Club Pelican Bay members made a bold decision. They chose to tear down all existing buildings and create an elegant, warm and timeless setting for themselves and their guests to enjoy.
“Our buildings were all structurally sound, but we wanted to refresh and enhance our ambiance and offerings,” says General Manager Dave Mangan, who has been with Club Pelican Bay for 12 years. “By starting from the ground up, we were able to implement a new vision and add amenities we hadn’t considered when the club initially opened.”
A BIT OF HISTORY
Club Pelican Bay sits among the 2,104-acre Pelican Bay community. A championship golf course was part of the original plans as centerpiece to help define the lifestyle envisioned for residents.
Construction of the community began in 1978. Shortly thereafter, famed golf course architect Arthur Hills was hired. He utilized the natural landscape, including the lakes and ponds, and enhanced the setting with sculptured and contoured fairways, elevated tees and other visually appealing elements for the 27 holes.
Arthur Hills was among the first group to play a “test run” round on December 28, 1979. The course officially opened on January 2, 1980. The only building at the time was the cart barn, which also housed a small pro shop and snack bar.
The clubhouse was built in three phases from 1980 to 1983. So, it has been almost 35 years since the buildings opened.
THE NEED FOR CHANGE
Club Pelican Bay members in 2015 participated in focus groups and a survey to assess their interests in making updates to the buildings and enhancing the programs offered. Consultant Bill McMahon, chairman of McMahon Group, led the process and helped craft the vision for the club’s future.
While member satisfaction was extremely high, the results indicated the desire to have a new design in the clubhouse interior, additional outdoor seating and dining areas, and casual dining options. Based on member interests, a spa and fitness center was also perceived as a need.
“Three-quarters of our members live in Pelican Bay or other communities within close proximity six or more months of the year, and we utilize Club Pelican Bay often,” says Fred Luconi, Construction Committee Chairman. “So, it was important for us to have the right atmosphere and amenities.”
The members approved the $33 million project in order to maintain Club Pelican Bay’s status as the premier Naples community known worldwide for its location, golf and dining amenities, and attention to member services.
“We are proud to be longtime members and excited about the complete renovation,” says George Phillips, Chairman of the Board and a member, with his wife Juliana, since 1993. “Club Pelican Bay is where we socialize with neighbors, entertain friends and family, and celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. The new clubhouse with its varied dining options will make each visit memorable and unique for us, our guests and business associates.”
The cart barn and clubhouse were torn down in May and July 2016, respectively, and work began immediately. William Ward and Janice McBride Ward, principals of McWard Architects, emphasized the use of natural light and warmth throughout the clubhouse.
D. Garrett Construction, which has worked on more than two dozen local clubhouses, is the general contractor responsible for the new buildings, which are being completed on time and on budget.
“Club Pelican Bay members and management knew what they wanted, communicated well and helped us execute their vision,” says Don Garrett, owner. “The new clubhouse and spa/fitness facility are impressive buildings that blend into their surroundings. We are honored that they chose us for this project.”
Peacock + Lewis Architects and Planners designed the interiors. Wide plank European walnut flooring, textured wallcoverings, soft pallets of blues, grays, browns and greens, and vibrant artwork create an environment that is a nod to the beauty of Florida’s natural habitat and coastal waters.
Highlights include an 8 x 15 custom chandelier in the open air cupola, a merlot-inspired Cambria bar top in the Oaks Room and Wine Bar, and a 116-inch chamcha wood table in the private Oaks dining room.
Listening to member feedback, Club Pelican Bay added four outdoor fire pits, doors across the entire clubhouse back that open to exterior seating, and will allow denim to be worn in the Tavern and outside gathering areas.
There are two kitchens – one upstairs near the ballroom and private dining rooms, and one downstairs near the Tavern, The Oaks Room and private wine/dining room that features a custom chamcha table that seats 12. A sommelier was hired, and the menu now focuses on farm-to-table, local fresh ingredients.
“Members have even more options for dining, including approachable new American cuisine,” says Joe Gross, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage for the past 11 years. “We look forward to making each meal a special occasion for them.”
Heidi Clay, a 34-year employee who is Director of Catering, is already planning events in the new ballroom with built-in dance floor and booking the private dining rooms for members who want to showcase the new clubhouse to their friends.
“As someone who has been here almost since we opened, I can say that what we now offer is unparalleled in our history,” Clay says.
Part of that is due to the new Spa & Fitness Center, an amenity added during the rebuild. There are spaces with gym equipment, for classes such as pilates and yoga, and treatment rooms for facials and massages.
“I look forward to helping Club Pelican Bay members develop programs that meet their health needs and interests,” says Melody Miller, the newly hired Director of Spa & Fitness.
A building housing the Golf Shop and new locker rooms will open next spring as planned. Gene Fieger, only the third Director of Golf in Club Pelican Bay’s history, was most impressed and thankful that the course remained open during construction.
“We attract golfers of all skill levels thanks to our seven sets of tees,” says Fieger “After a round, golfers can now relax in the comfortable outdoor seating areas and recap their game over a beverage and meal. We have the perfect setting for a day in paradise.”
Frank and Sandy Navin joined Club Pelican Bay in 2007 for socializing and soon discovered, as Frank Navin says, “it’s not your father’s club. Rather, it’s the golf club you always dreamed about joining.”
He says club members enjoy the exceptional quality of the course, as maintained by Robert Bittner, Director of Golf Course Operations since 1980 and a Certified Golf Course Superintendent.
“The golf course has matured and flourished since 1980, and Bob Bittner has been the fastidious custodian watching over his proud acreages,” Navin states.
Club Pelican Bay currently has 425 golf and 310 social memberships, comprising almost 1,400 individuals when spouses and significant others are included. The average age of recent new members when joining is 60 and the average age of all members is 66, so it’s an active community. New members younger than 60 are invited to pay the $100,000 nonrefundable dues over the number of years remaining until age 60 with total amortized years not to exceed 10.
While membership is nearing a maximum, prospective members are invited to contact Donna Marie Amy, Director of Membership & Marketing, at 239.514.2494 or email@example.com.