The Concession turns a mansion into a fitness center

Pulling into the parking lot at The Concession Golf Club fitness facility, I assumed I had the wrong address. This place is a mansion, too extravagant to be used for fitness.

But general manager Bruce Cassidy, Jr. said the club bought an 8,000 square-foot house and converted it into a fitness center for the members --- a nice touch.

The two-story mansion has 12 rooms, including seven bathrooms, an elevator and a garage with 16 fitness stations.  There is a room for yoga and palates.

Also, two closets have been converted into lockers. There are two massage rooms, a relaxation room and an oversized pool that is used for water aerobics.

Oh, and if a member does want to host a party, there is a chef available, a kitchen and a pool-side grill.

But, hey, most members go to the fitness center to improve their golf game or just find out how to improve their overall well-being.

That's where 29-year-old fitness director James Whatmore shines. He is only one of 10 fitness instructors in the state of Florida with a third-level certification from the Titleist Performance Institute.james.jpg

And here is the best part. He is available to the members and public. Whatmore hosts one-hour fitness classes every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and every Thursday at 8 a.m. The public can attend these classes for $20 per session, or non-members can book one-hour private sessions for as little as $80.

Whatmore is a born-again fitness instructor.  As a junior golfer growing up in northeast England, Whatmore was good enough to think he could play on the pro tours. So, he came to America and went to David Leadbetter's Junior Golf Academy at IMG Academies in 2001.

It was at IMG where he met David Donatucci, who is now the fitness director for PGA of America.  When his aspirations as a pro golfer soured, Whatmore turned to fitness. He thought he could help juniors, women, seniors and pro golfers improve their fitness and therefore improve their games.

Long driving champ Kevin Shook of Bradenton is one of his clients, and PGA Tour pro D.A. Points has scheduled a session.

"Everybody has something going on in their body," said Whatmore.

During the first session, Whatmore puts his clients through 20 screens, checks for injuries, updates their medical background and has a consultation with them. It is not unusual for most golfers to fail many or all of the screens.

Once Whatmore determines what his client needs, he prescribes a workout regimen and demonstrates how to do it.

 As for The Concession members, they can use any and all the help they can get. Just recently, Golf Digest rated the course No. 65 on its top 75 list of the most difficult courses in the U.S.

If interested in participating in one of the classes or taking a personal fitness session, Whatmore can be reached at 941-536-1070, 941-322-1923 or visit


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