Shannopin Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., Baton Rouge (La.) Country Club, and Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman, N.J. get a leg up on fitness by updating gyms and creating classrooms.
Revamping a workout space? It’s no sweat for clubs that know how to maximize their facilities with top-notch equipment and plenty of room for individual and group classes. As more members extend their visits beyond the golf course, clubs are meeting the demand for fitness resources and additional amenities.
Energizing its Membership
Five years ago, Shannopin Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., voted to enhance its fitness facilities in response to a demographic shift. “The board at the time felt like the club needed a boost of energy and fitness was the trend that was attracting a younger, more family-focused membership,” says General Manager Mike Meissner. But when the original plan was derailed by a series of delays, the project was put on the back burner. Once the construction crew finally broke ground in February 2021, the project took off and the new gym opened to wide acclaim this past April.
Spanning 3,000 sq. ft., the two-level fitness center is made up of 75 percent strength equipment and 25 percent cardio. Three ellipticals, three treadmills and two recumbent bikes are positioned in the cardio area, along with an existing rower. A Matrix 5-stack multi-station is positioned with a two-bay rig for free weights, TRX cable and pull-ups.
Meissner also points out the versatility of a wall-to-wall, six-foot strip of Astroturf designed for the gym’s push sled, floor exercises and stretching. “There’s enough room to move around so that no one ever feels crowded,” he notes.
Choosing a trusted supplier experienced in modern gym design was essential to Shannopin’s set-up. The club called upon Webster Fitness, which had recently worked with Lancaster Country Club on its fitness center update.
“We felt great about the quality of pieces they were supplying us and [they were] very accommodating,” explains Meissner. With safety being a paramount concern, designers chose rubber flooring throughout for its durability.
Shannopin’s fitness facility is also outfitted with energy-efficient LED lighting and Wi-Fi connectivity, including two additional access points on each floor for expanded coverage. Five televisions and Comcast music service are part of the gym’s entertainment package, while security is managed by three cameras: one at the entrance and two inside the gym. To continue maintaining a clean environment, particularly as Covid concerns ebb and flow, Shannopin’s board opted to bring in an outside cleaning company four days a week. “This allows housekeeping to focus on their everyday tasks in the clubhouse, just as they have had through the pandemic,” says Meissner.
Having completed a portion of the fitness project’s next development phase—two pickleball courts and two tennis courts opened this past June, and four paddle tennis courts will be ready in time for paddle season—the club is gearing up for construction on the ground floor. A lounge area for racquet players, a flex space and golf simulator will round out the space, along with restrooms and locker rooms on both floors. And to further satiate fitness goers, a wall-to-wall buffet with food service storage and a wet bar with kegerator is also on tap.
Nearly three times the size of its original footprint, the fitness center at Baton Rouge (La.) Country Club is satisfying members’ need for group classes, personalized workouts and other wellness amenities. According to General Manager Michael Masson, CCM, the existing 6,000-sq.-ft. fitness center, which opened in 2000, “was instrumental in making fitness an extremely important component of our club experience.” To provide more space and improved accommodations, the club constructed a 17,155 sq.-ft. facility and opened its doors this past February.In the two-story center, the top floor is dedicated entirely to fitness, as seen by a full cardio/strength area, stretch space, private consult room and four group exercise rooms. A comprehensive equipment roster includes Precor cardio with P82 10” integrated touch-screen consoles, Precor Resole Strength equipment, Freemotion Dual Cable Cross and custom dumbbells and barbells. The gym also houses a Reformer Studio, containing five Allegro reformers with Towers of Power, sitting boxes, jump boards and a Combo Chair. Double-layered Mondo Sport Impact flooring in the main workout area is designed to withstand heavy weights and foot traffic.
While cardio and strength exercise reign supreme in this area of the fitness center, the club addressed the need for group workouts and classes with extra studio space. “This gives us the availability to offer more classes at the same time,” notes Masson.
A Reformer Pilates studio and a Mind and Body studio (for yoga, mat Pilates, barre and Zumba) are designed with vinyl flooring for easy maintenance. A separate athletic training studio has a full TRX system, partition for sub dividing and turf flooring, chosen for its ability to withstand high-impact exercises.
Once on the fitness center’s first floor, the hard-core gym persona shifts to a more resort-like atmosphere. Here, visitors can partake of locker rooms, a pro shop, childcare facilities, a teen space and café, stocked with grab-and-go salads, sandwiches and snacks. An outdoor patio, along with an upstairs wraparound veranda, offer convenient spots for post-workout socializing. Background music is piped throughout the outdoors, as well as in the fitness center via Bluetooth.
Thanks to a floor plan with ample space between equipment zones, individual studios for group classes and a wealth of supplemental amenities, Baton Rouge Country Club has reaffirmed its commitment to member fitness.
The Evolution of Fitness
The relocation of Cherry Valley Country Club’s fitness center—from an upstairs setting to a reconfigured lower-level layout—has revitalized an active membership in search of more time at the gym.
“We noticed an increased demand for fitness and wellness programs that our current space did not allow,” says General Manager Douglas Lesko of the Skillman, N.J.-based facility. Last December, the club cut the ribbon on its renovated fitness facilities with more than 300 members in attendance.
Dubbed EVOLUTION at Hobler House, the lower-level fitness center assumes the space once occupied by an outdated dining and event area. Updating required a full gut renovation, including the removal of existing walls to create a floor plan that encompasses gym operations and complementary services. Upon entrance, members walk into a spacious lobby that contains retail outlets, meeting space and a grab-and-go snack and beverage station.
“We wanted this area to be a place where members can meet or get work done, so we incorporated workstations and furniture into the design,” Lesko adds.
Cherry Valley’s main gym area is comprised of assorted cardio and strength equipment. Treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and stair climbers are all outfitted with satellite TV and additional connectivity. Positioned alongside this workout gear are strength and resistance training machines, free weights and a turf strip for CrossFit training.
“Realizing the importance of group exercise, we devoted a large portion of the gym to a classroom,” notes Lesko. The space is also set up with an on-demand system that lets members take virtual classes on their own schedule. Members can also improve their golf game using a TRX machine, kinesis machine, kettlebells and medicine balls.
Creating a safe environment for gym goers necessitated specific design choices. “When choosing materials, we wanted a modern feel, but to also make sure the materials matched their purpose,” explains Lesko.
In the cardio and group fitness areas, soft flooring was selected for its ease on joints, while in the golf performance and free weight areas, durable flooring was key for weights inadvertently dropped on the floor. LED lighting on everything from the front desk to the ceiling and mirrors is controlled via smartphone for ease of use.
With ample space for equipment, the club has been able to expand its roster of classes, both complementary and fee-based. As a result, management has been able to bring additional trainers and a golf function specialist into the facility, providing greater resources for its active membership.
Summing It Up
– Younger families are necessitating the need for larger fitness accommodations.
– Design choices such as flooring style are dictated by ease of maintenance and durability.
– Amenities that include pro shops, snack facilities, restrooms and locker rooms help extend a club’s overall fitness package.