Imagine transforming your state’s most historic club into a cutting edge destination for members across four generations. As tricky as it may seem, Cape Fear Country Club was up to the challenge.
Known as one of the oldest and most distinguished clubs in North Carolina, Cape Fear Country Club engaged Chambers in 2011 to begin the master planning process with ambitious aspirations. The goal? To create a well-rounded club experience that reflected contemporary trends and boasted near-universal appeal, all while honoring the club’s history. Chambers rose to the challenge by creating a two-phase master plan that merged CFCC’s important place in local history with the latest private club trends.
One of the plan’s main initiatives was to rebalance clubhouse dining to respond more appropriately to the club’s various constituencies. During the plan’s first phase, casual dining was reduced to create space for the new adult casual bar/grille venue, which features a horseshoe shaped cross-talk bar, diverse seating types, and improved aesthetics. Upgraded décor in the downsized casual dining attracts more members to the club for casual meals, while the family dining provides a comfortable venue for members with children.
The often-vacant lounge was also converted into a wine room that doubles as a private function space. To further enhance the clubhouse dining experience, a trellis-covered dining terrace was developed, complete with outdoor kitchen/service bar and pristine golf course views, as well as fire pits and portable heaters that extend opportunities for spontaneous socialization into late autumn.
Phase two of the master plan included the design of a brand new 20,000 SF Family Activity Center (FAC), which was positioned between the existing tennis courts and pool to capture the natural synergies between the two amenities. The FAC introduced an expansive fitness/wellness area with group exercise rooms that provides offerings for all ages, ranging from tiny tots classes to physical therapy.
Youth rooms and a fun ultra-casual dining café create a come-as-you-are atmosphere for families and active members who may want to drop by or dine after a tennis match or swim meet. “Everyone loves that they have a casual area that they can walk into in workout clothes,” says Mary Geiss, CCM, the club’s general manager. “The FAC has helped us create a ‘home-away-from-home’ for our members.”
To preserve CFCC’s storied history and sense of tradition, the FAC’s design incorporated the southern architectural style of the clubhouse, speaking to the club’s location in the coastal plain and tidewater region while creating a contemporary coastal aesthetic.
The plan was approved shortly after its development, kicking off the implementation of both phases. With its rebalanced dining spaces and state-of-the-art FAC, the club was transformed into a living testament to the power of adapting to the lifestyles of modern members – with the usage numbers to match.
“The response from the membership has been overwhelmingly positive,” Geiss continues. Overall, the club has seen a 25-30 percent increase in clubhouse F&B revenues and the renovated bar/grille has quickly become the clubhouse’s hottest space for socialization among adult members.
Geiss adds, “Wine locker rentals alone have produced an additional $9,000 in 2016 earnings. In fact, the new lockers have doubled participation in the club’s wine program.”
The FAC’s Café also boosted sales over 60 percent from when the club was selling exclusively from the pool’s snack bar. With numbers like these, it’s indisputable that the club has experienced an overall increase in member satisfaction.
This ambitious project is a testament to what can happen when applying cutting edge club trends to an illustrious club with long-established traditions. Thanks to the club’s forward-thinking leadership, Cape Fear Country Club has brought its rich history into the modern age with more relaxed facilities that retain the club’s powerful sense of heritage and prestige. BR
Rick Snellinger is CEO and President of Chambers, a 360°planning, architecture, and interior design firm specializing in private club planning and design. Headquartered in Baltimore, Chambers also has offices in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. For more information, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.chambersusa.com.