Enquirer Herald

River Hills Club gets $1.7 facelift

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

A new fitness center is part of a $1.7 million renovation effort at the club, including several cosmetic changes giving the club a more updated look.

"We've never had fitness," said Melanie Meacham, membership director. "It's anybody's guess how popular it will be."

A new, 1,200-square foot glass enclosed area overlooking the pool and outdoor patio--formerly a small game room--will become a fully-functioning excercise and wellness facility by the first week of May. The fitness center will be geared both toward young families and empty nesters of all ages, the two main demographics of club members.

A full fitness/wellness program -- including staff -- will be added as well as four orientation sessions and an open house. The center will feature eight of cardio machines, 10 weight machines and free weights.

The renovations are part of the club's efforts to increase membership, Meacham said.

The club, last renovated in 1995, is almost finished with a renovation project to update and modernize facilities built in 1971. Included are a $300,000 stonework front, new exercise and wellness facility, 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, and the 1,200-square foot fitness center should be ready by the first week of May.

"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 National Golf Club, home of the Masters, 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 post, 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 as a cap at 900 total members, with a golf cap at 450 members. Currently, the club has 670 members, including 400 golf members.

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