- June 10, 2015
After a three-year $7.2 million renovation and expansion project, Hammock Dunes Club is seeing results: The new onsite restaurant has produced a 45% increase in diners, and the new fitness center has seen more than 100% increased participation in classes.
Most importantly, according to General Manager Jess Thorpe, the members are happy.
“Everything we do is steered around our members,” he said.
Hammock Dunes was founded in 1989. Unlike the Hammock Beach Resort just to the north, Hammock Dunes has no hotel; it’s a 1,200-home community with amenities available for members only — including the new restaurant and fitness center.
Although the club membership has shrunken since its peak of about 800 in 2008, membership has stabilized at around 650, Thorpe said. About 45% of the membership lives in Hammock Dunes year-round.
The average of club members is over 60, but the club is getting younger as early retirees and successful work-from-home professionals move in.
“A lot of people e-commute now, so they don’t have to work in an office,” Thorpe said. “So we’re seeing some younger families make that work.”
Thorpe said he held focus groups with club members to came up with the renovation plan, which 85% of the members approved. A splash pad was one request that ended up in the final plans.
The club members will pay for the $7.2 million improvements over the next 10 years.
The new restaurant, called Dunes Tavern, replaced the 19th Hole Bar and added 130 seats and an open kitchen. It’s now open six nights per week instead of five.
The fitness center, which used to be 1,600 square feet, is now 6,000 with a full dance floor and many new pieces of equipment. In addition, pickleball, bocce and croquet are expanding.
“Everything is built around offering the premium experience,” he said.
Thorpe said that in addition to the tax base that benefits the entire county, Hammock Dunes Club members combine to fund scholarships, toy drives — and two houses annually for Habitat for Humanity.
“The members are on the board or are very involved in every philanthropic organization in Flagler County,” he said.