WHAT MAKES A GREAT 19TH?
It is integral to a top day’s golf, but what makes a clubhouse special? Fergus Bisset investigates
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