Sawgrass Beach Club celebrates re-opening

Multimillion-dollar renovation emphasizes family-friendly amenities


Hundreds of people celebrated the grand reopening of the Sawgrass Beach Club Sunday, marking the end of a nine-month, multimillion-dollar renovation that officials say will provide the type of amenities today’s members desire.

In addition to a ribbon cutting ceremony, the celebration featured bands, complimentary food and beverages and the chance to tour the newly renovated facility.

“It was our way of showing appreciation to our members for waiting this long,” said Janet Collins, director of membership services for Sawgrass Country Club. “The feedback we’ve gotten from members has been terrific. They’re very excited and really love it.”

In addition to an all-new interior design featuring new furniture and fixtures throughout the indoor dining and bar areas, the renovation included tearing out the club’s family pool and replacing it with a more modern, resort-style pool. New decks were added by the club’s popular Sand Bar bistro and Pavilion.

General Manager Barry McDonald noted that the recent renovations build upon several other significant improvements made to the club in recent years, including opening a new fitness center and major renovations to the golf course.

“The renovation was about renewing the club’s most valuable asset,” General Manager Barry McDonald said. “But it was also about positioning Sawgrass Beach Club for Ponte Vedra and younger families and recognizing how our current members are using the club.”

As more families with young children have moved to Ponte Vedra to be close to the beach and take advantage of great schools, he said, the club’s casual Sand Bar and Pavilion have become the most active part of the property.

“With casual food and casual dress, the Pavilion just offer a really family-friendly environment,” he said, adding that the club offers a host of family activities such as $3 burger nights, taco nights and a weekly fish fry.

“We’ve done a good job of evolving to meet the growing trend of young families looking to join clubs,” Collins said. “And offering new amenities and activities is one way of responding to that trend.”

By members, for members

Club officials stressed that the renovations were completed with input and involvement from its members, who own and operate the club. Volunteer co-chairs Kristen Ely and Bob Fairley helped provide input and oversight of the project on behalf of the club’s 1,450 members.

“Our board was very involved in the renovations, approving various projects,” Collins said. “They also offered input through surveys and other channels.”

Contrary to popular opinion, members do not have to live in Sawgrass Country Club in order to belong to the club. Currently, only about 35 percent of its members live in the community.

“Our members are our greatest asset,” McDonald said. “They support the club, they own the club and they are very proud of it.”

He also noted that while most of the clubs in the Ponte Vedra Beach area are for-profit businesses, Sawgrass Beach Club is a nonprofit organization.

“Our club is owned and operated by the members for the benefit of the members,” McDonald said. “Our bottom line is our members’ satisfaction.”