Why fitness centers are important for clubs

By Frank Benzakour 

As clubs pay more attention to what members and prospective members want, fitness facilities are emerging as a popular feature.

Getting and staying physically fit and healthy is a personal goal for most modern club members. Fitness is the third most important activity at clubs after golf and dining. And it is the one thing that club members – regardless of age, race, gender or culture – consider equally important.

A state-of-the-art fitness and wellness facility shows members how much you appreciate them and your club is on the cutting edge when it comes to amenities. Fitness services also help keep the members healthy and active so they can use the club more frequently.

If a club doesn’t offer the level of fitness members want, they’ll look at other facilities that offer a total physical fitness experience. But if you give them the type of fitness center they’re looking for, they won’t need memberships to both a gym and a country club. 

Member attendance will increase once they think of the club as their year-round gym. And by providing more value to your members with year-round features and activities, it will be easier to attract new members. When potential members see that your country club offers amenities that others don’t, they’ll chose your club.

Offering the right programs is critical. In addition to the typical workout options, specialized programs such as Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) and TRX suspension training and muscle activation therapy are popular. 

The size of your membership is key to the number of classes or services you’re able to present. Member surveys will help identify the programs your membership wants so you can provide these specialized classes, activities and personalized training and wellness plans. 

Employ a team of certified instructors to prompt learning and interaction among members. Offer yoga, Pilates, meditation, martial arts and group exercise classes, as well as services such as joint rehab, physical therapy, sport and athletic-specific training, massages, spa and salon services and more.

Clubs also should have at least one nutritional instructor, who along with the chef teaches healthy eating classes. The club menu should offer healthy options along with vegan, veggie and gluten-free alternatives.Offering a juice or smoothie bar can make a fitness center even more popular.

Country clubs are unique in that addition to fitness and wellness services they provide traditional recreational activities such as golf, racquetball, tennis and swimming, so members can enjoy physically and socially active lifestyles.

Health and fitness is the future. By focusing more on wellness and revamping fitness amenities country clubs can stay up to date and encourage members to use the facilities more frequently. Clubs that give their members the features and services they want will establish a strong footing for success.


Benzakour is chief operating officer of Edgeworth Country Club in River Vale, N.J. He is a Certified Club Manager and Certified Chief Executive. 

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