Glen Erin Golf Club will cap off work later this spring on a new $2 million banquet and event hall that will give hundreds of guests a bird’s-eye view of the golf course’s tree-lined 18th hole.
In fact, if they want, the bride and groom can get married at the green of the 18th hole.
Rob Vega, Glen Erin’s general manager, said the new Celtic House, a 12,000-square-foot wedding hall rising on a hillside above the golf course, should be ready in time for July weddings.
When completed, the Celtic House will offer perhaps the largest wedding event space in the area. It will have room for up to 500 guests in the 9,000-square-foot banquet space and more room on a side patio and a huge, open-air deck, both of which overlook the 18th hole.
Vega said Glen Erin decided to parlay its scenic surroundings into the wedding business in part to add a year-round revenue stream. The wedding venue will double the number of employees who now work at the privately run golf course, he said.
Located on a glacial hill in the middle of the course, the Celtic House will feature a stony, traditional Gaelic Irish look that complements the existing clubhouse. Its triangular ends, capped at the peaks with a single square helm, face east and west.
The west side offers views of a wooded expanse of the golf course, and that’s where crews Tuesday were setting footings for a deck that will hang over the hillside. It will seat more than 100 people and shade a lower area that will accommodate 120 more.
The upper and lower deck areas will be equipped with an outdoor sound system and electronics to allow couples to host their wedding ceremonies at the 18th hole.
From the deck area, guests could reach the bride and groom with a well-placed chip shot.
Then there’s the view.
“When we were deciding on the layout, we noticed the sunset on that side. We decided that’d be the money view,” Vega said.
The Celtic House is still a few months from completion, but it’s already got about 20 weddings booked between July and October, Marketing Manager Katy Cook said.
Cook, a former event manager at the Geneva National Resort & Club, came on board at Glen Erin in February. Within a few weeks, the Celtic House will have a banquet manager and a chef who Vega said is from Chicago.
The Celtic House already has its wedding menu planned, with appetizers including asparagus and goat cheese pastries and entrees such as a New York strip steak with cognac peppercorn sauce.
Vega said the venue has booked a number of other events, from conferences to craft beer festivals. However, brides and grooms will be its focus.
“It’s weddings, plain and simple,” Vega said.
Vega said Glen Erin had looked at smaller-scale plans for a wedding venue, but it found demand in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois for an events venue that could fit 400 to 600 people and had an in-house kitchen and a setting that’s rural and scenic.
The golf course’s closest neighbors are farm fields, and the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport is located to the north.
Vega and Cook said Chicago couples have gravitated to the new venue, even as marketing for the Celtic House has just gotten off the ground. Vega said size matters, but it’s also a singular, picturesque location that sells itself.
“It’s the ability to kind of be off the beaten path. A lot of similar venues in town are either right off the Interstate, and you’re next door to a McDonald’s or a fire department or a main drag,” he said.
“You have your dedicated parking here. The golf course and hills and trees surround you. You have a dedicated building, so you’re not sharing a hallway with the wedding down the hall.”