Photographer / Whitney Williams
Harbour Trees Golf Club will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. A decade ago, Owner Andy Gigante added the Harbour Trees Beach Club, which offers tennis, dining, boating and swimming. Even though the facility is a private club, it serves as a community hub for North Harbour.
“Before the Beach Club existed, Harbour Trees had something for the golfing family but not the whole family,” Gigante says. “I had a golf pro tell me once, ‘If you win the families, you’ll win in this business.’”
It was sound advice.
Over time, the Beach Club’s popularity soared. As more and more people began expressing an interest in booking rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and other events at the club, it became clear that club leaders needed to expand services for members.
Last fall several renovation projects began under Blaze Construction, Inc., including an upper deck called the Treehouse, which is essentially an upstairs bar that can hold approximately 180 to 200 people. The new second-floor bar and deck spans 2,466 square feet.
According to Gigante, the renovation also involved increasing the size of the kitchen by 985 square feet, in order to handle the restaurant load while simultaneously accommodating banquets and private parties. The club leaders also added 800 square feet to the gym because of an increasing interest in yoga, Pilates and other floor exercises.
“We didn’t have the room for that with all of the equipment, so we created a space lakeside that can open up to the water,” Gigante says. “The views are something to see on a beautiful evening. We’re excited about that.”
As one might expect, summer is the club’s busy season when people attend for social reasons.
“What distinguishes us from every other club is that we have this wonderful asset right on our doorstep, which is the lake,” Gigante says.
Harbour Trees is the only club in the Indianapolis area that adjoins Morse Lake.
“Lake culture is deeply rooted in everything we do, from the colors we use to the food we serve to the attire people wear,” Gigante says. “We are very relaxed in our way of doing business.”
Attendees often go from the Golf Club to the Beach Club, which means lots of swimsuits and sandals.
“We live by the set of rules that you do along the lake, which is that typically on the weekend, you don’t have to go far to have a great time,” Gigante says.
While location is a key to the facility’s success, Gigante points to the people as the secret sauce.
“We have some of the best people and families – without them, it wouldn’t be what it is,” says Gigante, who also appreciates his staff.
Though club leaders have increased deck capacity by approximately 400 to 500 square feet due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year they won’t be able to maximize it. While they would love to hold a grand opening, that’s not in the cards either.
“After an expansion, everyone is excited to use it, and our members are no different,” Gigante says. “This spring and summer, cars, bikes and golf carts were always coming by the site to check on the progress. Unfortunately, this year we can’t go full throttle into service.”
The club has yet to hold any events since reopening after renovations, but leaders look forward to getting back to the old ways of lakeside live music as soon as they are able. For now, the added space helps to spread out guests, allowing for social distancing.
“We’ve managed to utilize our space better,” Gigante says.
The club has also taken innovative measures in terms of remote capability with the kitchen setup. A server can take an order on the deck, and the order is then routed to the kitchen, thereby minimizing human interaction.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that more and more people will start feeling more normal and comfortable,” Gigante says. “It’s our job to make sure we keep everyone socially distant and provide a safe environment.”
Gigante says the Beach Club has been instrumental in teaching children how to interact with adults and learn about rules, behavior and safety.
“The socialization for the children is as big a benefit of the Beach Club as anything,” he says. “They are learning social graces and behavioral lessons that will make them better human beings in the future. I’m proud of that.”
Plus, people of all ages make friends at the club.
“Walking into the Harbour Trees Beach Club is a lot less intimidating than walking into a traditional golf and country club,” Gigante says. “Here, everyone immediately feels at home.”
Harbour Trees Beach Club is located at 100 Clarendon Drive in Noblesville. For more info, contact them at 317-877-3616 or visit harbourtrees.com.