The country club where the late Arnold Palmer had what he called the turning point in his legendary golf career is at a turning point of its own.
The Country Club of Detroit, on 212 acres in Grosse Pointe Farms, is scheduled soon to complete a $9 million renovation of its Tudor Revival-style clubhouse to add a fitness center and move bowling lanes to the bottom level of the building.
Palmer, who died Sept. 25, took his first step toward golf greatness on the club’s 18-hole course with a 1954 U.S. Amateur victory at the 119-year-old club, which says its construction efforts are designed to provide year-round amenities to its 800-plus members who are paying about $100 per month extra in dues to pay for the construction.
“Country clubs generally concentrate on the 100 days of summer we have in Michigan, but you have to offer more,” said Craig Cutler, general manager and COO of the club. “This helps us with a year-round operation. We don’t close anymore.”
The projects add a modern fitness center to the clubhouse’s ground level to replace an emptied indoor swimming pool that had been closed since the early 1930s. Completion is expected next month.
A six-lane bowling alley, expected to be complete this month, is being added to the bottom level.
Work began on the two projects about a year ago.
Troy-based G2 Consulting Group provided engineering services for the project. The club required that the footprint or historical architecture of its existing clubhouse — which is actually the fourth in club history — not be altered.
Excavation was done under the building so the foundation could be lowered to make room for higher ceilings and larger interior spaces. To accomplish that without disturbing the footprint, the building was put on stilts, according to Mark Stapleton, G2’s project manager.
Concrete was then poured to encapsulate the stilts, which provided stability for the renovations without disruption to the structure; the new foundation walls will also serve as long-term support.
In all, the building moved just 1/32 of an inch during the entire process.
Birmingham-based McIntosh Poris Associates was the architecture firm. Farmington Hills-based McCarthy & Smith Inc. is the general contractor, and West Bloomfield Township-based Desai/Nasr Consulting Engineers Inc. also provided engineering services.
The casual dining area and kitchen also have been renovated recently.