Congratulations to Julius Minarik!

We are pleased to announce that Bonita Bay Club’s Julius Minarik, Breezeway Chef de Cuisine, has been awarded the Certified Culinary Administrator(CCA®) designation by the American Culinary Federation.

A CCA® is a culinary professional who demonstrates proficiency in culinary knowledge, leadership, human resources, operational management and business planning skills.

Please join us in congratulating Julius when you see him around the Club.

Congratulations to Scott Manard!

We are very pleased to announce that Bonita Bay Club’s Scott Manard, Food and Beverage Manager, has been awarded Certified Sommelier designation by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

The corresponding examination Scott successfully passed is composed of a deductive assessment of four wines tasted “blind”, written theory exam and an intensive beverage service practical performed on multiple esteemed Master Sommeliers (there are only 249 individuals with this distinction in the world).

This process was recently refined to make more challenging due to the surging interest in careers within the wine and beverage industry. Earning the title of Certified Sommelier demonstrates skill in salesmanship, the business of beverage program management, tasting ability, and theoretical understanding of the world of wine and beverage.

Most impressive was Scott’s ability to balance his studies with the many demands of peak-season activity. Please join us in congratulating Scott when you see him around the Club.

Congratulations SFPGA BBC Team!

On May 7, the South Florida PGA Foundation had its 9th annual SFPGA Foundation Tire Kingdom Charity Pro-Am at Olde Florida Golf Club. Over $30,000 was raised at this event to support programs administered by the Foundation.

Finishing on top was Bonita Bay Club’s team: Justin Smith, Bob Murphy, Gavin Gillette and Taylor Stewart. Congratulations!

Pickleball Demo and Exhibition Day

We had a great turnout for Pickleball Demo and Exhibition Day on Saturday afternoon at Bonita Bay Club!

Former Wimbledon Doubles Champion Joanne Russell competed on our courts and so did 17-year-old Noah Waddell in men’s singles and a few other pros, including Bonita Bay Club member Nikki Buckmaster, who are all competing in this week’s US Open. Members enjoyed  testing different paddles from Engage, Selkirk and Paddle tech and also loved watching all the action.

– Dominique Levin 

EJ McDonnell Named Southwest Florida PGA Merchandiser of the Year

The Southwest Florida Chapter of the PGA has named Bonita Bay Club Director of Golf, E.J. McDonnell, Merchandiser of the Year in the Private Club category.

Each year this prestigious award recognizes the top golf professional having demonstrated superior skills in merchandising and the promotion of golf with a focus on inventory strength, skillful shop display, staff quality, and merchandising technique.

“This award is a great reflection on our membership and staff, in particular our Retail Manager Lynne Startzel.  Lynne is one of the best retailers in the industry and I am proud to work with her and our staff to meet and exceed member expectations,” EJ said.

Lynne was previously the Retail Manager at Gulf Harbour Golf and Country Club and the Tiburon Golf Resort before joining Bonita Bay Club in 2010, she is a member of the Association of Golf Merchandisers.

E.J. McDonnell has received a number of PGA Awards including the 2008 Assistant of the Year, 2014 Bill Strausbaugh Award for promotion of the game and the PGA, and he was named the 2015 Professional of the Year.

Pickleball’s elite at BBC

Pickleball’s elite practiced at Bonita Bay Club to prepare for the All Star Challenge. Club member Nikki Buckmaster and pickleball and tennis professional Dominque Levin practiced with the country’s best, including Tyson McGuffin, Christine McGrath and Morgan Evans.

Portion Distortion

By Cassandra Golden, Registered Dietitian

Portion distortion. It’s running rampant in the food industry! Portions of food have been getting bigger and bigger over the past 30 years. Restaurants and food manufacturers have increased their portion sizes for various reasons, including the popularity of all-you-can-eat buffets, super-size meals, larger plates/cups, and public demand for, “more bang for your buck”. It appears that society has made us value our dollar more than our health!

For example, the full sized Fuji Apple with Chicken Salad from Panera Bread has about 700 calories, 46g of fat and 47g of carbohydrates! In comparison, the half portion of the strawberry poppyseed chicken salad has less than 200 calories, 6g fat and 20g carbohydrates. Unfortunately, salads can really have a ‘halo effect’, meaning that you automatically think that it’s healthy just because it’s a salad!

If weight loss is a goal for you, consuming smaller portions of food is one of the easiest ways to cut back on calories. Here are some calorie-saving tips that will lead you in the right direction:

  1. Order a smaller size from the menu


  1. Use a smaller plate at home. A study from The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that simply using a smaller plate can help people automatically eat fewer calories.


  1. Customize your restaurant order with dressings, sauces and toppings on the side


  1. Pay once and eat twice by portioning half of your food into a to-go container or Tupperware at home or in a restaurant at the start of the meal


  1. Pay attention to the serving size on packaged foods. For example, if a smaller bag of pretzels contain 2.5 servings per bag…and you eat the whole bag in one sitting, the calories, fat, salt (…and so on) must be multiplied by 2.5!

5 Under-Recognized Weight Loss Tips Backed By Research

By Cassandra Golden MS, RD, LDN

Almost 70% of all American adults are either overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and 13 different types of cancer. Creating small, consistent lifestyle changes overtime will lead to big risk reductions. Here are five strategies that have been proven to be effective for weight loss:

  1. Lift weights
    Following a restrictive diet can result in muscle loss and negatively affect metabolism. Resistance training, (also known as weight lifting) can preserve lean body mass and burn calories more efficiently, which is an important factor for weight loss. This is due to something called excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where the body can take up to 48 hours to return to a resting state after exercise. Calories can continue being burned long after a weight lifting workout is completed. Research from the University of New Mexico found that heavy resistance training burned the most calories after the completion of a workout compared to circuit training and aerobic cycling.
  1. Use a smaller plate
    A study from The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that simply using a smaller plate can help people automatically eat fewer calories.
  1. Use a food log to track calories
    Studies show that tracking what you eat can help create an accurate picture of your calorie and nutrient consumption. Food logs also promote self-accountability and awareness of nutrient intake, which is valuable for weight loss. Free online food logs are available from and
  1. Get a good night’s rest
    Those who sleep less have an increased risk for obesity, as evidenced by cross-sectional studies from around the world. Poor sleep can increase your appetite, increase the chance of insulin resistance, and increase your calorie intake by being less likely to resist temptations and adhere to portion control.
  1. Become an intuitive eater
    Contrary to popular belief, following restrictive diet programs can actually lead to weight gain over time. A recent study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that a weight loss approach focusing on intuitive eating was more successful long-term than traditional weight-loss programs. Intuitive eating considers internal hunger and fullness cues, as opposed to outward cues- such as calorie counting and weight scales.

 As you find ways to incorporate new weight loss approaches into your life, keep in mind the timeless strategies that have also shown to be beneficial- such as cutting out added sugar, processed foods, and refined carbs from your diet. This healthy combination will guide you toward living a healthy life!