Fitness club is finishing touch to changes at River Hills Country Club

New stonework is one of the many renovations and impovements done at River Hills Country Club in Lake Wylie.
New stonework is one of the many renovations and impovements done at River Hills Country Club in Lake Wylie.

LAKE WYLIE -- The River Hills Country Club is getting fit.

A new fitness center is part of the club's $1.7 million renovation project, which includes several cosmetic changes to give the club an updated look.

"We've never had fitness," said Melanie Meacham, membership director.

A 1,200-square-foot, glass-enclosed area overlooking the pool and outdoor patio -- formerly a small game room -- will become an exercise and wellness facility by the first week of May. The center will feature eight cardio machines, 10 weight machines and free weights.

The fitness center will be the finishing touch on a series of renovations aimed to increase membership, Meacham said.

The club, last renovated in 1995, is almost finished with a remodeling project to update the facilities, built in 1971. Included are a $300,000 stonework front, additional tees at the driving range and a water feature at the main entrance.

"It's just sort of keeping up with the times," said Michael Bummel, assistant general manager.

The stonework is complete, as are newly painted walls throughout the inside and outside of the club, a new wine cellar and a large fireplace in the lounge. The fountain-like water feature should be installed within two weeks.

"When you do it every day, it doesn't seem like a lot, but ... we've done a lot," said facilities manager Eric Brigmon. "It's night and day. It's unbelievable."

Some changes will be more noticeable than others. Bunkers on the golf course and a new drainage system will reduce runoff during storms, Meacham said.

The sand installed in the new bunkers is the same type used at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club, home of the Masters tournament, she said.

Additionally, chef Scott Craig took over at the club April 1. Craig, who was executive sous chef at Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte before taking the Lake Wylie position, promised a sophisticated and contemporary food presentation. He also hopes to partner with local farmers for quality, fresh ingredients.

All of the new additions to the River Hills Country Club are intended to improve service to club members -- who own the private facility -- and make the club more attractive for potential members. The club has a cap of 900 members, with a golf cap at 450 members. Currently, the club has 670 members, including 400 golf members.

Meacham hopes to add more, though, and said the club is partnering with a few local housing developments to include club membership with the sale of some new homes.

Currently, a full membership costs $7,500 but the cost "probably" will increase later this year, said general manager Doug Shifflett.

River Hills Country Club renovations

• A water feature and stonework at the main entrance totaling $300,000.

• A driving range extended from 10,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet, resulting in eight additional tee boxes.

• Modern and improved drainage on the golf course resulting in less runoff.

• One additional clay tennis court, bringing the total to eight, and a renovated swimming area.

• Nonsmoking indoor areas, with a new small outdoor patio available just outside the lounge.

• A 1,200-square-foot glass enclosed fitness center equipped with eight cardio machines, 10 weight machines and free weights.

• A new wine cellar.

• New pool and patio furniture, along with an expanded men's locker room.

• Newly painted walls inside and outside throughout the club, along with bamboo hardwood floors at the entrance, new carpeting, new bathroom tile and new furniture throughout.