Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exclusive clubs now free for all

Exclusive clubs now free for all
By: Omi Gurung and Tanu Kulkarni Date: 2009-05-27 Place:Bangalore

Some city clubs are getting off their pedestal and throwing open their doors to non-members this summer. The little income on the side helps in these recessionary times

Clubs, once all toffee-nosed and hoity-toity, have opened their doors to non-members this summer. Call it the recession effect.

Making a splash: Swimming is the main attraction at the clubs during summer, and the pools get crowded because of guests. The club members hope the trend is seasonal

Ironically, the clubs that gained popularity because of the exclusivity they provided are now free for all. With recession pinching, some clubs are conducting coaching camps and even charging a fee for the use of their facilities.

Camps galore

While the Sadashivnagar Club offers tennis and badminton classes through the year, the Malleswaram Club is offering swimming, badminton, tennis and table tennis classes to members and non-members during summer.

And there's also a summer camp on at Patel's Inn in R T Nagar with a host of activities to choose from.

"Even non-members can register and enjoy the facilities for a nominal fee. It's a summer camp that is educating and entertaining at the same time. We call it edutainment," said Shekhar J, manager of Patel's Inn.

"Kids have a lot of free time during summer. Hence, we have started such activities for their recreation," says Krishna Murthy , chairman of Malleswaram Club Association.

With the fee between

Rs 1000 and Rs 1800 per month, people have been lapping up the services offered at Malleswaram Club. But what about the members?

"We have made provisions for the members," says Krishna Murthy. "And they do understand that summer is the only time kids can have fun."

But some members aren't convinced.

"As a member of the club, I cannot avail facilities during summer because of the camps. We do not have a choice. But I'm sure this crowd will disappear in a month's time," grumbles Satish.

Exclusive club

But there are some clubs that are striving to keep their members-only tag.

Anand P B, manager, Palm Meadows Club, says: "We have summer camps going on that include coaching in various sports like swimming and snooker. Since we have elite members from the city, we do not allow non-members to avail the facilities.

Bowring Club also conducts swimming camps and children's camps exclusively for members. In fact, they are so strict about the members-only norm that they have even introduced smart cards.

"This is to make sure our facilities are used only by members and not misused," says Sanchit Sawhney, member incharge of catering .

The step has been appreciated by the members. Since Bowring Club has been registered under the Societies Act as a non-profit organization, making money is not the criterion.

"The moment the club meets its cost of expenditure, we pass on the discounts. Profit is not our concern, only providing quality service is," says Sawhney.

Make a racquet or hit the deck
>>Guest fee: Rs 1,800 for a month
>>Parents are suddenly discovering that they can take their kids to the posh Malleswaram Club for some tennis, while they can indulge in some rummy


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