Seabrook Island Club’s New Horizon Plan Coming to Life

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By far, this is the best improvement we never knew we had to do” says Caleb Elledge, CCM, PGA and Chief Operating Officer of Seabrook Island Club on Seabrook Island, South Carolina. He’s referring to the new pool at Seabrook’s Beach Club, the first amenity to open from the $10 million New Horizon Plan that the membership approved in early 2019. This is quite a statement coming from someone who was part of the original Horizon Plan, a 2007 initiative to rebuild the clubhouse and update other amenities that proved to be a turning point in the history of the club. 

Like many of the clubs that were able to make improvements during the Great Recession, Seabrook Island outperformed its projections in membership, utilization and debt reduction, making the New Horizon Plan feasible. Along with the pool project, New Horizon will deliver over the next year a renovated Ocean Winds golf course, re-imagined pub and dining spaces in the now 10-year old clubhouse and expansion of Pelican’s Nest, its waterfront grill. 

The pool that was replaced was over 40 years old and near the end of its useful life. While that was motivation enough to make changes, the fact that the coastal setbacks were soon to change created additional impetus to act. As seen in the accompanying photos, the plan, designed by Seamon Whiteside a civil engineering and landscape architecture firm based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, turned the older style complex into something with a resort‐like feel including zones that serve children, families and adults. In addition ,to a new main pool, the project includes a children’s activity zone, a bar and grill on the pool deck, a larger, more attractive deck, sun shelf and other fun features in an environmentally conscious, low-impact design. 

Seabrook Island Club is an excellent example of how forward planning allows a club to fulfill its mission, which in this case is to be the keystone of a unique island community.

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About Frank Vain

Mr. Vain provides consulting and planning services to private clubs throughout North America. Through use of specialized services including membership surveys, strategic planning, operational analysis and facility long range planning, Frank assists club in developing individualized strategies for their unique situations. 

Mr. Vain joined McMahon Group in 1988 and has more than forty years of experience in the management and development of hospitality properties including country clubs, city athletic and dining clubs and residential communities. Frank is Past President of The Country Club of St. Albans, a 36-hole country club located in Missouri, and he is a former partner in Concord Sports Club, a 1,700 member family athletic club in St. Louis. Frank was elected to the Board of the National Club Association in 2011 and served as Chairman in 2019-20. 

Mr. Vain is a native of Philadelphia and graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is a featured speaker at the annual Club Managers Association of America World Conference, National Club Association National and Regional Conferences, Major Golf Associations and a regional chapter meeting of club managers and leaders. 

Frank is a regular contributor to industry leading publications like Club Management, Club Director and BoardRoom. He was named the Gary Player Club Educator of the Year for 2012 and 2015 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 by BoardRoom. He is also a co-author of McMahon’s Club Trends, a recognized industry benchmark on the trends and issues affecting private clubs. 

More articles by Frank Vain
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