Iconic clubhouses from around the worldJanuary 19, 2018 The Scoop
From Abu Dhabi to the fabled US Open clubhouses we salute some of the greatest buildings in the game with some of the most spectacular views
We pick out a few of the game’s best known and most recognisable clubhouses, many of which have played host to a number of majors and stellar competitions. Should you ever get the chance to acquaint yourself with any of these then do yourself a huge favour and spend some time in them.
There can be few better places than to enjoy a drink on the verandah while overlooking the 1st tee of the Old, putting green and the Old’s closing hole.
The clubhouse was built in 1900 and would be best described as neo Tudor, the architect is unknown. A famous element of the clubhouse is the Critchley room which you might think is named after Bruce who is a member. But it is actually named after Diana Critchley who, as David, beat the Goliath Glenna Collett who completely dominated women’s golf in the 20s.
In the 20s amateur golf was far more important than professional golf and the ladies’ championship would get far more coverage than any pro tournament, and Diana Critchley became a national hero.
The clubhouse was a male bastion until after WW1 but it was always said that any woman could play the courses and use the clubhouse, provided she was the British Ladies Amateur champion, as was Diana Critchley.
2. Medinah Country Club
The clubhouse was designed in the 1920s by Richard Schmid, and with 600 members and three courses, it is on the large and impressive side. If you were wondering about the style then it is a blend of Byzantine, Oriental, Louis XIV and Italian architecture which are characteristic of masonic structures. A German-born artist and club member, Gustav Brand, was responsible for the rotunda and murals.
Home to three US Opens, two PGAs and that incredible Ryder Cup comeback in 2012.
3. Royal Lytham & St Annes
One of the very great buildings in golf and home to some incredible portraits, notably Bobby Jones, winner of the 1926 Open Championship here, upstairs in the main dining room and Seve Ballesteros on the stairs. Everywhere you turn is a nod to the past and there is also a tremendously grand snooker room. Warm and unstuffy it is a fantastic spot to watch your fellow players battle the 18th. The clubhouse celebrated its centenary in 1998.
4. Oakmont Country Club
The club has hosted nine US Opens, it was the scene of Dustin Johnson’s victory in 2016, and the course is said to be one of, if not, the hardest in the States. So the clubhouse, which sits directly behind the 18th green, provides some welcome relief and is said to feature all manner of photos, trophies, scorecards (no doubt Johnny Miller’s 63) and other memorabilia.
5. Stoke Park
The main building is a Georgian mansion and the United States Capitol, home to the Congress, is said to bear some resemblance. In terms of its movie links then take your pick; Bond hits Goldfinger and Tomorrow Never Dies were filmed here, as were Bridget Jones’ Diary, Layer Cake and Wimbledon.
The Mansion was designed by James Wyatt (architect to George III) from 1790 to 1813.
6. Congressional Country Club
This is the largest clubhouse in the United States and was designed in 1924 by Philip Jullien. Inside there is an indoor bowling alley, tennis club, paddle tennis, grand ballroom, one indoor and a lap pool with diving boards, a kids and main pool, fitness centre and grand foyer. And if you’re looking for somewhere to eat and drink you will have eight options as well as 21 rooms. Plus a spa, massage service, indoor jacuzzi, obviously.
And Rory McIlroy’s runaway win in the 2011 US Open.
7. Royal Birkdale
The iconic and unique clubhouse was designed to look like an ocean liner cruising through a sea of fescue. The two-storey building, which sits behind the 18th green was completed in 1935, and the original design was submitted to the club in a watercolour sketch by Liverpool architect George Tonge.
Since then the club has chopped and changed the look of it with various extensions and removals but the skeleton remains the same. Childwall’s clubhouse, 25 miles away, follows a similar nautical look about it.
Jordan Spieth was the 10th Open champion to be crowned at Birkdale.
8. Abu Dhabi Golf Club
The Falcon clubhouse is one of the most recognisable buildings on the European Tour. With its wings outstretched it overlooks both the 9th and 18th greens and can be seen from miles around. It was built in 2000 and is a nod to the UAE’s national bird.
Apparently, as well as the usual array of dining options, there is a squash court somewhere in its midst and, in the beak of the falcon, is a meeting room which affords you a 360˚ view of its surrounds.
9. Royal and Ancient Golf Club
Which golfer hasn’t played under the shadow of this magnificent clubhouse and ‘the best office in the world’ for the R&A’s chief executive?
The foundation stone was laid in 1853 by R&A member and senior freemason John Whyte Melville and was quite the occasion with a procession, accompanied by a band, from Madras College.
The local residents called for “the Great Architect of the Universe” to shower down his blessing upon the work”. The project took 11 months to complete.
Although the clubhouse is situated just behind the 1st tee of the Old Course the club does not own any of the St Andrews courses.