Golf club profile: The Richmond

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 18, 2019 05:56

The Surrey venue has a magnificent and historic Grade I listed building for a clubhouse, which has meant providing modern facilities for members and visitors has been a considerable achievement.

Owning a Grade I listed building as your clubhouse has its obvious attractions but there are also many challenges.

The Richmond Golf Club in Surrey, steeped in history, with politicians and royalty among its early members, including the future King George VI who was captain in 1924, is probably one of the most notable examples.

In 2016 the club acquired the freehold to its 300-year-old early Georgian mansion that had been its clubhouse since 1891.

Sudbrook Mansion, set adjacent to Richmond Park, was built around 1725 in the English Palladian style by renowned architect, James Gibbs, for war hero John Campbell, the second Duke of Argyll. Considered an important example of 18th century architecture, it was designated as a Grade I building in 1950 in recognition of its national importance.

The decision to buy the Sudbrook Mansion and the surrounding parkland from The Crown Estate was described by the club as ‘the most significant development in its 125-year history’, yet it presented the club with the huge responsibility of maintaining its historic and architectural significance.

In addition to its splendid exterior, the clubhouse features a breath-taking interior, notably seen in the magnificent two storey high baroque Cube Room.

Used as the club’s principal dining and function room, it is adorned with trophies of arms above the doorways from the Duke of Argyll’s military achievements, and the Campbell family coat of arms carved in pine in the great panel above the mirror. The carved marble chimney is the work of Flemish sculptor Jan Michiel Rysbrack.

In another nod to the club’s illustrious history, the club’s famous set of temporary rules, introduced during World War Two to ensure members could enjoy their golf during the height of German air aggression is framed on a wall.

Over the years The Richmond Golf Club has sought to balance its responsibilities as custodian of Sudbrook Mansion with the needs of a modern and successful club by improving its facilities for members and visitors, investing heavily in contemporary features to maintain its status as one of the finest clubs in the London area.

A detailed masterplan was prepared to guide development of the club’s facilities and a survey was undertaken to provide a programme of planned and routine maintenance over a ten-year period.

Capital projects completed include the construction of a new professionals’ shop within an extended carriage building, and the installation of DDA-compliant toilet facilities to the principal floor of the mansion, as well as improved kitchen facilities, bar storage and new changing rooms for lady members.

In 2018 the club negotiated planning and listed building consent for a major refurbishment of the men’s locker and changing rooms situated in the single-storey Grade I adjoining annexe.

The striking new facility, accessed through automatic sliding glazed doors into a lobby manned by an attendant features contemporary toilets and shower rooms, a drying room and a large changing room, featuring lockers supplied and fitted by Ridgeway Furniture.

Since its inception, Ridgeway has manufactured tens of thousands of lockers that have been installed in some of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world. The company has seen turnover increase by more than 100 per cent over the past six years and has invested more than £500,000 in a new factory increasing its capacity by over 50 per cent. The facility, at more than 18,000 square feet, means the company is now the UK’s largest dedicated manufacturer of wooden lockers.

The Richmond Club’s general manager, John Maguire, said the club was delighted with its new facility that has been warmly welcomed by members and visitors.

“The contemporary design is of high quality and complements the clubhouse’s rich heritage while providing the up-to-date standards we require.

“Ridgeway were very good to work with and the lockers finish off the new look and add a further touch of class to an exceptional new space.

“This was the second occasion we have used Ridgeway. The first time they did our new ladies’ locker room, so we were happy for them to once again be part of the £750,000 locker room refurbishment.”

The club’s famous WW2 rules

  1. Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines
  2. In competitions during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play
  3. The positions of known delayed-action bombs are marked by red flags at reasonable but not guaranteed safe distance therefrom
  4. Shrapnel and or bomb splinters on the fairway or in bunkers within a club’s length of a ball may be moved without penalty and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally
  5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced or if lost or destroyed a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without a penalty
  6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty
  7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may replay another ball from the same place. Penalty one stroke


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 18, 2019 05:56
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