Interview with Stephen Havrilla General Manager, Royal Golf Club
The uniqueness of the Royal Golf Club—a golf club with great dining options—makes it unparalleled in Bahrain. What features do you think contribute to its distinctiveness?
We have several dining options available at the Royal Golf Club including our 5 star International menu in Links restaurant, to our unique café style menu in Café T to our Members Lounge pub experience in Hickory’s. We offer live classical and jazz music in Links during our Thursday Vine and Dine and Friday A La Carte Brunch, which gives our diners a unique experience. We also offer diners a choice on the weekends instead of the standard brunch themed offerings we offer our traditional roast dinners and pair that with an unlimited beverage package if they choose. Our menus are seasonal based so the menu items continue to change and stay fresh, which creates a nice variety for our loyal customer base. We also focus our attention on fresh healthy ingredients as well as attentive friendly service.
As a General Manager, what do you labor to achieve in the Royal Golf Club?
Definitely to continue to grow and improve the club based on the strategic direction of the ownership group and make the Royal Golf Club a must-play facility in the GCC and Middle East region. My main focus continues to be to improve the overall experience of the club for all members and guests and making memorable experiences on and off the golf course. I want the facility to be recognized as a tourist attraction for Bahrain and to be an instrumental part of the tourism authority’s future plans to grow tourism as a base commodity for the Kingdom.
Banquets and special functions have also been a big focus for the club as we diversify our offerings and have hosted several large wedding functions.
The Royal Golf Club could be leveraged by hosting a European Tour Event (which we hope will return in the near future) which will bring a golf presence and awareness to the Kingdom and the region. I would also like to continue to grow the game within Bahrain with our continued golfer development and junior programs, which we offer through our Golf Academy, staffed by our PGA Golf Professionals. Having a bigger presence in the local and international schools and working closely with the Bahrain Golf Association is a priority in the development and awareness of the game.
In our last interview with Executive Chef Paul Gindra, he talked about renovations taking place in the restaurants. Are there any other projects in the pipeline?
We are always striving to make improvements to the facilities at the Royal Golf Club and 2018 will be no different. We have proposed capital projects to include golf course improvements with the inclusion of cart path, bunker renovations and landscaping projects to improve the aesthetics of the golf experience. We will also improve our outdoor terrace in Repartee, make improvements to our fitness facilities as well as plan infrastructure improvements to maintain the sustainability of the facility.
The nice thing about the Royal Golf Club is that it’s not just for people who golf. How are you raising the club’s profile to non-golfers?
The Royal Golf Club has many things on offer outside of golf and with the facility being open to all; we have become very flexible to cater to many different requests. We have a full service fitness facility with a functional gym managed by our professional fitness managers to include personal training and fitness classes along with a full-sized swimming pool where we host swimming classes, aqua aerobics and day passes for our outside guests. Banquets and special functions have also been a big focus for the club as we diversify our offerings and have hosted several large wedding functions and this year we are hosting Bahrain’s first International Jazz Festival, which will take place on our driving range facility. We continue to focus on these offerings to raise the clubs profile with the use of social media to reach a broader range of customers.
Ultimately, what do you want the Royal Golf Club to be known for?
I want the Royal Golf Club to be known as a family friendly club that has offerings for both the golfer and non-golfer in the family. I want to be known for our excellent customer service, unparalleled playing conditions as well as our quality food offerings. We are a club that is open to all and we welcome everyone through our gates to enjoy our facilities. I feel we have the right mix of members and non members and a well qualified staff to meet everyone’s expectations.