F45: The next revolution in golf fitness?

Rapidly growing fitness company is taking its proven model of high intensity interval training into country clubs, partnering 1st with Concert Golf Partners


Fitness guru Adam Gilchrist will use his Australian ties to hook up with one of the biggest names in golf as his F45 brand embarks on a major foray into the sport in 2022.

Gilchrist, the founder and CEO of the renowned F45 fitness offerings, will hold a one-hour seminar surrounding golf and fitness on Wednesday at the 69th PGA Show in Orlando with fellow countryman and megastar Greg Norman, the two-time major champion who last year was named CEO of LIV Investments, which has invested heavily into the Asian Tour.

Gilchrist co-founded the company in 2013 in Sydney and created a brand known for its high intensity interval training classes, attracting fans of the workouts such as Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg, famous music executive Steve Aoki and Norman.

The company made a big splash last summer when its stock went public on the New York Stock Exchange. The fitness firm now has more than 3,000 franchises in 63 countries and Entrepreneur claims F45 is the fastest growing fitness franchisor in the world.

And Gilchrist is on the move again. This year, he has introduced six new concepts specifically tailored to country clubs and hotels to make the fun and function of F45 workouts available to club members and hotel guests.

"Some of these country clubs cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to join, and in some cases somewhat devalue training facilities," Gilchrist said. "It’s about supply and demand, and the demand is there for people to have an incredible workout, improve their golf and be happier and healthier. We’re just marrying up a great workout with these folks that are trying to deliver an incredible product to their members. These country clubs have a mandate to deliver great products and services — whether it's food and beverage or the quality of the greens. This is just an extension of that, but we’re excited because it’s a big market that we’re trying to marry up to."

How big? Well, Gilchrist has an ambitious goal of F45 workouts being in more than 10,000 clubs worldwide.

"On a macro level we would like to be in as many clubs as possible," Gilchrist said. "How fast this industry moves, I’m not quite sure. But we don’t need to prove that this system works. We have 3,000 franchises, and we don’t need to prove that institutions like country clubs need these benefits. It’s hard to sit there and argue that we can’t deliver a great workout when we’re training soldiers for combat at Miramar Military Bases (in Florida). Can we handle that type of scale of 10,000 clubs? The answer is yes. Will the industry move? They may need more time to get comfortable with us. But we hope we’ve built up enough trust over the last year to really be able to accelerate through the industry in 2022.”

F45 is specifically designed to provide a functional full-body workout while improving energy levels, metabolic rate, strength, and endurance. There is also a golf specific workout that is offered by F45.

The beauty of a F45 workout is two-fold for golf clubs — the sessions can be geared to scale from 1-to-36 people, and the cost for each club starting a franchise is relatively inexpensive considering one high-end treadmill can cost as much as $15,000. 

Gilchrist says the magic combination of high volume, high margins with minimal overheads ensures that F45 franchisees enjoy significant returns on their modest capital outlay.

"It’s revolutionary in that no one has ever really delivered a Rolls Royce of training into many of these country clubs," he said. "People won’t have to wander around like zombies wondering what they should be doing. Golfers come in, we establish certain goals over time, and then our programming will deliver workouts that meet their requirements to achieve those goals.”

Concert Golf Partners is the first F45 Clubs and Hotels Program deal to be executed in the golf industry. Through the partnership, Concert will open and operate new franchised F45 studios across its network of private clubs. The first club that will launch F45’s fitness club workout will be the Indian Spring Country Club in Boynton Beach, Fla. The plan is to open by March 1.

The partnership between Concert and F45 will likely see 22 concepts open across roughly 16 Concert clubs.

"We have workouts that start for a 12-year-old and go all the way up to 100 years old,” Gilchrist said. “A lot of people find exercise a toxic process that requires not just a lot of physical effort but a lot of metal effort, too. This is a fun workout and you can actually enjoy training again.”

The F45 customized workouts are executed by on-site trainers in which F45 provides to the club, on a video where those exercising can follow along with an instructor, or via an app download to your cell phone or iPad. 

“Some of these clubs are completely decked out with great equipment, however they weren’t delivering a service; they were just providing a product that people train on. The revolution and evolution has now gone from offering products to delivering a world-class service.” Gilchrist said.