The office of the future

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick March 28, 2024 10:31

Two historic venues have embarked on multi-million pound clubhouse renovation projects, which will provide additional revenue via accommodation and improved catering facilities, and even ensure their members can work while at the golf club.

Two major clubhouse renovation projects have been taking place lately, and here we look at both.

At the end of last year, the oldest affiliated golf club in Wales finished one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a Welsh golf members’ club, opening a £1.7 million redevelopment at Tenby.

The new facilities overlooking the links course are aimed at preserving the club’s future.

“We have been going for more than 135 years, we hope this project will enable us to be going for another 135 years and more,” said Tenby golf manager David Hancock.

“It is very ambitious, we are aware of that, and it will have its challenges, but we are excited about the future.”

Above the clubhouse sits The Dunes, a new ten room four-star guest accommodation that offers panoramic views of the town, dunes, and fairways. This luxury accommodation is designed to cater to guests and tourists in the area.

The club has converted an additional four on-site golf dormy rooms to create a total of 11 twin rooms. This expansion significantly enhances the club’s ability to accommodate golfers, societies and groups, allowing them to enjoy the inclusive stay and play packages.

The project started at the beginning of 2023 and includes the introduction of a new dining establishment, ‘The Links’, welcoming residents and tourists while celebrating Pembrokeshire’s culture and cuisine.

As part of the redevelopment, new car parking facilities have been added for customers of the complex, including four EV charging points.

“I have been working here for 20 years and I have to pinch myself every day that I am walking into the same place,” said Hancock.

“There is a sense of symmetry that 10 years ago we started the project for the dormer rooms with some unused buildings.

“We started with just three dormer rooms thanks to a grant from Ryder Cup Wales, plus an extensive development of the practice area, so we added four more which meant we could take up to 14 people. That proved very, very popular.

“Now we have 21 rooms, a standalone four star guest accommodation with a top quality restaurant, which has been a £1.7 million development.

“There are five new dormer rooms, 10 four-star hotel bedrooms, plus the existing seven rooms, so it is quite a place.

“It has involved funding through loans and grants, but the business plans are in place ready for next year and looking to build on a good start. We have got a good team and we are really proud of the place.”

The ambition of the club has been commended by Wales Golf. “This development is not just an asset for Tenby, but also an asset to golf in Wales,” said Theo Baker, Wales Golf regional club development officer (West & Mid Wales) and coach education lead.

“The transformation at the club is incredibly impressive. It shows how golf clubs can think outside of their traditional roles to raise revenue, using the space and advantages they may have.

“When I visited the hotel after it had opened, I was very impressed at the quality of the place. It is a great venue overlooking the golf course and the club are to be congratulated for their ambition.”

Hancock says the club is taking advantage of the strong local tourism, the golf club being a few minutes from Tenby’s beaches and town centre.

“We are a fairly typical, semi-rural golf club with a finite number of chimney pots around us, while the main businesses in the area are tourism and agriculture,” he said.

“We need to look at ways to keep the oldest golf course in Wales thriving, and to do that we needed a stronger revenue stream which had to come from accommodation and hospitality.

“It was about three years ago the board started thinking this was what we wanted to do, we thought of a franchise but in the end decided to keep it in-house to keep control of what we wanted to do going forward.

“We are still a members’ golf club, but very welcoming to visitors to come and use all the facilities. There is still the facility to stay and play, but the hotel is more than just a place for golf breaks while the restaurant stands alone.

“We call this ‘The Birthplace of Golf in Wales,’ we are the oldest affiliated club dating from the 1880s and there is evidence of golf being played on this piece of land long before that.

“Whatever income we can generate will be re-invested in the golf club and the golf course itself because it needs to be maintained to a high standard.”

Meanwhile, another major UK clubhouse renovation is set to be completed this spring when the historic country house at the heart of The Buckinghamshire reopens as the centrepiece of a ‘reimagined’ members’ club for West London.

The multi-million pound project to restore the landmark 17th century mansion situated on an island alongside the River Colne includes the addition of seven new bedrooms, an orangery restaurant, valet parking and locker lounge, work spaces, golf lounge with the latest simulator technology, wine room and whisky room. The interiors have been created by designer Kim Partridge, who oversaw the interior transformation of Ryder Cup venue Adare Manor.

For Sanjay Arora, chief operating officer of the Arora Group, which acquired the property in November 2018, the vision is to create a contemporary upmarket club offering UK and overseas members the opportunity to blend golf, business, hospitality and family time, just 10 miles from London Heathrow Airport.

Sanjay Arora said, “This is an important first step towards our vision of creating one of the finest clubs in the world. The Buckinghamshire is a diverse, cosmopolitan club for business and pleasure, where members can enjoy the pleasure of being expected and their guests and families can experience first class hospitality, personalised service and relaxed style.”

Having observed Kim Partridge’s work at Adare Manor, the Arora Group had no hesitation in hiring the award-winning designer to take on the interior design for The Buckinghamshire.

Kim Partridge said, “While we wanted to echo the Englishness of this classic country house, the brief in relation to the club and member experience is avant garde, providing a place where the touchpoints offer understated luxury, where members feel at home and can spend time with friends and family.

“We are also offering members the ability to work from the club, which we’ve been able to do discreetly. We’ve created lots of spaces, tables, connectivity, but also comfort, so you can work from the warmth of a leather wing chair and enjoy all the amenities of a working space.”

Kim Partridge added, “All of these things will make The Buckinghamshire different and put the club at the forefront of the new face of golf.”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick March 28, 2024 10:31
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