By upgrading their pool facilities and surrounding them with a full complement of family-friendly amenities, properties are giving members and guests more excuses to have fun in the sun.
SUMMING IT UP
• Updating traditional pool styles with a zero- or beach-entry design provides a safe swimming environment for members with young families.
• Including both lap lanes and interactive water features offers something for swimmers of varying skill sets.
• Easy access to outdoor dining, restrooms and showers creates a destination for members and guests.
A dip in a pool on a hot, sunny day is nothing short of one of life’s most refreshing delights. For club and resort properties where pool facilities haven’t been upgraded in decades, makeovers are not only needed to improve aesthetics, but as an investment in long-term member and guest satisfaction.
As private clubs and resorts look to execute comprehensive pool-area makeovers as part of repositioning their amenity mix in step with changing lifestyles and member/guest desires, extra attention is being paid to ensuring that pool facilities contain a full complement of family-focused extras, including outdoor dining and lounge space, to help create a complete member experience, both in and out of the water.
Out On a Ledge
At The Topeka (Kan.) Country Club, a rectangular-shaped pool, built in 1983, was due for a massive overhaul in order to attract a new generation of swimmers. “While we realize that golf is our number-one asset, it’s not the number-one thing that families are looking to do,” says President/COO Clay Meininger, PGA. To better appeal to its burgeoning membership, the club completely redesigned its pool facility and unveiled a beach-entry, resort-style model in time for Memorial Day weekend in 2018.
Replacing the 4,500-sq.-ft. traditional geometric pool with a larger free-form style, the now 6,300-sq. ft. pool includes a diving well, lap lanes, tanning ledge, interactive spray features, and laminars and overhead buckets. Proximity to the golf course and the main entrance were of paramount importance to this design, which also incorporated a full roster of amenities. A restroom and shower are conveniently located, while three poolside dome cabanas, 100 chaise loungers, nine umbrellas and poolside table seating provide plenty of options for relaxation.
Once in the pool, sunbathers can stretch out on loungers atop the tanning ledge, which is submerged in six inches of water. Kids of all ages can play to their heart’s content, utilizing the pool’s numerous water features. “I’ve seen 2-year-olds and 80-year-olds enjoying the new splash features,” notes Meininger.
Since its opening, pool usage at Topeka CC has doubled from previous years, with 5,000 members and guests last season, Meininger reports. “We have a member who has been [with us] for 40 years and had not been in any of the previous pools,” he says. “He visited the pool four times this past summer, enjoying the water with his wife and grandson.”
To maintain this momentum, Topeka CC is planning to offer a number of events for the coming season, including poolside barbeques, cocktails parties and an annual Fourth of July celebration.
At Mountain Shadows Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., two new pools were included in a facility-wide renovation, showcasing this component from a completely different vantage point. Since the resort’s original design offered a view of the Camelback Mountain for a select portion of its guest rooms, management decided to revise the existing layout.
“By rotating the footprint and creating three wings that are perpendicular to the mountain, we gave every guest room a point of view—and created a perfect corridor for the pool experience that allows stunning views of Camelback to the south, as well as Mummy Mountain to the north,” explains Vice President and General Manager Andrew Chippindall.
Dubbed The Citizens Club, two contemporary-style 75 x 20 pools are separated by an over-water walkway and outfitted with a negative edge. Chaise lounges surround this space, with custom cabanas situated along one of the longer sides. Lounge seating and a fire feature are located just off the resort’s restaurant patio. “We have found that guests often enjoy using this space at night, even if they aren’t going for a swim,” notes Chippindall.At the south side of the pools is an outdoor hot tub, with a walk-up juice bar and enclosed fitness center that looks out to the water and Mummy Mountain. The entire area is surrounded by palm trees and two three-story wings of residences and guest rooms, achieving what Chippindall describes as “a very sleek and modern atmosphere that is reminiscent of Palm Springs, but with a contemporary twist.”
Since The Citizens Club’s opening in April 2017 and a restructuring of the residence wings that debuted last March, Mountain Shadows has been able to appeal to adults in search of an out-of-the-way escape. Overall business has been growing steadily, which Chippindall attributes in large part to the pool.
“We definitely see more guests enjoying the sun when the weather is warm and particularly on the weekends,” he says. “Although the resort is central in the Phoenix area, its location in the serene town of Paradise Valley, with Camelback Mountain towering nearby, makes it feel like a secluded desert retreat.”
To further attract new guests to its pool facility, the resort’s events calendar offers select activities for members and locals alike. On tap this coming summer is Sunrise & Shavasana, a Saturday morning paddleboard yoga class that features live music, on-board meditation and a post-session, surf-inspired cocktail. “This is the ideal way to enjoy a morning workout that’s well-suited to Arizona summer days,” says Chippindall.
