Icing on the Cake

New Clubhouse Sweetens The Cliffs at Keowee Springs

They came for the thick grilled steaks, the seafood and dessert stations—don’t pass by the chocolate fountain—and, of course, the libations. And they stayed for hours and hours, those 1,000-some member-guests who feasted on The Cliffs’ freshest architectural entrée: the Keowee Springs Clubhouse.

So it was on a warmish, breezy Saturday evening in mid-October that members and their families from all seven communities at The Cliffs got their first taste of the new facility. The party was simply the icing on the cake for The Cliffs’ sweet new centerpiece—with an actual cake that a local baker had designed to look like the community hub.


“Not the size of the actual building,” chuckles Kyle Caudill, General Manager of The Cliffs at Keowee Springs, “but it was pretty tasty.”

The real thing is, too, inside and out.

The single-story clubhouse extends nearly 19,000 square feet, or just shy of a half-acre, with a breezeway separating two wings of roughly the same size: a state-of-the-art wellness wing and the dining and community wing. Outside, a covered area extends more than 5,500 square feet, while an uncovered exterior space measures just shy of 8,000 square feet.

That doesn’t even include the expansive vista.

“The thing that really captures your emotions is the view,” says Rob Duckett, President at The Cliffs.

While Tim Slattery, one of the architects, calls the site a “50-yard line” between the lake and the links, Louise Le Gardeur, associate principal at Hart Howerton, the same San Francisco-based architectural firm where Slattery is a partner, says the design takes full advantage of the hilltop site.

“Having the indoor-outdoor connection was a really big part of the architecture,” she says.

Kate and Tucker Hite were among the throngs at the Grand Opening, which the “staff pulled off seamlessly,” Tucker says.

They joined The Cliffs in 2014 and moved into their new home at Keowee Springs 2021; after nine years, they’re thrilled about Keowee Springs’ big new amenity.

“They certainly had a vision of what they wanted it to be and the functionality of it is, I think, really, really good,” Tucker says. “From an architectural flow standpoint, I think it’s great. It’s nice that it’s all in one place.”

Slattery calls the architectural style “mountain modern.”

“It’s all a little more crisp and clean,” he says of the design compared with so many other clubhouses. “We wanted to dial it a little more on the modern side, but still keep the traditional.”

Le Gardeur agrees, adding the design provides a variety of spaces “so that as a member, as a guest, you can experience different things.”

Primary among those, both say, was situating the building so that guests take in the practice range, the short game area, and the 18th hole—what Slattery calls “those golf experiences.” “The whole idea is that it’s a different relationship to golf, where it’s a little more fun and interactive than just static and staring at golfers,” he adds.

As Duckett puts it, “You come into the breezeway and as you look out the back, this elevated view over the golf course, the short game area, and the long-range view really is amazing.” 

Like the architects, Duckett knew from the moment that South Street Partners acquired the seven luxury mountain communities in 2019 that the clubhouse would be nestled into a ridge that was already graded at The Cliffs at Keowee Springs. The site, he says, was tailor-made for the project.

“When you look at private clubhouses,” he says, “you’ve really never seen anything like this particular clubhouse.”

And with so much flex space, indoors and out, Duckett says, “Depending on what’s happening, whether it’s daily activity or events, it gives the staff and team a lot of flexibility on how to operate the clubhouse, which I thought was a unique feature.”

”The hope is that people are using this as their living room, effectively the communities’ living room,” Slattery says, while Duckett notes that members and their families from throughout The Cliffs are already using the space just that way. 

And, as Slattery adds, it’s a space where folks can drop in to work.

“Just the idea of how people can work these days and how they’ll work in the future where there’s a lot more flexibility. There’s a little library off the bar, where you could go in and take a phone call or do whatever,” he says.

Tucker, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who went on to serve nine years in the Marine Corps, works as a financial advisor and splits his time between Maryland and The Cliffs. He knows he could log in at the clubhouse, too, though he and Kate prefer to play golf and relax at the club, enjoy the pampering there.

“The staff is what makes it,” Kate says. “They’re just busting over backwards trying to make it the most incredible experience for all the members.”

Even a couple of months after the party, the Hites say the clubhouse remains packed with members.

To that, Caudill says, “I think we’ve hit the nail on the head with this facility. It allows for an atmosphere of community–bringing members together for a variety of activities.” Then he adds with a chuckle. “We’re not letting you leave.”

After all, that’s what the clubhouse is all about.

“My hope is that people are running around, goofing around on the lawn, people are hanging out on the porches,” Slattery says, “and the clubhouse is really this centerpiece to the whole action of the life of Keowee Springs.”

This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To see more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.

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