The new Aquatic Center will be a big hit with families.

Is private club membership right for you?

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Director of Golf Dustin Kerr-Taylor believes the course has something for everyone

Bayview Golf & Country Club is completing a $13 million expansion with new fitness and aquatic facilities, expanded dining and meeting space, and indoor golf simulators. With a Top 100 golf course plus curling and tennis all available in the heart of the city, it sure sounds like the perfect choice.

Joining a private club is a big decision for most people.

On the surface it can look easy. The club has a fantastic golf course, tennis courts, a curling rink, aquatic centre, fitness centre and lots of dining options. There are programs for kids and beginners, and support and training for all the sports from experienced professionals. It’s filled with people of all ages, playing, laughing and having a great time. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

On the other hand, joining a club represents a commitment in both time and money. Does joining mean that you give up everything else and devote all your spare time to club activities? Maybe you don’t know any current members. Will you fit in? It may be right for you but what about the rest of your family?

Bayview Golf & Country Club in Thornhill is confident that they have the answers to those questions. And what’s more, the club is investing $13 million in clubhouse improvements which will make joining Bayview an even easier decision for you and your family.

The renovation is adding a 13,300 square foot swimming complex with a grand main pool, children’s splash pool and resort-style decks for sunning and relaxing; a 4,000 square foot Fitness Centre overlooking the swimming pool, outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and 1,000 square feet of studios for specialty programs and classes; a new poolside dining area for a resort-style outdoor lunch or dinner experience; high-definition indoor golf simulators for year-round social play, coaching and practicing; and upgraded banquet facilities and meeting rooms.

Fitness Director Jennifer Oliver is absolutely bursting with excitement when she talks about the new fitness centre and what it will do for members.

”It’s a huge improvement with lots more space and equipment but what I’m most excited about will be our ability to conduct specific training programs for golf, tennis and curling. Preventing injury through proper training and helping members perform better at their particular sport means they’ll enjoy it more and have more fun.”

The new fitness area includes a bright new studio space that will offer a variety of classes including spin and yoga as well as offering various wellness workshops.  The Bayview fitness team is focused on providing quality programing, instruction and advice that will help all Bayview members to achieve their fitness and wellness goals.

It’s going to be a giant drawing card for prospective members who are looking for a top notch fitness centre with expert training too. And maybe that’s all they want.

At many clubs, you have to buy the whole package but at Bayview the option is there to use only what you need.

David Cunningham has been a member at Bayview for 45 years.

“Joining a club is a major commitment, not unlike buying a cottage. One of the nice things about Bayview is that they make it easy to test. You can join any of the sections by themselves or even be a trial member before making the decision to join. The trial is very important. They let you dip a toe before you have to jump in.”

Cunningham himself originally joined as a curling member then added a social membership and tennis. Eventually, he added golf too, so that now he enjoys the club on a year round basis.

Families today are faced with an endless number of choices in terms of leisure activities. Getting the kids involved in sports is always at the top of the list but for those who have never played golf or tennis or curling, it can be intimidating. Dustin Kerr-Taylor is the Director of Golf at Bayview and is acutely aware of that because he sees people with first tee jitters every day.

“Learning a sport can be intimidating, especially when you think everybody is watching you and they all look like they’re pretty good at it. You have to remember that they all had to learn at some point too. One of the things we offer is a complete instructional suite for everybody from beginners to experts, including kids. With the addition of our indoor simulators, that will be year round too.”

Those expert instruction programs extend to tennis and curling as well and can be part of a new member “dipping a toe.”

Some people don’t have to dip a toe. They will know instinctively that joining the club is the right decision for them and their family. Perhaps they’ve been a member of a private club in another city or grew up as a member of one and want their kids to have the same experience.

Arlene Kern and her husband Michel Paradis joined Bayview in December 2002.

“We saw Bayview as a place for us to be part of a family oriented club with exceptional facilities. We couldn’t have been happier with our decision! We curl in the winter, golf in the summer and use the fitness facilities year-round. It is truly our home away from home and our “community”. Our children started curling in “Little Rocks” and continue to be avid curlers as adults. We golf together and curl together. We have all developed friendships that we value greatly. When we are at Bayview, we feel like we’re with family.”

One of the amazing benefits of joining a private club is acquiring a different lifestyle. It doesn’t mean you have to give up your old one – just that more options open up for you. Naturally, those choices will be different for everyone.

For Harold Little and his family, the club was important but not everything. He and his wife joined Bayview in the late 80’s with their two sons but they also enjoyed skiing in the winter and had a family cottage up north.

Harold says, “The club was a great place for the kids to grow up. We knew that they were well looked after and watched by the staff who knew them. We could pop in for a few holes of golf and know the kids were close by and having fun too.”

The final consideration for joining a private club is financial. Bayview has the answer for that too. Until the end of July, when all the new facilities will be completed, new members can join for half the regular rate and there are excellent options for families, trial members and people looking to just dip a toe. Click HERE to see the full list of membership options.

At the end of the day, having fun IS what it’s all about. As David Cunningham says, “You have to ask yourself, how do I want to spend my leisure time? Whether you buy a cottage or join a club, it’s a major decision and a major commitment.

“For me, Bayview is my cottage. It’s where I go to relax.”

Peter Mumford
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. He's played over 500 different courses in 21 countries and met some fascinating people along the way. He's also a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

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