WHAT MAKES A GREAT 19TH?

It is in­te­gral to a top day’s golf, but what makes a club­house spe­cial? Fer­gus Bis­set in­ves­ti­gates

Golf Monthly - - Florian Fritsch -

great club­house can make a golf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It isn’t merely a place to change one’s shoes, al­though a good locker room can cer­tainly add to the of­fer­ing. The club­house is far more, though; it’s where a golfer is wel­comed to a club; where they will get a taste for the place. It’s where that golfer will re­turn af­ter bat­tle to be con­grat­u­lated or con­soled. The great club­house will re­flect the char­ac­ter of the venue, de­liv­er­ing hospi­tal­ity and sus­te­nance in keep­ing with its sur­round­ings.

When con­sid­er­ing the Top 100 rank­ings, the club­house plays an im­por­tant role in de­ter­min­ing the over­all am­bi­ence. The very best draw you in, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult to leave.

AA part of his­tory There are dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics that com­mend var­i­ous club­houses in our list, from his­tory to hospi­tal­ity, char­ac­ter to the qual­ity of the carvery. Start­ing at the be­gin­ning, club­houses that re­flect the his­tory of the game give the visi­tor a feel­ing they are, just for that day, a part of some­thing rather spe­cial. Per­haps the best ex­am­ple is at Prest­wick. The walls of the var­i­ous tra­di­tion­ally fur­nished rooms are fes­tooned with amaz­ing arte­facts.

Other club­houses like those at Royal West Nor­folk, Royal Liver­pool, Royal Lytham, Formby and Royal North Devon express a sense of time­less­ness through their amaz­ing his­to­ries. These are places where it would be very pos­si­ble to bed down into a leather chair with a pint of ale and never get up.

Some are par­tic­u­larly mem­o­rable be­cause of their ex­ter­nal de­sign. Royal Birk­dale is pos­si­bly the most strik­ing ex­am­ple of this. With its art-deco styling, white­washed walls and curved win­dows, it’s a great work of ar­chi­tec­ture that has in­spired many other projects, in­clud­ing the club­house at Cas­tle Stu­art. Un­der­stated qual­ity Not all must be mas­ter­pieces to be con­sid­ered great. Royal Porth­cawl’s club­house looks un­der­stated from out­side but this be­lies the haven within.

Few venues have such im­pres­sive hon­ours boards as Sun­ning­dale. This is one of the very great­est club­houses, com­bin­ing ex­cep­tional food, his­tory and com­fort through­out its var­ied rooms.

The Dormy Club­house at Gle­nea­gles stands out be­cause of the ab­so­lute qual­ity of fin­ish to be found through­out.

Mod­ern venues such as Kings­barns or Close House may not have the long his­tory to draw on, but they are places where one would hap­pily spend the rest of the day af­ter a round and feel very wel­come in do­ing so. Royal Birk­dale’s art­deco mas­ter­piece The club­house at Royal Liver­pool oozes his­tory

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