(Marin Independent Journal (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 09--Event planners are starting to clamor for time slots at the revamped Peacock Gap Golf Club in East San Rafael where a new clubhouse is serving up 19,400 square feet of party space and countless culinary creations.
When San Rafael-based Syufy Enterprises acquired the bankrupt 50-year-old, semi-private 18-hole golf course in February 2011, the 137-acre property needed a lot of work. Tony Maniscalco, Syufy's vice president of marketing, said they retooled the golf course, installed a restaurant and lastly broke ground on the new clubhouse about a year ago.
Maniscalco said the old clubhouse building was run down and not a place people wanted to hold important events such as weddings and retirement parties.
"It had a ton of problems," Maniscalco said. "It was a very small, long building."
Since opening in December, the $3.5 million clubhouse, a value reported on city documents, has held a number of parties, celebrations, corporate events and business meetings. Maniscalco said there are a handful of events a month scheduled, but they expect more as word spreads of its offerings.
"A lot of people are interested in booking here," Maniscalco said. "Lots of parents who got married here are thrilled their children can, too."
The clubhouse has three ballrooms that have moveable walls, making it possible to have one huge room with space for more than 1,300 people. Each room has a video projector, floor-to-ceiling windows, wireless Internet and views of the golf course and Mount Tamalpais.
At the entrance is a lobby with a dressing room on each side for weddings. On one side of the building is a small club room, suitable for meetings of about 30 people. At the back of the building is a patio with a large lawn area and fire pits.
For chef Mario Pampin Gonzalez, of San Rafael, the crown jewel of the clubhouse is the kitchen. Pampin Gonzalez has been at the club for about three years, first opening the Range Cafe next to the driving range. He said the most difficult meal his team has created so far in the clubhouse has been 750 perfectly cooked filet mignon steaks.
"You have to focus on every single detail," Pampin Gonzalez said. "You ever see 'Iron Chef?' That's my style."
Golfers have noticed the high-quality food and enjoy eating a meal after 18 holes.
Judy Hark and Jim Hark, of Mill Valley, said the food is delicious and the golf course is one of the best in the Bay Area. They said the new clubhouse makes the site more beautiful.
"We golf here a lot because it has a driving range," Judy Hark said. "We just took our first golf lesson here."
The Sons in Retirement Branch 22, a senior men's organization providing fellowship and leisure activities, enjoys a monthly luncheon at the clubhouse. They moved from a different location when they discovered the state-of-the-art building.
SIR 22's member Al Pickrel, of Corte Madera, said he regularly plays golf at the club and is a fan of the new clubhouse.
"It's quite a nice facility," Pickrel said. "The food is good."
He said the new owners also did a good job of fixing the putting greens, which former owner Peacock Gap Properties attempted to update in 2007, but ran out of money and subsequently filed for bankruptcy in December 2009.
Founded in 1941, Syufy -- through its affiliates -- already operates a driving range in Livermore and a golf course in Roseville, as well as drive-in movie theaters, health clubs and public markets. Until 2006, the San Rafael company ran the Century Theatres chain.