As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, one of the oldest private clubs in Naples, Fla., will give its clubhouse a facelift that will add more seats for casual dining, new locker rooms and a multipurpose room for meetings and other activities, along with a veranda offering outdoor dining overlooking the golf course.
One of the oldest private country clubs in Naples, Fla. is getting a new look as it celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Naples Daily News reported.
On April 4, the Country Club of Naples launched a multimillion-dollar renovation project to help keep it competitive, the Daily News reported. The clubhouse will get a $7.6 million facelift to give it a modern look for members and make it more attractive for private meetings and charity events.
C&RB reported on the planned renovation last year (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2015/06/04/the-cc-of-naples-fla-plans-7-5m-facelift/).
The latest improvements will include more seats for casual dining, new locker rooms, and a multipurpose room for meetings and other activities, the Daily News reported. The clubhouse also will get new air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as an interior makeover. A veranda will be added, offering outdoor dining overlooking the golf course.
The club also will get a freshening up on the outside, with new colors and new roofing that will give it an “old Florida” look, the Daily News reported.
The renovation project is the result of a survey of the club’s members, who were questioned about the steps the club should take to ensure it remains vibrant and continues to draw new members as others move on, the Daily News reported.
Because the club’s infrastructure needed to be updated, it made sense to look at other improvements that could be done at the same time, General Manager Tim Lynch told the Daily News.
“It’s a very competitive market. You do have to keep up with the other clubs,” Lynch said.
Members, who will foot the bill for the improvements, approved the project with a 70 percent vote in favor of it, the Daily News reported.
“We configured the scope of work based on how much money they wanted to spend. I mean, we let them literally set the price,” Lynch said.
Members were involved in every step of the approval process, which included focus groups, town-hall meetings and a design concept survey. They will pay for the improvements through increases in their annual dues, the Daily News reported.
“There were no huge assessments. Let’s put it that way,” Lynch said.
If members leave the club before the debt is paid off, they won’t have to continue paying for the project, the Daily News reported. Bank of America is financing the improvements.
The renovation will touch every room that members use. One of the biggest changes will be the expansion of the outdoor patio for dining. The patio, which now holds 20 members, will have enough room for 65.
Inside the club, there will be more casual spaces, with glass walls that can be folded out of the way to bring the outdoors inside.
“On nice days, it will be an absolutely fabulous place to go,” Lynch said.
Other changes will include a sports bar, with an 8-foot TV in the middle, where members can gather after a round of golf.
“Everything is changing inside,” said Holly Stephens, the club’s Director of Membership and Marketing. “Everything will be all new. It will look like a brand-new club.”
Built in 1962 as the Big Cypress Golf and Country Club, the club was going to be part of the first country club community in Naples, until the deal fell apart, the Daily News reported. While homes were later built around it, the private club is not tied to any community, with memberships open to anyone who qualifies, not just the residents who surround it.
Members purchased the club from the developer for $700,000 in 1966, renaming it the Country Club of Naples, as it became one of the first private country clubs in Naples. (The Hole in the Wall Golf Club opened in 1957.)
“We were considered way out there. Now we’re downtown,” said Stephens.
The club sits on 160 acres, with about 150 homes around it in the Big Cypress and Northgate communities of Naples. Many of the club’s members live west of U.S. 41 in such neighborhoods as Park Shore and Old Naples. Only a handful of members live in the closest neighborhoods, the Daily News reported.
In 2009, the club’s 18-hole golf course was renovated, including a rebuilding of all the bunkers and tees, as well as new drainage, irrigation and landscaping that restored the course’s “old Florida” feel with the addition of cypress trees and native grasses, the Daily News reported. The clubhouse, spanning 26,600 square feet, was last renovated in 1991.
“We are as well-known for our social events as for our great golf course, and it always was that way,” Stephens told the Daily News. “If you look back to the ’60s, this was the social club.” The club also includes tennis courts and a swimming pool that are open to all members.
The club has 288 full golf members, near its cap of 290, the Daily News reported, and a total of 440 members, including those in social and young-executive categories. There are five membership types. Full golf members pay a $25,000 initiation fee plus annual dues.
Membership is always in flux, Stephens said. “Women are driving the game here,” she said. “I would say in Naples you have more women now playing. Golf is growing through women.”
Women, she added, like the club’s golf course because it’s walkable, allowing them to get more exercise. “Over 45 percent of our golf rounds are now being played by women,” Stephens said.
While most members are in their early 60s or older, the improvement project is attracting new members already, Stephens added.
The renovations should be done by Thanksgiving, in time for the club to carry out its holiday tradition, the Daily News reported.
“We’re taking reservations for Thanksgiving,” Lynch said. “We always cook 60 turkeys for Thanksgiving. It better be ready. Otherwise, I’m stuck with 60 turkeys.”
“The only delay should be the weather,” Lynch added, noting that the golf course will remain open during construction. The pro shop and a “Hard Hat Cafe,” open for lunch, will operate out of temporary trailers until the project is done.
Members celebrated the project and the club’s 50th anniversary at the clubhouse on April 2 with a golf tournament, cake and fireworks, the Daily News reported.