The Reserve Club Puts New Muscle on Its Bones
A complete overhaul of its classic clubhouse is helping the Indian Wells, Calif. property develop new “inner strength” to properly complement its stunning surroundings.
The current trend in golf course renovations is to restore classic designers’ original intent, as part of a return to more traditional playing experiences. With clubhouses, though, it’s been just the opposite, as more casual and open atmospheres have taken hold at even the most historic properties.
Usually, this has resulted in the most dramatic clubhouse transformations occuring when decades-old buildings are repurposed. But as an indication of just how sweeping the shift in club lifestyles has become in the new millennium, you don’t have to always go back 50 or 100 years, or into older cities and regions of the country, to find examples of 180-degree facility overhauls. One of the most striking renovations to be found in the industry, in fact, has been taking place in a structure that’s less than 20 years old—and in California’s Coachella Valley, of all places.
As 2019 began, The Reserve Club in Indian Wells, Calif., was fast approaching the completion of what it called a “restyling” and “enhancement” of the 30,000-sq. ft., Tuscan-style clubhouse that was erected shortly after the club was founded in 1998. All of the “restyling” and “enhancement” was being done to the tune of $10 million-plus, and involved a complete blowout of the building’s insides, with $1.6 million being spent for new doors and windows alone, according to Mike Kelly, The Reserve Club’s CEO/General Manager.
As Kelly led a visitor through the clubhouse while construction was in the homestretch towards the end of 2018, he made references to “George Washington” and “Knights of the Roundtable” when describing some of the interior design motifs that had previously prevailed (and to help explain why another $2.2 million was being spent on new furniture, fixtures and equipment).
“It definitely didn’t feel like you were in California,” Kelly says of the original clubhouse. “Pretty much everywhere you turned, you ran into something heavy and dark.”
So why not just blow everything up and go all-out Cali modern from the ground up? “The bones were great, and we saw we didn’t have to do that,” says Kelly, a 20-year industry veteran who came to The Reserve in 2015, after previously working at properties including PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. and The Preserve in Carmel, Calif.
“The exterior is unique and could still fit well with the club and how it is changing,” Kelly adds. “We just needed to repurpose the rooms to fit with how the club has become more casual, and to take better advantage of where [the clubhouse] is positioned on the property, with an incredible surrounding landscape and down-valley views.”
Bringing about those changes, Kelly says, meant doing everything possible to open up the floor plan and create a “lighter look” throughout the interior, while eliminating the sense of enclosed exclusivity that was the dominant theme of the previous layout. Now, the emphasis would be on interconnecting inside rooms to create multiple gathering points and maximize their functional flexibility, while also creating ways to extend as much of the space as possible beyond the walls, to always enable and encourage full enjoyment of what was outside.