Front and Center

By | January 25th, 2018

The Country Club of Rochester (N.Y.)

More club properties are investing in prominent fitness facilities with the latest amenities that meet the needs of wellness-minded members.

The New Year poses a prime opportunity for club properties, as members look for a convenient setting where they can fulfill their resolutions for maintaining (or just beginning) a healthy lifestyle. To position themselves as the workout place of choice, clubs are enhancing their fitness facilities and amenities with updated equipment, ample space for group classes, and motivational wellness programming. Such improvements to this facet of club life can help management maximize member benefits while providing a truly all-inclusive package for an increasingly health-conscious community.

Fitness for All
Staying in shape is not just a perk of membership at The Country Club of Rochester (N.Y.)—it’s a central element of how the property itself has been designed.


• Setting aside areas for personal training and group-fitness classes expands the usefulness of gym space.
• Appropriate flooring provides a cushion for safe workouts, aids in noise reduction, and can even help with temperature control.
• Adding technology-driven extras, such as equipment with interactive consoles and Wi-Fi capabilities, lets members stay connected during their workouts.

With dated pool and fitness facilities that were in need of capital improvements, along with a growing interest among members to have a casual dining option on site, the club had the opportunity to create a member activity center that utilized existing space, says Chief Operating Officer Michael Smith. The club broke ground in October 2015 and held its grand opening of Thistle Hall the following May.

Boasting 12,000 sq. ft. of space that includes three fitness facilities upstairs and casual dining on the lower level, Thistle Hall is a comprehensive, flourishing lifestyle center. Thistle Fitness, taking up about half of the total square footage, is a 4,200-sq. ft. area with over 30 cardio and strength-training machines and space for personal training, along with a 1,300-sq. ft. classroom studio for group-fitness classes.

The main fitness center overlooks the club’s Olympic-sized pool, while the studio overlooks the 18th green of the golf course. High-end rubber flooring with extra insulation in the upstairs areas prevents vibration and noise from affecting the lower-level dining facility. Three different sound systems—one for each area of Thistle Fitness—provides adequate acoustics, while energy-efficient LED lighting is used throughout Thistle Hall.

The Country Club of Rochester (N.Y.)

In the classroom studio, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and barres along the walls, offer plenty of room to move about. Group classes range from yoga and Pilates to boxing and group cycling, many of which are available at no extra charge to members. “Our Athletic Director Anne Osovski, along with ten on-site instructors and personal trainers, are available for individual and group training,” notes Smith.

With a strong emphasis on incorporating wellness into its programming, Osovski works with a nutritionist to offer a “Healthy Living” series of fitness and cooking classes for members and guests throughout the year. The program doubles as a promotional tool for the fitness facility. “[It] provided us with the opportunity to engage members, educate them, and encourage more involvement in our fitness programs,” says Smith.

Those who don’t partake of these classes can still utilize the casual-dining area, which is easily accessible on the first floor. “After a workout, a member can grab a quick beverage at our smoothie and barista bar, or stay for pub-style dining without having to change into proper club attire,” Smith adds.

Thanks to the addition of Thistle Hall and Thistle Fitness, The CC of Rochester has been able to better appeal to its membership and attract more business. “We are seeing members of all ages using the club regularly, due to the family-friendly environment that Thistle Hall offers,” says Smith.

Trending Workouts

As club and resort facilities set out to design effective (and well-used) fitness centers, keeping tabs on “what’s next” in the fitness industry can help inform design decisions—even if that just means adding a few hundred additional square feet as flexible space.

According to an annual survey from the American College of Sports Medicine, the top 10 fitness trends for the 2018 include:
1. High-Intensity Interval Training
2. Group Training
3. Wearable Technology
4. Body-Weight Training
5. Strength Training
6. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals
7. Yoga
8. Personal Training
9. Fitness Programs for Older Adults
10. Functional Fitness

The Country Club of Rochester (N.Y.)

Starting Anew
When the GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness facilities and management system acquired St. Joseph Country Club in Country Club, Mo., last year, it was with a specific goal in mind: to add a robust fitness element to the club’s business model.

St. Joseph CC’s clubhouse was built in 1922 and has been rebuilt over the years, “basically from top to bottom,” says General Manager Mike Habermehl. “We have a large clubhouse [where] we can host large food-and-beverage [offerings] and other [amenities],” Habermehl says.

In fact, the clubhouse’s size—28,000 sq. ft.—allowed for including a fitness facility without disrupting the dining and social elements already provided by the club, says Glen Davenport of Davenport Contracting, which managed the project.

After breaking ground in June 2016, construction was completed in late November and the fitness center officially opened in December 2016. Divided into two main zones, the fitness center is comprised of a 2,000-sq. ft. cardio and elliptical area and a smaller 600-sq. ft. spot for free weights and personal training. Twenty-one full-view windows in the larger space provide a southerly view over the golf course and pool, while the area for free weights and training is in a more-private setting.

The cardio and elliptical area has carpet tiles and 12-foot ceilings, to house the step machines and provide what Davenport describes as a “bright, roomy feel. Most times, members working out have a partner, so the layout was set to accommodate partners working out together,” he explains.

St. Joseph Country Club, Country Club, Mo.

In contrast, the free weights and training area features rubber flooring, for low impact and better grip. The flooring’s substructure has three thicknesses of sheeting, to cushion and reduce noise quality for the locker rooms below.

LED lighting in over 50 fixtures ensures adequate illumination, while the HVAC system is designed to perform multiple air exchanges per hour. “This is to keep a fresh scent of free air throughout the center,” explains Davenport.

Smart technology running from an iPad, located in a central hub in the fitness center, controls music, seven large televisions, lighting and Wi-Fi.

While personal training takes place in the fitness center, the club can host large and small group-fitness classes in the nearby banquet room.

Room to Stretch Out
At Park Meadows Country Club (PMCC) in Park City, Utah, a newly renovated fitness center was unveiled in November 2017 as part of a complete clubhouse renovation. “It was expanded to accommodate [our] growing membership and the desire for an updated fitness room,” says General Manager Damon Rodgers.

Park Meadows Country Club, Park City, Utah

Plans for the project began developing in early 2016. Offering a comprehensive, one-stop shop for members’ fitness needs, the 2,000-sq. ft. facility houses cardio equipment that includes three treadmills, three elliptical cross-trainers, an elliptical machine, three bikes and a rowing machine. Each piece of equipment is enhanced with interactive consoles, USB-charging ports and iPad holders. A Pilates machine helps members who need to manage orthopedic and chronic-pain conditions, while stacked weight machines and free weights provide strength-training opportunities.

A separate 600-sq. ft. movement studio is outfitted with Wellbeats on-demand fitness technology, which provides members with streaming exercise videos to enhance their individual workout routines. “The system allows members to take a class virtually anytime they’d like,” says Tracey Harty, PMCC’s Marketing and Communications Manager. “Members can grab a few friends and take a class together, which has been happening already.”

The main fitness facility is designed with non-porous, low-odor rubber gym flooring that Rodgers cites for its durability. In contrast, the yoga studio features a heating membrane underneath vinyl flooring that resembles wood. “It provides members comfort as they do yoga classes and mat work,” Rodgers says. New windows throughout the space allow members to take in the mountain views during their workouts.

Another 800-sq. ft. space is reserved for functional fitness and group classes, both of which were high on members’ wish lists. Classes are expected to begin following the holiday season—just in time for members to kick off their healthy-fitness resolutions for the New Year. The roster of available group classes includes yoga, Pilates and cycling.

“These improvements give the club added flexibility, to do things we couldn’t host in the past,” notes Rodgers.

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