “midwestern” vibe. I see license plates from all across the country in my neighborhood as people are moving to Columbus from big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta.
What’s the coolest thing about your industry right now?
The hospitality industry is currently seeing big gains. Technology will play a big part in this growth, from fast food restaurants to hotels, and yes, even private clubs. At Brookside, we have taken steps to embrace technology, from a recently refreshed mobile app to tablets on the bar, and will continue to do more as our membership gets younger.
Which organizations are you involved with around the community?
Columbus Young Professionals Club (CYP Club), Worthington Chamber of Commerce, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and Cleveland State University’s Young Alumni Council.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Busy! There are so many fun things to do in Columbus, the city has a young population, and it is growing. That sounds like a recipe for success!