BRISTOL, Tenn. – Country Club of Bristol officials say their membership has almost doubled since they announced three expansion projects that will continue over the next few years.
The first new building, a two-story family fitness center, opened its doors over the July Fourth weekend. Club Membership Director Christine Webb said club members have responded well to the new facility.
“Everybody is almost overwhelmed,” she said Friday while guiding a tour of the complex. “All you hear is ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ when they walk inside.”
The fitness center features two indoor tennis courts, racquetball courts and a fitness room with a full circuit of Nautilus equipment and an aerobics area.
The building also houses a small poolside café and a full-swing golf simulator that lets members practice their golf games in a video-game-like environment.
“It’s just a real good practice tool,” General Manager Steve Hanson said as he worked on the simulator Friday. “[Especially] in the middle of the winter when it’s too cold to practice.”
Webb said The Club will add three outdoor tennis courts, two clay tennis courts, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts and a driving range to the fitness center’s perimeter by the end of the summer.
She said the entire fitness center – including an eight-lane, Olympic-size swimming pool that opened over Memorial Day weekend – cost $4.5 million to build.
“We thought this would be a good place to be,” said Kim Roark, an Abingdon resident who joined The Club in May and spent Friday lounging at the pool.
Roark said she has visited The Club’s pool two or three times a week since she joined the facility. Her son plays golf at the Club every day and she said he was surprised that staff members knew his name on a recent visit.
“The people here are very friendly,” she said.
Hanson said the influx of new club members like Roark who joined the club because of its new fitness center or anticipation of its new fitness center has brought the facility almost to capacity.
“We’re really close to full,” he said, adding the Club only has space for 30 new full-family memberships before it reaches the 600-member limit. “All of the things we are doing are really driving [our numbers] up.”
The Club charges $319 per month for a full-family membership, Hanson said. It also offers junior-family memberships to people under 35 for $219 per month.
Two years ago, officials with The Club announced plans to start three major expansion projects – the fitness center, a guest lodge and a refurbished clubhouse. Hanson said the three new buildings will total $15 million to $18 million.
Plans are to start building The Club’s lodge – which will feature 12 to 14 rooms for overnight guests – in early 2009.
Work will then start on a new clubhouse in 2010. This building will feature a day spa, beauty salon and a movie theater.
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