By becoming a member of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Sylvania Country Club demonstrates its dedication to the growth of the region and to its members and employees. We sat down with Roger Parker, general manager for the club, to discuss the club’s history and how the organization has changed over the course of more than a century.
The Sylvania Country Club is unique because it is member-owned and managed by a board of directors. The course was designed by professional Scottish golfer Willie Park Jr., who has designed courses all over the world, from the Old Course of the Sunningdale Golf Club near London and the Weston Golf and Country Club in Toronto, to the Hot Springs Country Club in Arkansas and the north course of the Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago.
“I truly believe that it’s a cultural center. What I mean by that is that we pride ourselves on being a family-oriented country club,” Parker says. “We provide the finest experiences for families and, to me, that is a community attribute, and not only is the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce having their functions here, but the Sylvania Chamber supports that mission. So, we act as a community center."
The cultural aspects of the center don’t end with club members. That family-friendly culture permeates through staff as well.
“We’re all about our employees, their families and being part of the team,” Parker says. “One of the things I really enjoy about the club is most of our workforce, especially in the summer, is all local students. We have a caddy program here that’s just phenomenal; we have put through so many aspiring caddies that want to grow into the golf industry. We participate in the National Evans Scholar Program, which provides scholarships to caddies to the college of their choice. Our members and staff fully support the program and we are proud of the many caddies who have received scholarships. We’re really proud of this family culture that we’ve brought down to the employee base as well.”
“We take pride in having a full calendar of events during the cold season – and not just for adults, but also for children,” he says. “Family movie nights, sleepovers, of course the dining room activities, wine tastings; we’re the only club that doesn’t shut down for any period of time.”
If you get the chance to talk with Parker, it’s easy to see that the family-oriented culture he talks about truly does permeate throughout the members and employees.
“When I sit back and watch the folks coming in with their families, it’s not about the money at that point, but it makes the staff feel good. I have members telling me that, ‘My mom and dad brought me here all the time. They’re memories my family will keep for the rest of my life,’” Parker says. “That’s what drives me.”
“Get out in the community. Get involved. There are so many avenues – the Chamber would be one, EPIC Toledo would be another,” Parker says. “You can’t live in a silo and look out the window and think they’re going to come to you. You have to be part of an association affiliated to your business.”
For folks interested in getting into the hospitality business or, more specifically, the country club business, Parker suggests looking at the wealth of opportunities that exist here in northwest Ohio. He names the Toledo Chamber, Sylvania Chamber, local community colleges and universities, and PENTA Career Center as organizations that support the community. Between the many internships in the culinary and hospitality industries, young professionals interested in country club work and the hospitality industry in general have plenty of opportunities to accelerate their careers.
“I enjoy downtown Toledo. I really do,” says Parker. “At least once a weekend, I’m down there seeing friends out at restaurants and, having been in town forever, I know most of the folks that have restaurants down there. Everything going on down there is so fabulous, and I encourage it however I can support it. I feel very strongly about a healthy downtown Toledo.”
For any additional questions or comments, please contact Amanda DePerro, communications manager, at email@example.com.