How we think about country clubs is changing. Popularly conceived as closed-off havens of the old guard in movies like Caddyshack, forward-looking institutions such as Lake Nona Golf & Country Club have reimagined themselves as modern centers of health, family and social life. As new residents and young families have reshaped Lake Nona, the club has evolved to advance the social and technology-driven health and wellness lifestyle that defines this community and inspires clubs around the world.
Laureate Park resident Terry Berland, his wife, Kristi, and their five children joined the club when they moved to Lake Nona two years ago. Terry, who played the golf course in the early ‘90s, was struck by the changes at the club. “It felt very much like a modernization bringing everything current,” he said. “Today when you walk in, it is very impressive.”
Lake Nona Golf & Country Club was recently named both a Platinum Club of America and of the World, ranking among the top 50 clubs in the country. That recognition represents the management’s commitment to refreshing the club’s programs and amenities, the staff’s dedication to continually strive to set a new standard in private club service, and reflects Lake Nona’s vision of creating a connected, forward-looking health and wellness community.
As establishing an authentic culture for any organization starts from the ground up, the community’s growing social, inclusive community feel drove the enhancements that today elevate the member experience. Sold-out special events, themed parties and holiday celebrations make good use of the recently renovated, 40,000-square-foot clubhouse that now features modern designs in its sleek bar, dining room, event spaces and terrace with sunset views over the community’s namesake, Lake Nona. Members regularly gather at the clubhouse to enjoy the expertly prepared seasonal cuisine of executive chef Marc Kusche, a trendsetter in the Greater Orlando’s dynamic food scene who joined the club’s culinary team last year.
“What we’ve always liked is that it’s a very approachable club, and they do a good job of making it feel that families are welcome,” Berland said. “We were there for the Easter brunch, and they held the annual egg hunt on the 18th fairway. I know a lot of clubs would never do that.”
With young families being among the fastest-growing membership demographic, the addition of the Nona Crewhouse serves as a permanent youth activities center for thoughtful, year-round programming to engage the club’s youth. As parents take in a round of golf or play tennis, kids have a space of their own to enjoy games, activities, movies, themed events, and summer camp. In meeting families where they are, modern clubs like Lake Nona are becoming not just another option but an integrated part of member’s lives.
“My youngest daughter took swimming lessons and spent a lot of time in the playground area, and my middle daughter is learning to play golf with the club’s director of golf, Gregor Jamieson,” Berland says. “They’ve all found ways to get connected.”
Healthy Bodies, Healthy Swings
Clubs like Lake Nona are expected to offer certain amenities, such as golf, swimming and tennis, but Lake Nona’s commitment to health and leading-edge technologies drives everything that happens both on the championship golf course and in the Bath & Racquet Club. Modernizing clubs are moving to meet the needs of health-minded members with on-site fitness options, with Lake Nona Golf & Country Club integrating additional technology and assets unique to the community thanks to innovative partnerships and its unique physical landscape.
Health and fitness inspired many renovations in recent years, whether designed for better performance on the course or the courts, or to improve residents’ daily lives. The Bath & Racquet Club fitness center recently received an infusion of technology thanks to Lake Nona’s partnership with global health technology leader Technogym. Technogym’s world-class equipment combined with a full schedule of yoga, spin and strength training classes makes fitness and wellness a key part of the club’s culture.
Lake Nona’s signature, championship course was reimagined in 2014 in partnership with the original designer, Tom Fazio, while state-of-the-art technology and training innovations were introduced in the fall of 2016 with the opening of the club’s all-inclusive Golf Performance Center – one that meets the exacting standards of the best players in the world. Here, professionals and committed players can take their game to the next level as this center of golf technology takes players through each phase of the game from True Spec master club fittings to on-screen swing analysis in one of the two hitting bays.
The reimagined course and its enhancements is one of the factors that drew Berland, a former Division I college player, back to check out Lake Nona. “It was nothing like that when I played here 20 years ago,” he recalls. “We were just blown away.”
On the tennis side, the Bath & Racquet Club stands out with an array of state-of-the-art courts, including four Har-Tru courts, and two newly resurfaced, lighted hard courts, the first in the world to feature the high-performance, cushioned Laykold®Gel Coat, an impact-resistant surface that supports exceptional footing and promises consistent ball bounce. These courts set the bar for high-performance and were utilized by professional players while the USTA National Campus was under construction.
Situated on a trio of waterways – Lake Nona, Buck Lake and Red Lake – one of the club’s unmistakable assets is its natural beauty and lakefront views. Water sports are a major component of the club’s culture with kayaks, paddleboards and fishing readily available to make the most of the lakeside lifestyle. Combined with the recently upgraded outdoor amenities at the Bath & Racquet Club like the pool’s new lakeside cabanas, playground equipment and poolside bar, these relaxing, family-minded additions ensure members enjoy the best Florida has to offer.
“Every time we go through the gates, my daughter always says it’s like driving into utopia,” Berland says.
As clubs across the country work to adapt to the changing desires of club members, Lake Nona Golf & Country Club is setting the benchmark for lifestyle-driven clubs. Meeting members where they are with tailored membership offerings, community members will find new ways to engage with these social and wellness amenities. With new residents looking to Lake Nona to experience the best of a health and wellness community, the club will continue to set new standards for better living in Central Florida for years to come.
For more information and the latest on Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, visit lakenona.club.