Improving your golf club changing room

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 13, 2021 13:49

Due to the changing requirements of golfers, many locker rooms with small, uniform-sized lockers could do with a makeover. And, according to three experts in the field, this should be a great opportunity to make significant improvements.

Golf club managers considering a much-needed refurbishment of their locker rooms are faced with the same age-old question. Where do we start?

Many wonder how they can transform their changing rooms from a relic of the past into a modern, functional space that appeals to members and visitors alike, without creating additional maintenance and cleaning costs.

And the most vexing question of all – how do we finance it without causing uproar among the membership?

The answer is to seek expert advice from the leading companies in the UK that specialise in golf club locker room refurbishment.

Each one has a wealth of experience to give comprehensive advice and plan a design solution which will deal with the trickiest situations in the most suitable manner.

John Gibbs, chairman of Ridgeway Furniture, says clubs considering new lockers need to take a number of things into consideration from the outset.

“Golf bags are bigger today than they were in the past so bag lockers need to be larger accordingly.

Ridgeway

“This isn’t to say a refit will be necessarily at the expense of the number of lockers available.

“These days it is better to offer a combination of the larger bag lockers and hold-all sized ones which better suit members who prefer to keep their clubs in their car or at home. The hold-all size is a great option for those looking for storage for toiletries, a spare sweater, balls, tees and accessories, and somewhere to leave possessions when out on the course.

“Visitors too will only require a hold-all sized locker, so this is something clubs need to factor in.

“All of this compensates for the space taken by the new, larger full-sized lockers as fewer will be required. It is a question of supply and demand that clubs could ascertain from a survey.

“Another factor to consider is the visitors’ changing room. A lot are like the Black Hole of Calcutta. Visitors are your members for the day and are often paying a good sum of money to play and in return deserve to be catered for properly.

“They are often more likely to use the showers as invariably they will take advantage of the bar and catering facilities rounding off their day with a meal.

“We recommend that the visitors’ area should be located near to the showers as they are more likely to use them than members. We also advise that people should not have to walk through the toilet area to reach the showers so this may need to be planned into the overall design of the project.”

A major obstacle for many clubs is the cost of refurbishment, and modern high spec quality furniture, fixtures and fittings do come at a price.

John believes many clubs are reluctant to introduce new changing facilities fearing a backlash from members over rental fees.

“There are so many clubs charging extremely low rates of, say, £15 a year for their existing lockers and as a result are nervous of putting up rental prices.

Ridgeway

“But you can’t refit a locker room up to the exacting standards demanded by golfers these days on that basis. You need to consider value for money instead. £1 or £1.50 a week and more is no longer too much for a modern locker. Many clubs consider £75 to £100 annual rental to be right.

“We recommend that clubs take their proposal to members, show them a modern design and explain they would have a choice of locker size.

“Rentals should be offered to those with lockers initially, on a first-come first-served basis and secured by a deposit.

“This will allow the club to know how many it needs to order and also means that members who do not want a locker are not overburdened with absorbing costs for a service they do not use.

“Clubs may be surprised to discover from the survey that the demands of today’s members are very much different to those of 25 years ago and as result realise they may need fewer lockers than they may have anticipated.”

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 soar in recent years and has invested more than £500,000 in a new factory increasing its capacity by over 50 percent. The facility, at more than 18,000 square feet, means the company is now the UK’s largest dedicated manufacturer of wooden lockers.

The company continues to serve the golf industry and boasts an impressive portfolio of satisfied customers at clubs throughout the UK.

Fitlockers managing director, David Fitchett, endorses the view that clubs should seek advice from the experts when embarking on a locker room refit.

As a supplier of high-quality lockers to the golf and leisure industries, he says: “Managers need to be open minded during the early planning stages and seek expert opinion.

“There are a lot of considerations to take into account and no one-size-fits-all, so clubs need to weigh up their own specific circumstances.

“For example, the ceiling height will determine whether or not double banks of lockers can be installed.

“The days of uniform lockers just big enough to fit the older style and smaller sized golf bag have long gone.

Fitlockers

“A combination of the new, larger-sized golf bag lockers and smaller ones for the storage of valuables and clothing is often the best solution.

“Locker room location is a factor – if yours is upstairs, fewer members are likely to want to store clubs there.

“Also, consider how many visitors you generally accommodate. They will just require a smaller hold-all sized one for their belongings, and probably a rail for hanging their jackets while they are out on the course before returning for a shower and dinner.”

David has run Hertfordshire-based Fitlockers for 18 years, supplying and fitting customised wooden lockers and changing room furniture to numerous members’ clubs across the UK including prestigious venues such as Royal Lytham & St Annes and Muirfield.

Changing room and storage specialist Crown Sports Lockers, which has served the sector for 30 years, says locker size is critical to both club and golfer.

Crown Sports Lockers

“Lockers fitted some years ago grow unfit for purpose as the sheer size and volume of golfing equipment continues to expand,” said director Spencer Grimwood.

“Some clubs we refresh or upgrade have soldiered on with 300mm wide lockers that are barely wide enough to take a modern golf bag.”

As a Made in Britain, FSC-certified, manufacturer, Crown can closely control the quality of the timber they use and the capacity of the clubhouse furniture it supplies. “We specify only high grade European wood,” Spencer states, “and customise changing room and other storage requirements to the site, traffic throughput, and whether dry or wet areas are involved.”

As expectations rise among members and golfers, clubs are reshaping their preferences for delivering memorable facilities, Spencer adds: “The traditional raised centre panel locker doors for example, popular until recently, have made way for more on-trend solid timber frame shaker doors – certainly a more stylish and cost-effective solution.”

Crown Sports Lockers

Quality counts too, and Crown’s specialist joinery team ensure lockers leaving the factory are fashioned to the finest tolerances, ready for assembly on site by their nationwide fit-out crew.

Clubs’ broader horizons when seeking to upgrade or refresh changing rooms fits well with Crown’s welter of laminates and veneers available from its dedicated eco-factory – in textures and shades to suit any décor to help ensure they realise their vision.

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 13, 2021 13:49
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