Tequila! Sundaes! Homemade chocolates! Inside golf’s most over-the-top snack shacks

July 3, 2019
discovery land

Meet the souped up, supersized spin on the halfway house. They’re known as Comfort Stations, and you’ll find them planted across more than a dozen courses in the Discovery Land Company’s portfolio of properties. The well-stocked “shacks” are the brainchild of developer and company founder Michael Meldman, a Milwaukee native who in the early ’90s asked a question no doubt shared by many parents clutching this magazine: “How do I get my kids excited about golf?”

Meldman couldn’t get his 5- and 6-year-olds to slip on a polo shirt, much less conform to the game’s fussier traditions. So at his first golf course project, Estancia, in Scottsdale, Ariz., Meldman stashed bananas and sweets in coolers on several tee boxes for his kids to uncover, with the hope that an enthusiasm for the game would manifest from there. The plan worked.

“They’d eat a candy bar and then run to the next tee box,” Meldman says with a laugh. “The whole concept was to make the golf experience more fun.”

Good ideas evolve, and Meldman’s tee-box coolers slowly progressed as he built more golf course neighborhoods. Soon his on-course structures were equipped with margaritas and sundae machines. Then they evolved even further. Homemade chocolates in the Dominican. Tequila-infused cocktails in Los Cabos. A candy stand at Baker’s Bay, Bahamas. Each new Discovery Land station seems to outdo those that came before it.

Discovery Land’s Comfort Stations dazzle at every turn, including at “The Point,” a seaside watering hole located at Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic.
Discovery Land Company

It’s a big hit with the clientele. Discovery Land properties are private (members must own real estate on-site), and the benefits are sweet (that includes the huckleberries at Silo Ridge, in Amenia, N.Y.).

There's a trove of treats and drinks waiting inside the little cabin at Silo Ridge, in Amenia, New York.
Discovery Land Company

“The courses are exclusive and expensive and affluent—but people still like treats,” Meldman says. “They still like fun. We bring that fun into the community.”

The fun extends to Discovery’s laid-back dress code. “I figure these are successful people who know how to act. So you can play barefoot in board shorts and t-shirts if you want,” says Meldman. Given the caliber of cuisine waiting around every corner, elastic waistbands might also be a smart idea.

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