Bridgewater Club receives honors renovations


The Bridgewater Club is receiving high marks from the golf industry for its recent renovations.

Mike Gardner, who became the chief operating officer and general manager of The Bridgewater Club, 3535 E. 161st St., in January 2013, said visitors to the Westfield club were surprised about the renovation because they said it already looked great.

“Our MO is constant reinvestment and always staying ahead of the curve and continuing to elevate the member experience, and stay on the forefront of not just locally but nationally,” he said of the 18-year-old country club.

Gardner said he was especially proud Bridgewater received honorable mention recognition from Golf Inc. publication for the “2021 Clubhouse of the Year” international competition in the Private Club Renovation category. It was the only club in the Midwest to be recognized by global industry peers.

“The award was based on efficiency, aesthetics, vision and sustainability. All those factors were taken into account when they were judging,” Gardner said.

In the Club & Resort Business magazine’s 2021 rankings, Bridgewater was ninth in top locker rooms, 12th in top golf shops and 24th in top patios.

“The fact we’re going up toe-to-toe with some of the best clubs in the country, and the world, for that matter, that these publications are recognizing the investments being made right here locally are on par with the best clubs in the world, is really neat,” Gardner said. “We still don’t want to lose sight of who we are and what we are. We are all about taking care of the members and creating those relationships and providing a really great experience for members across the board. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing multi-generations being members here.”

Gardner said the goal of the renovation was to refresh and reinvigorate all aspects of the clubhouse.

“The goal was to keep the membership connected to the space,” Gardner said. “It was to make it as inviting as possible and also make it a little more current. The centerpiece of the renovation was the bar. The old main dining room had a bar that was about 10 feet. In an environment like this, which is about socialization and creating connections, to have 10 bar stools wasn’t very local.”

Gardner said the club replaced it with 36-foot bar, which is called the Zinc Bar.

“As other restaurants and clubs are looking to make changes, they are visiting us,” Gardner said. “That is the new gold standard. They are saying that is what they want in their space.”

Gardner said the bar is connected to the outdoor patio space.

Gardner said the renovation also pays homage to golf legends Pete and Alice Dye. Pete Dye designed the 18-hole championship course. There is a legacy room with family photos of the Dyes.
“It’s a nice nod to the Dyes and their influence on The Bridgewater Club to make it what it is,” Gardner said. “We wanted to make sure their legacy would carry on into the future.”

There are 850 homes and more than 1,250 memberships at Bridgewater.

“COVID-19 has (created) an amazing surge for the golf industry and club industry because people want to stay home and stay safe,” Gardner said. “Even with things opening up, we still (have a) record number of inquiries and record numbers joining.”

The renovation began with painting and carpet work in November 2019. Construction began in February 2020, just before the pandemic began.

“Our goals were to have things finished with new furniture, new light fixtures, the bar open in June 2020. (It) didn’t quite happen that way,” Gardner said. “We started doing piecemeal reopening in late June and didn’t finish up until November of 2020.”

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