How Glasgow Golf Club rebounded from a devastating fire

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 22, 2022 09:22

When the ninth oldest golf club in the world suffered a devastating fire in 2018, concerns were raised over its future after some of its links to the past went up in flames. However, the club has completed a stunning renovation of its clubhouse and it seems as secure today as it ever has in its history, writes Andy Waple.

Glasgow Golf Club faced an uncertain future when fire broke out in its historic clubhouse on September 20, 2018.

Within hours, the blaze had gutted 80 percent of the late-Georgian Killermont House, the listed headquarters of the ninth oldest golf club in the world.

Fortunately the external walls remained intact, enabling an extensive renovation project to commence.

Given a blank canvas, the predicament the club found itself in at least presented some opportunities.

From the outset the plan was to redesign the clubhouse interior with an eye to the future through some major upgrades to facilities and a reconfiguration of the floor plans.

Glasgow firm Doig+Smith was commissioned to lead on the project from the very early stages, with the consultancy assuming responsibility for project management, cost management and principal designer services. Thomas Johnstone was the principal contractor.

The interior features a contemporary style and the bar, dining and function rooms upgraded considerably over two floors of the building. The first floor is home to the members’ lounge and a formal dining room with central bar area, while the second floor has a large sports bar and a multi-purpose function room offering spectacular views over the course.

Outwardly, the clubhouse retains the traditional, grand appearance it is renowned for. Capitalising on the spectacular views of the first tee, a terrace with outdoor seating has been added front-of-house, while a three-storey modern extension was built to the rear of the building to accommodate the host of enviable new features including a golf simulator room. It also houses the club’s administration and forms a new main entrance. A courtyard was also added to the rear creating an impressive arrival to the clubhouse.

Captain at the time, Alastair Gracie, praised the firm.

“Doig+Smith were brought on board at the outset of the project to rebuild our clubhouse and quickly identified what was required to progress concept plans and desires of our membership,” he said. “Over the subsequent two and a half years, and despite Covid, Doig+Smith did everything in their power to minimise its impact and successfully manage the project through such difficult circumstances. Glasgow Golf Club now has a clubhouse fit for the 21st century.”

The male changing area has been relocated from the top floor to the ground floor, making an improvement to the players’ arrival journey with easy access onto the course. This floor has been completely redesigned to maximise the space available and now includes separate and much improved changing facilities for juniors and females – required by the club following a vote of its members, giving overwhelming support for open membership.

The male locker room has had a sauna and steam room installed adjacent to the showers.

Leading UK locker room specialist Ridgeway Furniture was employed to remodel, manufacture and install the locker rooms. Alastair Gracie commented: “We were very pleased with the quality of Ridgeway’s work and attention to detail; they worked in close association with the club’s interior designer, Kim Partridge of KPI, to ensure their works complemented the overall concept of the refurbishment. It was important that the locker rooms provided a facility for all our members. Some simply require a place to change their shoes, others to hang a change of clothes in lockers and some want to store their clubs too. Within the space available their design has optimised what was possible and we now have locker rooms which will hopefully serve us well for many years to come.”

The retention of the external fabric meanwhile has allowed for the best of both worlds as outwardly the clubhouse retains the traditional, grand appearance it is renowned for. Glasgow Golf Club, the first to open in the west of Scotland, was founded in May 1787 and has changed location several times during its long history, but has been based at Killermont since May 21, 1904.

The club is unusual in also having a links course at Gailes, near Irvine, on the Ayrshire coast, some 35 miles away. Gailes Links has previously hosted final Open qualification and this July it will host the Scottish Amateur Championship.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 22, 2022 09:22
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