By Ryan Purcell
From now until the summer of 2016, Glen Ridge Country Club is embarking on an $11 million renovation that will tie together its many facilities with a brand new 40,000 square-foot clubhouse and pro shop.
The project includes a new golf and tennis pro shop overlooking the tennis courts and the new first tee, with a golf training facility that has two interior hitting bays for foul and winter weather.
“The clubhouse will undergo a major renovation, including a new wraparound exterior porch installed on the back of the building overlooking the golf course and New York City to the East. The historic characteristics of the 100-plus year-old clubhouse will be maintained,” said Rod Donnelly, president of Donnelly Construction which will perform the renovation.
According to Donnelly, the new additions , which he outlined in detail below, will enhance the attraction for potential new members.
“The new pro shop and training facility, two new bars, a wine room, improved dining facilities, the new wraparound exterior porch, a great new entrance and lobby, enlarged ballroom and new bridal suite, improvements to the pool building including an expanded fitness center, will all add value to the club member experience,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly Construction is the leader in clubhouse renovation in the Metropolitan area, have refurbished and/or rebuilt facilities at renowned courses such as Baltusrol, Canoe Brook, Winged Foot, North Jersey and Mountain Ridge.
“We assisted the club from the beginning of the process, providing budgeting services and making suggestions both to the board and the architect and designer (Jefferson Group Architects and Judd Brown Designs). This project has been in the planning stages for nearly two years,” Donnelly added.
Glen Ridge has undertaken several projects in recent years as precursors to this large renovation. The golf course itself has been redesigned to the original layout constructed by the esteemed Willie Park Jr. At 6,123 yards from the champion tees, the design is both challenging and beautiful boasting several views of Manhattan’s skyline throughout play.
The club has also had four new Har-Tru tennis courts built, making five in total—one dedicated to youth development and one hard court. A snack bar and lounging area adjacent to the tennis courts will be upgraded with the 2016 renovation.
The new pool complex boasts an Olympic sized pool, a kiddie pool, a water jet pool, a snack bar, and a tiki bar.
Additional projects recently completed include the construction of a 30,000 square foot maintenance facility, a professional catering kitchen, and a new state-of-the-art fitness area for both cardio and strength training. The club’s dining experience will be from anywhere between friendly and casual to elegant and formal with a wall of windows facing east with a view of the golf course and Manhattan skyline in the distance.
The bold effort to renovate the entire clubhouse by one of New Jersey’s oldest country clubs is contradictory to the national decline in country club memberships.
“We have a proud tradition since 1894 with a loyal and passionate family membership that sees the club as a complete social gathering place to enjoy a beautiful golf course, tennis courts and fitness center while also celebrating holidays and family gatherings. The total upgrade of all facilities will help us deliver added services with a wide variety of private club amenities” said Jim Kirkos, president of the Glen Ridge Country Club.
“This Transformation Master Plan will position Glen Ridge Country Club to offer the full experience of golf, tennis, health, wellness and pool activities with fabulous new dining and banquet options that will service the growing need for member business and social events.
“While many golf clubs are closing, this transformation plan makes GRCC a perfect option for seasoned golfers, tennis enthusiasts and new young families alike. Glen Ridge Country Club will offer a new invigorated private club experience,” Kirkos said.
Jessica Mazzola of NJ.com reported:
“Glen Ridge, [Club President Jim] Kirkos said, has survived by adapting to the country-clubber of today, who is interested in more diversified offerings. Adding in family-based activities outside of golf, and casual dining options, has appealed to the club’s younger members.”
Glen Ridge currently has 500 members; a number they hope will increase post-renovation.
At a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the club and its new project, Kirkos had this to say: “The result will be the ideal destination for families with children, dedicated golfers, private events, corporate outings and more.”