By Tamika Matthews, Belvoir EagleApril 29, 2011
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - Jeff Lychwick is working hard to change the perception of the Fort Belvoir Golf Club to one where both military and civilian patrons are welcome.
He said he believes people think Belvoir is a private club, which deters much of the general population from buying annual memberships.
"I would say the majority of members here are retired military, then active duty or DoD civilians," he said."
Recruiting those outside Belvoir's gates, Lychwick said, helps the club's number one mission: to serve the Soldiers. The additional money means the course can offer more support and new programs for the military.
"For that reason, we hope to generate as much revenue as possible," he said.
Part of the problem is a stagnant economy where golf is considered a luxury.
"Right now, the course is underutilized because the demand to play golf has been down, from an economic standpoint, for the past five years," Lychwick said. "The economy is hurting people. It's putting the squeeze on Families. We don't get those discretionary dollars because people don't really have them anymore."
Lychwick is confident Belvoir's burgeoning population as a result of Base Realignment and Closure will encourage more club membership in the coming months.
"We offer a 10 percent discount to new members, which means any person who was not a member last year," he said. "We're using that to attract the BRAC market as a way to welcome them to Belvoir."
The club staff has been busy at work preparing the course for the upcoming season. Several tall trees have been removed to allow more morning sunlight to hit the greens, which helps grass conditions. Underbrush was removed to promote proper airflow along the course.
"I'm optimistic about the course conditions," Lychwick said. "They're probably the best we've had in a long time, thanks to the attention they've received.
"It helps that the Commander in Chief has played here," he continued, recalling several visits by President Barack Obama in the past two years. "We really want to maintain those standards."
Fabulous Fridays, the club's annual weekly summertime wind down celebration, started Friday and continues through August.
"Fabulous Fridays is always good for us," Lychwick said. "We have a popular menu and reasonable costs for range balls. It's a good way to end the week."
A bucket of range balls are available with a food or beverage purchase. Patrons may also buy a range token for $5 and get a second one free.
Live entertainment is available monthly.
Children under 17 are eligible for a free range token for same-day use. Parents must supervise their children and may not hit range balls in their place.
More information on the Fort Belvoir Golf Club is available at 703-806-5878 or belvoirmwr.com/facilities/golf.-