Sleepy Hollow Country Club, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, now has another reason to celebrateâ€”a new squash center. The club's former, 72-year-old and outdated squash building was demolished to make way for a new 10,000 s/f facility that houses three new singles courts and one doubles court. The regulation size courts are equipped with a specialized wall and flooring system by ASB. The facility, constructed at a cost of $4 million, also includes a fitness center and a lounge for the adjacent paddle tennis courts.
The new squash center was designed by James G. Rogers Architects of Norwalk, Conn. One of the primary considerations was to assure that the facility's design would blend with the club's historic clubhouse and stable that was designed by the architects of the early 20th century, McKim, Mead and White.
James Rogers, founder and principal of the architectural firm, also noted that the club decided to construct a certified green building that would operate well above NYS energy code requirements to qualify for LEED certification. "We applaud Sleepy Hollow for taking the bold step of seeking LEED certification. This decision further enhances Sleepy Hollow's position as one of the region's premier country clubs," said Rogers.
William Nitschke, Sleepy Hollow's general manager said, "The new squash and fitness center represents another major investment by the club to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date programs and services for our members and their families. Based on the unanimous praise and instant popularity of the facility among the members, the club is beginning its second century on a very high note."
Dan Jenson, former world-ranked squash champion, has been appointed head squash professional at the club. The 37-year-old native of Brisbane, Australia competed on the Professional Squash Tour from 1993 to 2007. During his professional career, he attained number 1 ranking in Australia and number 5 in the world. Prior to his appointment at Sleepy Hollow, Jenson served as a squash coach for four years with the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar.
"I am thrilled and honored to be a part of Sleepy Hollow Country Club which ranks in the upper echelon of country clubs in the U.S. I especially look forward to working with the members to create the most comprehensive and quality squash program of its kind for players of all ages," said Jenson.
Among Jenson's goals for the club is to host U.S. junior tournaments as well as singles and doubles pro events. Another is to build a program that will help younger players to develop their skills and prepare them for squash at both the high school and college level. Jenson, who is frequently sought out by top high school and college prospects seeking to raise the level of their game, said: "Squash teams are now a growing part of sports programs offered at many high schools and universities. I would like to see junior players from Sleepy Hollow Country Club's squash program become leading players."
Jenson also enjoys working with club members who play squash as a recreational sport. He noted that a Forbes Magazine survey of fitness experts earlier this year rated squash as the healthiest sport, beating out popular sports such as rowing, running, cycling and swimming. "Clearly, this facility could not have been built at a more opportune time," he said.
Jenson's staff includes Mariann Greenberg, who works with many age groups and has been with the club for 30 years and Kasey Brown, a professional squash player from Australia who is currently ranked number 7 in the world on the women's professional tour.
Michael Lowry of Irvington, Chair of Sleepy Hollow's Squash Committee, noted the dramatic turnaround in member interest in squash since the new facility opened. "There is greater interest in the game than there was when we had the old courts. We're seeing a significant increase in the number of members playing, in kids taking lessons and the number of paddle tennis players moving over to squash."
The new building's fitness center includes a seven-person professional staff from The Salus Group which specializes in managing fitness facilities at country clubs. It is equipped with a wide range of fitness equipment and a group fitness exercise room. Among the services offered are one-on-one personal training, young adult sport-specific training, racquet and golf conditioning, squash and tennis conditioning clinics, yoga, cardio/jazz/dance classes, mat Pilates and Zumba.
The new squash facility caps a number of capital improvements that the club undertook in recent years leading to its centennial in 2011. Other projects include the restoration of the club's famed, 18-hole golf course to the original designs and concepts of Charles B. Macdonald, the father of modern golf course design. As a result, the club's ranking in Golfweek's annual Best Classic Courses issue, improved from 85th to 57th.
"From golf, to riding, tennis and competitive swimming, young people can be seen throughout the club participating at all levels. The new squash and fitness center adds to that scene," Nitschke said.