New GM Sets Much Smoother Course for Rye Golf Club

New GM Sets Much Smoother Course for Rye Golf Club: Jim Buonaiuto describes himself as someone who used to be a good golfer. Watching him interact with members at Rye Golf Club, one thing is for sure: he’s a natural general manager.

Published July 17, 2014 5:00 AM
3 min read

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RYE-GOLF-editNew GM Sets Much Smoother Course for Rye Golf Club:

Jim Buonaiuto describes himself as someone who used to be a good golfer. Watching him interact with members at Rye Golf Club, one thing is for sure: he’s a natural general manager.

 

rye-golfBy Robin Jovanovich

Jim Buonaiuto describes himself as someone who used to be a good golfer. Watching him interact with members at Rye Golf Club, one thing is for sure: he’s a natural general manager.

While he’s only been at the helm for three months, Buonaiuto had the members at “I know you’re all ready to move the club forward.” And he already has in a number of important ways.

“In the short term, I am making sure the ‘team’ is putting together a good member experience,” Buonaiuto said during an interview in his office last week. “We’re coming up with social events that include both pool and golf members. We’re exploring crossover ideas.”

To enhance communication, he brought in another membership staffer. For the first time in memory, the Club has a calendar of events. Checking the calendar, they’re hosting Movie Night on July 20. They had a Lobster Bake last weekend.

Having the pool staff in-house, not outsourced as it was previously, has made a big difference, he noted. “They’re cultivating a new culture at the pool and are excited to share their ideas with us. Coach Cathleen Ferguson is doing a terrific job with the swim program. The team won their opening meet.

He credits head golf pro Mike Rapisarda and superintendent Chip Lafferty for all the good things happening on the course. “Mike has enhanced the offerings — handicapped, competitive events. We just held the Metropolitan Golf Association Boys’  Junior Championship Sectional Qualifier, at which 80 young male players competed. Next summer we’re hosting the 2015 Women’s MGA Junior Girls’ Open Championship. Our club is being selected because of the professional way it’s run and maintained by Mike and Chip.”

This summer both the junior clinics and camps are sold out. Rye Golf’s swim team has always been among the top area teams. They’re now considering the potential for a water polo team. Last week, they held a well-attended water polo exhibition.

Through the end of June, dues are up without raising prices. With the House Committee, the Golf Club Commission is reviewing membership categories and the Club’s member base. One of the goals of the nine-member Commission is to reach out to seniors, the general manager noted.

With Lessing’s now the vendor for Whitby Castle, there is a more casual dining atmosphere at the club, said Buonaiuto. “The membership is happy about the change — as well as the elimination of the food/beverage minimum which we were proud to get rid of.”

Lessing’s depends on venues, he said. “They benefit from our million-dollar venue, just as we benefit from their great brand. We’re partners in their success. They brought in two sales people and their 2015 event calendar is already pretty full.”

Buonaiuto’s long-term plan is to make RGC a year-round club and ensure that it does its best to be self-sustaining.

“The first year is the most critical in any job,” he said. “My girlfriend and my family have been incredibly patient. They know that winter is for vacation and family time.”

 

 

 

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