Wabeek Country Club looks to best-serve its growing Jewish membership.
In 2019, a small group of investors from diverse backgrounds purchased Wabeek Country Club.
The Bloomfield Hills country club, which is known for its golf experience (particularly its junior golf programs) and resort-style pool, underwent a $10 million renovation that significantly increased its membership.
Since the ownership change, Wabeek’s membership has grown from 150 members to some 400 member families, says Richard Simtob, 53, of West Bloomfield, an investor partner and club board member.
One main contributor to the growth is an increase in Jewish members, which Simtob estimates to be 40% of current membership.
“With the recent push in membership, we’ve got a lot of Jewish members coming from other clubs in the area and young professionals,” explains Blake George, 36, of West Bloomfield, who is also an investor partner and club board member.
Now, with the spike in Jewish membership, Wabeek is currently in the process of forming a Jewish board that will identify ways to best serve its growing Jewish population. Simtob, who is a Congregation Shaarey Zedek member, will be leading the endeavor.
The board will focus on creating and executing Jewish events, holidays and activities, particularly for families with young children. “We’ve talked about potentially having Blue and White Day on May 14,” Simtob says, “and obviously Chanukah is a big one.”
The new committee, Simtob explains, will “figure out what makes sense so we can drive more traffic and let people celebrate their culture, as well as get the kids more involved.”
In recent years, Wabeek has hosted a number of Jewish weddings and hopes to continue serving the Metro Detroit Jewish community as a venue for Jewish lifecycle events, including bar and bat mitzvahs.
The venue can accommodate up to 400 guests, but Simtob explains that the venue can be broken up into smaller events for 100 or 200 people. “We have two lobbies and one big room that can be split down the middle,” he says. “You can have two parties going on at the same time and they’ll never even see each other.”
As for the style of food Wabeek is serving up, George calls it an Israeli-Mediterranean concept within the dining venues that also carries over to banquets. It’s a cuisine that meets many of the cultures that make up most of Wabeek’s membership, which includes a mix of Jewish, Chaldean and other individuals.
“We found that this type of fare made the most sense for our membership,” George says.
George admits that many country clubs aren’t known for having “amazing” food, since they only operate about six months per year, but that Wabeek is trying to change that.
“We want to be the club where the food is next-level, top-notch,” he says.
While Simtob says most people book a year or two in advance for private events, Wabeek can also accommodate last-minute requests, depending on availability.
“We’ve had to do it for a lot of funerals,” Simtob says. “We’ve had events booked three days in advance. That’s something that we do really well.”
Breaking the Norm
In addition to lifecycle events, Wabeek also accommodates smaller celebrations — birthdays, graduations and more, which can be held as a pool party or indoors.
“People are getting very creative utilizing the different venues at our club,” George says.
Now, Wabeek is gearing up for its annual Fourth of July celebration on June 23, which Simtob says the club goes “all out” for. “Fireworks is a huge night at our club,” he says.
However, Wabeek’s new leadership wants to move beyond the traditional country club feel and create an experience that’s more modern and forward-thinking.
“You won’t see wood and mahogany at our club,” George says. “It’s all white marble and beautiful. Our goal is to create something new that doesn’t exist and to reinvent the country club model.”