The Champions Club in Ooltewah is under new ownership and nearly $1 million in renovations to the golf course and club are complete or underway.

The Champions Club in Ooltewah has changed ownership several times since opening in 1999 — including its recent purchase by four members, all either current or former homeowners in the surrounding neighborhoods of Hampton Creek, Hampton Cove and Hampton on the Lake.

None of its former owners made any updates to the par-72 golf course and club facilities, which include a pro shop, swimming pool, tennis courts, bar and grill, driving range, and practice greens, said new co-owner Bill Cronin. And the private golf course and club's deteriorating conditions led to a decline in membership, dropping to 78 golf club members from about 300 a decade ago.

"I know golf clubs typically lose money and they're a bad investment, but our owners believe in that course and believe in that community," Cronin said of the decision to purchase the club and return it to its former glory.

The new owners have put close to $1 million into the course and club renovations, he said. A new roof, windows and doors, and carpeting were installed in the clubhouse, which was repainted a bright blue. The pro shop and office have also been renovated, and the swimming pool tile and surrounding concrete have been replaced.

The course has been outfitted with a new irrigation system as well as new flags, tee markers, golf carts and mowing equipment. They're in the process of replacing the back nine greens and sand traps, which will be followed by the replacement of the front nine greens and sand traps, said Cronin.

"Everyone that comes out or plays the course likes it," he said of the renovations. "People are definitely excited. They really see a difference and are just so pleased with what we've done."

In June the club introduced new events including Thirsty Thursdays, featuring half-price bottles of wine and meat-and-cheese plates; and slightly more formal sit-down dinners on Friday nights. A social committee was recently established, which hosted a successful Mother's Day brunch and is planning a Father's Day celebration this month, said Cronin.

He and the other owners' goal in purchasing the club was not to make money, he said, but to restore the club they love to its former state and break even financially, with the hope of eventually selling the club to the homeowners' associations of the three surrounding neighborhoods.

"It not only increases property values, but creates an epicenter for everyone to be," Cronin said of the renovated club.

Membership is open to all and several options are available. The club currently has around 140 members, 75% of whom are homeowners in Hampton Creek, Hampton Cove or Hampton on the Lake, he said.

Champions Club is at 7502 Snow Hill Road and can be reached at 238-6812.

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