Matt’s Top 10 – Clubhouses
By Matt Vandelac
As you travel to various golf courses, the clubhouse design and construction is as varied as the courses themselves. As there are no templates for the perfect building, I have found a few things that separate the great clubhouses from the good ones. Being a little more of a function over form person, I do appreciate touches that uniquely accentuate the design inside and out, but the clubhouse should have golf in mind throughout. First time visitors should not have to go on a seek and find mission to find the golf shop or other important places.
Sometimes the clubhouse allure is not all about the best merchandise or comfy chairs in the grill, but the staff. Personnel should make visitors and members feel welcomed when they arrive, appreciated while they are there, and anxious for their return. A great staff can overcome shortcomings in an operation more easily than the facility can make up for an unaccommodating staff.
Clubhouses should also have a place to enjoy each other’s company after the round. It doesn’t have to be over the top with a genuine bar imported from the old country or a French Chef, but needs to have a comfortable place with good food and beverages.
Here are a few of the metro area public clubhouses that have the golfer in mind and are great reasons for golfers to make a day of their round, arriving early and staying late.
1. Keller Golf Course, St. Paul
Majestically positioned on a site looking like it’s on top of the world, this stone building has stood the test of time, much like the golf course. Careful planning enables the clubhouse to function before, during, and after your round and takes advantage of some great vistas. The golf shop, separate from the main building and being intimately adjacent to the first tee, has views of the putting green, practice range, #9 and #18 greens. This helps to provide better service to customers and makes the job in the golf shop simpler.
2. Cannon Golf Club, Cannon Falls
Simple and efficient design, built for golf. Fits the site and needs of the golf course. After golf, the deck and fireplace inside the clubhouse provide multiple settings to enjoy some after golf beverages.
3. Rush Creek, Maple Grove
Designed to cater to the player looking for a country club for a day type experience, the clubhouse does not fall short. Rush Creek is an awesome place for an event or wedding with beautiful sunset views over the golf course.
4. Highland Golf Course, St. Paul
Not unlike the building at Keller, there are few clubhouses in the Midwest with more history and great aura that you feel walking up the stairs to the clubhouse. The putting green on the way to the first tee and golf views in every direction are great.
5. The Legends Club, Prior Lake
The latest and greatest in clubhouses in the Metro area. Very well designed from top to bottom with many accoutrements and friendly service. Expansive views of the golf below and the deck after golf can make you lose track of time making you late for just about anything (not that I know from experience, of course).
6. Edinburgh USA, Brooklyn Park
Stonework and attention to detail is really spectacular. Another can’t miss bet for a wedding or golf event. The food and beverages are some of the best in town. Right out the door is a huge putting green flowing from the 9th and 18th greens.
7. U of M Golf Course, St. Paul
This long clubhouse spanning holes coming and going and the putting green is another huge stone building steeped in history and made for golf.
8. Valleywood Golf Course, Eagan
This two-story clubhouse has a friendly staff and always seems to be bustling with activity. The clubhouse has a nice view to the course and the parking lot is very convenient for golfers.
9. Troy Burne, Hudson, WI
Very well designed functionally and artistically, from the Lehman Room to the screen porch with brick paver flooring. Big cushy chairs by the TV in the golf shop are a nice touch and the merchandise selection is second to none in the area. Golfers don’t usually notice things like the cart storage tucked neatly below the building, but the staff really love its efficiency.
10. Prestwick, Woodbury
This building has really transformed itself from the original design that included real estate offices and cafeteria-style food service. Now featuring an Axel’s restaurant and beautiful outdoor patio seating, the food is first class and the function and views of golf are stunning. Prestwick has a top shelf golf shop and décor on line with some of the best country clubs.
Tee Times Readers’ Top 10 Clubhouses
1. The Wilds
2. Rush Creek
3. Edinburgh USA
4. Legends Club
5. Deer Run
9. Majestic Oaks
10. Gopher Hills