Country club adds new fitness center

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Jane Woodin, left, gets assistance from Norris Morgan on Wednesday at the fitness center at Benvenue Country Club.


Staff Writer

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A longtime local country club has opened a new work-out facility in an effort to improve the health and wellness of its members and be a place that will attract new, younger members.

A ribbon-cutting celebration was held Wednesday by the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce for the opening of the Benvenue Country Club full-service Fitness Room and Group Exercise Studio at the club’s Tennis and Fitness Center.

Michele Benton, general manager of the Benvenue Country Club, said the facility is for members only.

“We’ve been here for 96 years and we’re heading to 100 years and we’re just giving more services and amenities to our current members,” Benton said. 

Benvenue Country Club has sub-contracted Key Fitness Nashville to manage the facility. Key Fitness Nashville consists of Norris Morgan, a longtime certified personal trainer, and a few other trainers. Benton said she and Morgan had several meetings before coming up with a plan.

“We entertained this with another area business at one time, but due to construction and layout it didn’t work in that situation,” Benton said. “However, it got the ball rolling on this and I saw that they needed additional business and we were a business needing staff.”

Inside the more than 20,000-square-foot facility is 11,000 square feet of space that contains different exercise and workout equipment, such as a couple Peleton brand stationary exercise bikes. Members will have the option to stream live spinning classes with instructors from New York or use the TSX system, also known as total resistance exercises, which is a form of suspension training developed by a former U.S. Navy SEAL that uses body weight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously.

On the other side of the fitness center is another 11,000 square feet of space for group exercise classes. One class will focus on helping members strengthen their muscles and increase their range of motion and another class is geared to high intensity aerobic workouts that require no special equipment. Members can also take yoga classes that promote health and relaxation. The class works on breath control, balance, flexibility and strength.

Benton said also included in the facility is a children’s area where youth waiting for a tennis lesson or golf clinic can hang out or do their homework. She added the country club has space in the facility for members to book banquets or hold children’s birthday parties.

The fitness center was an idea Benvenue Country Club started looking into back in the early 2000s but had to table a few times because of financial reasons until it was ready to go forward with it in March. Benton said Benvenue Country Club has a membership of 400.

Benton, who previously was the general manager of a country club in Virginia that had a fitness center, said having a fitness center has become the main reason a person will look to join a particular country club.

“We’re seeing more people come into this area, and when they come in interested in joining the club one of the tops things they were asking is do you have a fitness center?” Benton said. “We really felt the time was right with all this great stuff going on in the city and the good things going on in the club to add more services and amenities to keep our current members and hopefully bring in more members to the club.”

Rip Woodin and his wife were getting in a workout with the fitness center equipment on Wednesday. Woodin, who has been a member of Benvenue Country Club since 1998 and has served on the club’s board, said he knows how significant an asset the fitness center facility could be in drawing a younger base to Benvenue Country Club.

“You want to entice families, especially younger families to join,” Woodin said. “It’s important to have a fitness center so it can possibly appeal to younger members. It is definitely a reason why they now join private clubs.”