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Facility Profile - March 2011

Aquatics: Graceful Aging

Pittsburgh Field Club in Fox Chapel, Pa.

By Dawn Klingensmith


Chartered in 1882, the venerable Pittsburgh Field Club is all about aging gracefully. So, when its pool started to deteriorate, the club opted to "have a little work done," as they say, instead of tearing it out and rebuilding from scratch.

The club wants its pool and other amenities to leave a positive impression consistent with its overall image, described on its Web site as "gracious," "stately" and "elegant."

The Pittsburgh Field Club, a private country club founded by "gentlemen mostly of British heritage," has endured to be Western Pennsylvania's oldest sports club, though its focus changed over time from cricket to golf. Now located northeast of Pittsburgh in the suburb of Fox Chapel, the club features an 18-hole golf course dating to 1914, when Alexander H. Findlay, aka "the father of American golf," designed the original layout. Since then, several other course architects have had a hand in shaping its design.

The Field Club (as Pittsburghers call it) hosted the 1937 PGA Championship as well as the 1958 Western Open.

Other amenities include a skeet range, tennis courts, a fishing lake, a driving range and a full-service restaurant, as well as an L-shaped lap pool with a diving well and a separate kids' wading pool.

"While golf may be the dominant club activity, social and family aspects have been equally important ever since (the club's) inception," according to Field Club's Web site.

The pool area provides the setting for many of the social and family activities. However, the pool was originally built in 1966, and its age was showing.

The pool's facelift was performed by the Indianapolis-based aquatic construction and renovation firm RenoSys Corp. The "before" image included "an old concrete pool, old filtration and deck equipment, old concrete gutter and a typical baby pool," said sales manager Michael Comstock.

"This is a high-end country club. Aesthetically, it was looking bad," he added.

Looks weren't the only concern, though. The pool's shell had cracked and was losing water. The plumbing was going bad, and the systems were underperforming as a result.

When cracks and leaks occur, the patch-and-paint solution only works for so long, Comstock explained. Costs associated with water, chemical and heat loss begin to add up.

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