50 years young

Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2014

After earlier this decade emerging from financial difficulties debt-free and with a new membership structure, a social and recreational institution at the confluence of the Nansemond and James rivers has just finished celebrating its 50th birthday.

Cedar Point Country Club marked its half-century in 2014 with five special events through the year. Members dined and danced the night away at the culminating gala last Saturday.

“We had a great champagne reception with a large raw bar,” said Cameron Robinett, Cedar Point president, adding that he thanked members and the board “for their hard work.”

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In May 2012, Robinett said the country club had, thanks to the grace of a group of members, settled debts totaling $3.8 million.

“Bankruptcy was a real possibility,” he had said.

Last week, Robinett remarked that the 50th milestone “shows the staying power of the club and what a strong membership base we have.”

Cedar Point continues to be a strong country club in its neck of the woods, he said, adding that the membership has worked its way through some “difficult economic times.” “For the club to mean so much to so many people is really a testament to our members,” he said.

A fresh start after conquering the debts allowed a new membership structure, which no longer requires members to buy stock.

This year, the country club has ushered in another new feature aimed at boosting membership: generational membership.

It allows for up to four generations of a single family to have all the rights and privileges of one club membership.

“We are not the first country club to do it, but we are certainly the first in the area to offer it,” Robinett said, adding it’s “a wonderful opportunity” for larger families looking for a place to come together.

The country club and golf industries are still going through tough times, Robinett said, from the “overbuilding of golf courses and the like.”

Generational membership, he said, helps solve another industry challenge: the time and monetary constraints younger families face.

“We’ve had 23 families take us up on that offer,” Robinett said, including existing members upgrading and some new members.

“What’s interesting about it, we’ve got 23 (such) memberships, but out of those, you are looking at close to 70 nuclear families. It really has done a lot to inject some youth and new blood into our club.”

Cedar Point’s other 50th celebrations this year, Robinett said, included an LPGA Pro-Am in May, family fun fest Memorial Day weekend, throw-back-the-clock costume party in July and Cedar Point Night with “Chicago” at nTelos Wireless Pavilion in September.

A number of Cedar Point members don’t live within a 50-mile radius of the club, according to Robinett.

“I think we have always been a destination club, given our location,” he said.

“One of the things we are most excited about is the continued growth of the North Suffolk area.”