A soon-to-be completed addition at the Rockford Park District’s Aldeen Golf Club is expected to benefit both golfers and non-golfers alike in the years to come.
Construction of the Rockford Bank & Trust Pavilion at the course, 1902 Reid Farm Road, started last November is set to conclude in the next few weeks with an opening date next month.
The main feature of the 9,000 square foot building is a massive event space with an exposed rafter celling and grand stone fireplace that can accommodate around 250 guests.
Other amenities will include a full kitchen and event bar, huge glass windows on the south and west sides of the facility which provide stunning views of the golf course, an outdoor pergola and a private bride’s room.
A northward expansion of the golf club’s parking facilities is also underway to accommodate banquet guests.
According to Duncan Geddes, director of golf for the RPD, the Rockford Bank & Trust Pavilion fulfills the long-standing need for a banquet facility at the golf course.
“Originally when the (Aldeen) course was built, we didn’t really anticipate doing a lot of golf play days or outings; but that really became more popular in the 1990s, so we started hosting golf outings,” he said. “A lot of those events wanted food and beverage service before, during or after and we didn’t have a space inside the clubhouse that was big enough.”
Geddes said that a blacktopped pad and tent would serve as a gathering space for golf outings, but the arrangement became problematic in extreme temperatures or inclement weather.
“Through the years, it became obvious that we needed to expand into a covered, full-blown pavilion with removable walls,” he said. “Then, as the idea progressed, the thought was to build an actual banquet facility.”
Most of the financial backing for the $2.7 million pavilion has come from donations by: Rockford Bank & Trust, a naming rights partner, Rick and Lana Engen, the Norris & Margaret Aldeen Foundation and Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center.
Profits from the Rockford Bank & Trust Pavilion, anticipated to be around $150,000 annually, will be reinvested into Aldeen Golf Club to pay off the RPD’s investment into the pavilion.
“As golf revenues have declined, we’ve looked for alternative revenue sources and the banquet business is one that is very popular in the golf industry,” Geddes said.
He added that only about 15 percent of the entire golfing season will be used to host golf outings or tournaments at Aldeen.
“The rest of our season is open for public play, because we are a public course, owned by the Rockford Park District, the citizens and tax payers of our community,” he said.
Banquet services will be provided by Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center which currently operates Graystone Grill at Aldeen Golf Club.
According to Taneel Fraley, director of operations for the Giovanni’s family of brands, banquets at the pavilion will feature many of the same menu items that are available at Giovanni’s Bell School Road location along with some new fare.
“We will offer some staple menu items that have made Giovanni’s successful over the past 40 years and then a lot of new concepts in terms of food and presentation that Al has been working on with our team of chefs,” she said. “There will be lots of customized menus…things that you might not see all the time, with other banquet providers.”
Fraley said that she has already started booking events at the pavilion with the first wedding scheduled for the end of July.
“We have had brides-to-be and their fiancés tour the facility while it is still under construction; so with word of mouth and a pretty big social media presence, we are currently booking out into the fall of 2019.”
The addition of the Rockford Bank & Trust Pavilion at Aldeen Golf Club now puts the facility in the running to host the annual Rockford Pro-Am golf tournament held every July.
“There is talk of Aldeen hosting the Pro-Am next year and in 2020, though it has not been confirmed yet,” Geddes said. “Being able to have this event here was definitely a reason behind building the pavilion on the grounds of Aldeen Golf Club. Pro-Am needed a larger indoor space that what we have previously had and it’s great to get a public course like Aldeen into the Pro-Am rotation.”
Beyond golf outings, play days and fundraisers; the Rockford Bank and Trust Pavilion can accommodate class reunions, weddings, proms and other large gatherings.
“There will be an outdoor multi-use area, to the west of the pavilion building which will be available for outdoor weddings and tents to accommodate golfing events,” Geddes said.
“The synergy of having the golf club, practice center, pro-shop, restaurant, outdoor amenities and banquet facility all in one place is a wonderful setting for golf events or any other party or gathering,” he added.
—- Aldeen Golf Club’s expansive addition an asset for golfers, non-golfers —