Out With the Old…
At Shawnee Country Club in Lima, Ohio, an Olympic-sized swimming pool from 1971 was demolished and replaced with a 6,493-sq.-ft. model that opened last May. “We wanted the footprint of the new pool close to our old pool, so we could utilize some of the surrounding areas,” says General Manager Elliott Burke.
Packed with plenty of bells and whistles, the new zero-entry pool boasts two 30-foot slides, a splash pad, lap lanes, six swimming lanes and assorted water features for kids. Designated lap-lane lines cordon off the kids area, maintaining distinct sections of the pool. To ensure safety for all, the zero-entry area features slip-resistant flooring, while the remainder of the pool area is designed with slip-resistant strips.
The club also hired two lifeguards to man these stations. “One is at the top of the slides to regulate children’s height and [determine] which slide they go down, and another is in the deep end, because the design has some hidden areas,” Burke explains.
To enhance the existing space, an additional 3,000 square feet of pool decking increased the area to 10,630 square feet. The club purchased new outdoor furniture for sunbathers and added four 30-feet umbrellas for families seeking respite from the summer sun. Just off the pool area is a full-service snack shop and indoor lounge, and poolside beverage service is available on weekends during the summer months.
Replacing the old pool has proven its worth, not only in terms of member satisfaction, but for the club’s bottom line. According to Burke, upkeep on the original model had intensified over the last eight years, giving even more reasons for an upgrade. Now, he says, “Our members are in heaven; they had used to same pool for the last 47 years.”
With food and beverage sales up 68 percent over last season and the addition of 28 new members, Shawnee CC is gearing up for another successful season. In the works are a number of summer events, including Sunday cookouts, late-night swims and theme days—all scheduled to be held poolside.
An Island ParadiseAfter just a few months since the grand opening of the newly minted clubhouse at Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables, Fla., a wait list has already begun for membership in all categories—and with good reason. The 60,000-sq.-ft., two-story facility (dubbed the Island Classic) opened its doors last December and includes an aquatic complex with two pools geared for different demographics.
“We designed the pools to be family-friendly and offer a separate pool for lap swimmers,” says General Manager Mark Snure. More than double the size of the original structures, a five-meter lap pool and 4,000-sq.-ft. beach entry pool are laid out continguously.
The family pool is teeming with kid-friendly extras, including a slide and bubblers, making it a prime attraction for young swimmers. Umbrella seating lets parents keep a close eye on little ones, while separate pergolas offer a protective alternative for sun worshippers. To ensure a safe swimming environment, pool area flooring features a non-slip surface, and four lifeguards are on duty during hours of operation.
Just off the pool area is a 3,000-sq.-ft. playground with synthetic turf and a synthetic putting green, to keep little landlubbers busy. A family grill, located west of the pool complex, has Nano walls that can be opened to create a connection to the pool area.
The pool also caters to child-free clientele. “Those who are not interested in the family environment at all may dine on the second floor. where there is an adult-only lounge and dining and patio seating,” notes Snure.
While the Island Classic has yet to experience a complete season, management is optimistic about the year ahead. “Soft-opening revenues have been high,” says Snure. “We have been very busy.” Looking ahead, annual food-and-beverage revenues are expected to double in the coming months, with movie nights, kid and teen pool parties and a slew of activities set to make a splash this summer.
In the Swim of Things
At Bellewood Country Club in Pottstown, Pa., there’s a continuous wait list for swim memberships since the opening of its redesigned swim facility. Now entering its seventh year this spring, the club’s multi-tiered pool facility offers members a wealth of options to keep them in the water or around the pool for as long as they please.“The pool is definitely the social hub of Bellewood all summer long,” says General Manager Grove Smith. “Families love to come and spend the whole day.” The facility has also helped to extend the club’s off-season, often hosting football-related events in the pool bar and dining area.
Within the club’s swim complex are three heated pools, each designed with different swimmers’ needs in mind. The family-friendly, zero-entry interactive pool slopes gradually to three feet. Parents and caregivers can recline nearby atop an underwater bench. A myriad of water features keeps kids entertained, including three sprays, a walk-through water feature and a bubbler floor.
A 3 ½-ft.-deep activity pool contains twelve hydrotherapy jets, three basketball backboards and a volleyball net. There is also a 75 x 45 competition pool with six starting blocks, six racing lanes and a half-meter diving stand with 10-foot board.
But perhaps the club’s greatest pool attraction is its interactive splash park, which Smith touts as “a resort-quality water park, with no lines and no waiting to use the four slides.” This multi-level space is designed with a 750-gallon dump bucket, a variety of water jets, pull ropes and slides.
Given the broad scope of the club’s pool facility, regular upkeep is required to ensure efficient operations. Pool water is tested twice daily and vacuumed and skimmed daily. The splash pad, considered an amusement ride, undergoes a monthly inspection. Water safety is ensured by a fully staffed facility, comprised of four guards at the splash pad and one guard apiece at the zero-entry, activity and lap pools, with additional staffing on weekends.