Rick Snellinger is president and CeO of Chambers, the largest planning, architecture, and interior design firm in the country with a singular purpose of working with private clubs. Headquartered in Baltimore, Chambers has additional offices in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. For more information, email Rick directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honoring a Storied Past with a Vision toward the Future For over 120 years, one of the South’s most historic country clubs has provided its members with outstanding amenities, exceptional service, and countless memories – a true home away from home for generations of members. Since the Greenville Country Club’s inception in 1895, three different clubhouses had been built to serve its members. In 2009, the Greenville, South Carolina club began to make plans for additional improvements to the third Riverside Clubhouse on Byrd Boulevard, which was originally built in 1954. However, initial plans for renovation were not resonating with the membership, and the club’s leadership recognized the need to reevaluate their plans for the club’s future. “Our facilities needed to respond to the needs of our members – both past and present – but we couldn’t properly define those needs until we fully understood our direction,” says Greg Hobbs, GCC’s general manager. “We needed to take a step back and think about the bigger picture from a broader, strategic perspective.” In 2011, the club hired Chambers to assist in the development of a strategic plan that would establish a roadmap for future success. With a keen understanding of GCC’s storied history and an eye toward the future, the strategic planning team focused on all aspects of the club– membership, governance, management, dining and social aspects, golf and recreational activities – to develop a vision that embraced changing lifestyle trends and a multi-generational membership with diverse interests. The most important aspect of this strategic process? The members! Through committee meetings, member focus groups, town hall meetings, and a comprehensive membership survey, club leadership encouraged members to provide insight on what they hoped to see in the future. This inclusive process led to the development of an actionable strategic plan that redefined the overall mission and vision of GCC, and ultimately led to the development of a comprehensive long range strategic facilities master plan to address the club’s entire campus. Using member insights and Chambers’ knowledge of private club industry trends, the planning committee studied various options for renovating or rebuilding the Riverside
BOARDROOM | May/June 2017
Clubhouse. In the end, the committee determined the clubhouse was built in the correct location, but renovating the existing structure wouldn’t respond to membership needs. Most importantly, the committee recognized the need to establish a sustainable funding model to fund future capital improvements. The final master plan ultimately proposed to establish a long-term capital fund and rebuild the Riverside Clubhouse – the fourth clubhouse constructed in the club’s 122-year history. “We were thrilled that the program was approved by a significant majority of the membership,” said Rick Snellinger, Chambers’ president and CEO. “After all, it is the members’ club, and the plans respond to their vision of Greenville’s future.” GCC’s new clubhouse, a southern take on a classic revival style, is an impressive sight, spanning 45,000 square feet with a scenic arrival sequence and breathtaking golf course views. The interiors are characterized by versatility, elegance, and sensitivity to the club’s history, blending existing furniture, decorative lighting and artwork with renewable flooring and natural products to create a nostalgic, collected look. Numerous cutting edge amenities have also been incorporated into the new building, including an expansive outdoor terrace, wine locker display, child care space, café/turn area, and a 2,500-square foot fitness center with indoor/outdoor group exercise areas. Club leaders generated anticipation for the project by sharing the construction process through member communications and social media. “Both new and life-long members are excited for things to come,” says Hobbs, “In fact, we actually gained 85 net new members during construction. Everyone was eager to see the big plans come to life.” Through strategic planning, master planning and implementation, the planning, building, and design teams never lost sight of the club’s vision. The Greenville Country Club embarked on a journey to uphold its traditions while redefining its future – and this exciting process captured the club’s long standing legacy, while adapting its purpose for generations to come. BR
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