20 Jul

Survival of the Fittest

Advantages of Implementing a Fitness and Wellness Facility

Weight lifting at private club fitness facilities

Clubs Have the Advantage in Taking on Member Demand for More Fitness Options

In Chambers’ recent Club of the Future survey, we asked, simply:  What physical facility is most critical in ensuring long-term relevancy to members?

84.3% responded in unison:  fitness.

Indoor, outdoor, year-round, full-service, family-centric, something for all ages and sexes, for varied skill levels and interests…with babysitting!

Workout rooms, indoor swimming, spa, games, youth complex, basketball and squash courts, places for yoga and zumba…the list of interests and demands went on.  And on.

So many options, so many choices.  Is expansion of your club’s fitness offerings a low-risk investment or high stakes proposition? And where to start?

“As a recruitment/retention tool, I don’t believe that there is one other single asset that we could add that would have as much member value” as a fitness center, said one survey respondent, a sentiment echoed by many others.

Aerobics classes at private club

“It’s an amenity that drives membership,” says Michael Masson, General Manager of the Baton Rouge Country Club in Louisiana.  “Times have changed — it’s not just about golf anymore,” he says.  Masson sites the diversity of members who use his fitness facility as proof of its relevance:  “We have 90-year-olds who are enhancing their lives, members who’re using it to lose 50 and 60 pounds — and of course, everyone in between.”  A good portion of his members visits the club’s fitness center at least once a week.

It’s also an offering for which clubs are uniquely well suited.

“The private club industry is sitting pretty when it comes to fitness,” says Chris White, a club fitness expert and Senior Vice President of Design & Consulting Services at consulting firm WTS International.  “Commercial gyms simply don’t have the same established relationship with their customers.”  Consider, alone, he says, the average length of a private club membership — that’s a built in, long-term fitness “customer.”  And club members are “poster child(ren) for the fitness lifestyle,” says White.  They join, in part, because of the physical activities available at their clubs.


And where to start?  “Clubs have an obvious planning advantage when it comes to making choices about new facilities and services,” says Rick Snellinger, Chambers President & CEO.  “Clubs can tailor their offerings to the wants, needs and demographics of their memberships without having to try to arbitrarily predict the future,” he says. Not every club needs pickleball. What they do need is the proper research to determine their fitness needs, Snellinger counsels.

According to White of WTS, clubs should also pay heed to the evolving relationship between fitness and overall wellness.  More on that in the next issue of CLUB ROAD — and read on to hear Chambers’ planners, architects and designers talk about the move to mind and body health.

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