Business West: The Starting Gate Is Already Turning Some Heads

 on October 4, 2016 in Holiday Party Planner

The Wow Factor

Just over a year ago, the Starting Gate, the banquet component of the GreatHorse golf and lifestyle club, was merely studs on a foundation. But weddings were already being booked for the facility, said GreatHorse General Manager Bryan Smithwick, because those who saw what was done with the course and clubhouse understood that the same attention to detail would prevail in the banquet hall. And the view from the top of the mountain didn’t hurt, either.

As he talked about the Starting Gate, the banquet-facility component of GreatHorse, the exclusive golf and lifestyle club in Hampden opened in 2015, Bryan Smithwick drew a straight line to Disney.

Well … maybe it wasn’t a straight line, but he nonetheless got his point across.

“Disney World is out in the middle of a swamp, the middle of nowhere; yes, there are 10,000 interstates that lead there, but it’s still the middle of nowhere,” he explained, referring to the Orlando area that the entertainment giant chose for its massive developments a half-century ago. “But it’s a destination, a place people want to come to, and then come back to.”

And it is, or will be, like that with the Starting Gate, he predicts, acknowledging that this analogy is far from perfect, but for the purposes of this discussion, it works.

GreatHorse and its banquet facility are, indeed, off the beaten path. The road in front of the picturesque club has two lanes with a solid yellow line in the middle, and if you’re starting from virtually anywhere but Hampden, Wilbraham, East Longmeadow, or Somers, Conn., it takes a while to get to that road.

But when you get there…