Club: Tamarack Country Club
• New 8,000-sq.-ft. pool
Tamarack Country Club’s clubhouse was deteriorating and could no longer handle the functions required by an active membership and the club’s staff. In the last decade, a growing number of members at the private club in Greenwich, Conn., felt that the aging, and generally insufficient, facilities were putting a strain on membership numbers. So in 2002, Tamarack’s long-range planning committee began soliciting architects for renovation designs.
“Initially there was resistance by some of the membership to the idea of building a new clubhouse and the cost of doing it,” says Peter Ciccone, Tamarack’s current President. An exploratory committee was assembled and charged with visiting nearly every club in the Greenwich area that had renovated or built a new clubhouse, to investigate the pros and cons of both options. In the end, the committee members came to the same conclusion as the three solicited architects: New construction would make more sense.
“The existing clubhouse was not only aesthetically undesirable, it just didn’t meet the desires of the membership,” says Chris McCagg, Associate Partner of Butler Rogers Baskett, the architectural firm that was eventually selected for the massive undertaking.
At the forefront of a laundry list of design requests was the desire for panoramic views of the golf course, which also underwent renovations and upgrades during the club’s overhaul. The new clubhouse offers views from nearly every vantage point in the clubhouse, with large windows and expansive terraces that overlook the 9th, 10th and 18th greens.
There was also a need for larger and more efficient casual and formal dining areas. The previous building, at only 32,000 square feet, could not handle large parties without closing for regular use. The large banquet room in the new building has its own dedicated kitchen. This allows a la carte dining to take place simultaneously in the casual grille room and formal private dining room that share a second kitchen.
Several other amenities keep members entertained as well. Since General Manager Brian Gillespie joined Tamarack in 2001 and launched a summer kids camp in 2002, the club’s demographics had been gradually shifting as more and more area families joined. In an effort to meet their needs and to attract even more younger families, a fitness facility and massage room were added.
|Tamarack’s new clubhouse was designed to offer panoromic views of the golf course.|
“The fitness center is split roughly 50-50 between cardio and weight equipment, and there’s also a studio for the children’s, pilates and yoga classes we’ll be offering,” says Gillespie. “The members brought up the idea of adding these facilities during the initial planning meetings.”
A dedicated area for winter golf practice was also integrated into the clubhouse design. In addition, cart storage moved inside to a sub-basement facing the first tee. Previously, the golf staff faced the inefficiency of a detached cart storage area.
Both the men’s and women’s locker rooms were expanded and upgraded with large, wooden lockers in a cherry finish and marble throughout the wet areas. A card lounge in the men’s locker room was equipped with a bar and plasma television. Near the men’s locker room is the pro shop as well as the 9th Hole snack bar, which has direct access to the cart path. The new clubhouse also accommodates seasonal staff housing on its top floor—a feature not previously afforded to seasonal staff.
Since the previous clubhouse had remained more or less unchanged since the 1960s when it was built, club members were eager for a shift in the design aesthetic. The end result is a light and airy look that the designer likes to call “transitional.”
“It’s a ‘middle-of-the-road’ approach that alludes to traditional design with its clean lines, but with a lighter feel to the furniture that leans towards the contemporary look of today,” says Joan Bourassa, President of Image Design, the project’s interior design firm.
A basic color palette of browns, blues, yellows and creams was applied throughout the property to achieve varying levels of formality, depending on the room. In the formal living room, banquet space and private dining room, wood paneling was installed on the walls in a nod to the traditional design aesthetic, then painted cream to lighten the mood. Dark, stained furniture was chosen to contrast with the walls. The more casual grille room and men’s lounge incorporate richer colors from the design palette, as well as leathers.
Significant upgrades were designed into the club’s new pool complex to make it competition-ready. With the club joining an inter-club swim league this year, it was important that the new swimming pool meet the depth standards required of host facilities and include starting blocks.
dining spaces, along with separate banquet and a la carte kitchens,
allow maximum flexibility for special functions and regular dining
options at the club.
Even with a swim team, though, most pool users at the club prefer to sunbathe. Because of this, the facility was designed to afford some peace and quiet for adults. Diagonally across the pool from the entrance is a detached day camp building that (along with the zero-depth-entry children’s pool) was located away from the prime sunbathing areas, in an effort to control noise.
Aesthetically, the pool complex is a seasonal structure with both indoor and outdoor showers and a kitchen large enough to handle poolside parties. The complex sits closer to the property entrance, so its style, in mimicking the clubhouse, is a taste of what’s to come as members and guests approach the main clubhouse.
One, Two Step…
A project of this magnitude required careful planning. Construction took place in phases over a two-year period, to allow the club to remain operational at all times. Design began in 2003 with weekly meetings that took place regularly for two years before the team broke ground.
In September 2005, construction began on the pool. The club only had use of the main clubhouse until December 2005, when its demolition began. From then until the pool opened roughly six months later on Memorial Day 2006, all operations switched to temporary facilities. Dining took place in heated tents, and restroom facilities were located in trailers, which allowed the club to retain most of its regularly scheduled golf outings. The pool complex, with its full kitchen and locker rooms, handled operations from May 2006 until last month, when Tamarack opened its new clubhouse to members and guests for the first time.
control noise, a day camp building and the zero-depth-entry children’s
pool were located away from prime sunbathing areas in the new complex.
Because the satellite pool complex was redone first, that complicated the replacement of all of the property’s utilities—and “all” was no exaggeration. Basic utilities, including electric, telecommunications, and water and sewage, were placed underground and brought up to contemporary standards. A new diesel-fueled fire pumping station and a backup generator were added, to ensure that no events will have to be cancelled (the club is located in an area that experiences frequent power outages). As an added precaution, an additional potable well was installed, in case the first is ever contaminated.
Mission More Than Accomplished
Back when the process of renovating Tamarack CC began, the main concern was to create a facility that could accommodate the growing needs and desires of the membership and effectively attract new members. Even before the clubhouse’s grand opening, it was clear that those goals were met. At the time of planning, the club had 250 full golf members. Now, membership is capped with 300 full members, and 14 more have paid initiation fees but are on a waiting list for full privileges. Ciccone is confident that a two-year waiting list of 24 to 28 people will be achieved in the near future.