When it is time to tee it up for a round of golf in Hernando, the old venue is now the new venue with a whole lot more about to be offered.
What was the Hills at Hernando Country Club is now to be called Hernando Golf and Racquet Club, at 1000 Bradley Drive, as of the past week when new owners Drew DePriest, along with brothers Clark and Jon Stevenson, officially took over.
The trio, all DeSoto County businessmen in other ventures, are now embarking on a redesign and revival of facilities that haven’t received much attention recently.
DePriest and the Stevenson brothers also have plans to add more to the facility’s offering.
“We’re going to end up adding some things that weren’t here before, including a whole finished restoration on the inside and exterior of the clubhouse itself,” DePriest said earlier in the week. “We’re adding a pool and we’re not having it away from the clubhouse as it is now and we’re adding tennis courts because tennis is a huge opportunity for us right here in Hernando. Both the tennis courts and the pool will be right up next to the clubhouse, so when people get done and they want to have a meal or have a drink, or something like that where everyone is together.”
Clubhouse renovations are expected to be done within five weeks. The new pool should be done by July.
Initial plans are for three tennis courts at the club but with future expansion to five courts built into the plans.
The renovation of the clubhouse will feature a new and larger kitchen, with a new menu featuring fine dining options, a new casual bar, new dining room, new men’s and women’s locker rooms and an exterior remodel with landscaping.
An outdoor patio and covered area for social events and dining options will also be part of the upgrade.
But upgrading the country club experience for golf and tennis remains the top priority, and not just for the seasoned golfers who already are members. DePriest wants to bring a family experience to the Hernando club.
“There’s no reason we’re going to need to put this into becoming another ‘good ol’ boys’ club’ again,” DePriest said. “They’ve got a great group of people here, but we have the most affluent, younger generation of people in the state. Why not tap into that and get those people to come here and move their families over here and have a place that they can be proud to call their country club?”
All three have been successful in other ventures and are excited about what they are going to bring to the Hernando Golf and Racquet Club.
DePriest has owned Allstar Chevrolet in Olive Branch the past 25 years.
Clark and Jon founded the exercise equipment parts company called Treadmill Doctor.
Clark has several business interests in e-commerce, real estate and hospitality and is a Realtor with Dream Maker Realty in Olive Branch.
Jon founded Stevenson Enterprises six years ago, which is a real estate investment company. He is a football coach at Northpoint Christian School and is on the board of directors for the Touchdown Club of Memphis.
The new owners recently met with the current membership to explain their plans and the response to the new direction has been positive.
“We’ve talked to a lot of people and they are embracing us real well,” DePriest said. “We’re excited about the fact that they see what we’re doing.”
DePriest thinks the focus on the club’s family makeup will help inject new life into the facility.
“They had an older audience and a solid base, so they weren’t going anywhere,” DePriest explained. “I felt like if we did the right thing, we would keep them. Then I looked at the demographics and thought how we could tap into that portion.”
The club has already found a new general manager and will be hiring a food and beverage manager.
“Our general manager Buck Matheny is a Hernando resident and has been around here for a long while,” said DePriest. “He’s a PGA professional and is in marketing right now. He’s big into the golf course community and knows all about running a resort and that’s the kind of guy we need.”
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.