As the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship begins, golfers are gathering for practice rounds and press conferences. While the focus is on the players and the golf course, I couldn’t help but notice the absolutely incredible clubhouse at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where the championship is taking place. That got me thinking about what other golf clubs cherish their course to the extent that they are willing to put the money, time, and effort into building such amazing club houses. These are the top 10 clubhouses that I thought were worthy of being featured, taking into consideration architecture, uniqueness, and the overall wow-factor:
1. The Bridge, Bridgehampton NY
This glass-walled clubhouse at the Bridge boasts unparalleled views of it’s golf course. The turbine-bladed roof of this two story structure makes it stand out among the crowd. It radiates a modern and sleek aura, most definitely stunning whoever looks upon it.
Architecture: 9 / Uniqueness: 8 / Wow-factor: 8
2. Jack Nicklaus Golf Club New Songdo City, South Korea
Of course there has to be a Jack Nicklaus design on this list. His pride in creating his golf courses does not stop on the greens, it continues all the way into the rooms of the clubhouse. Fitted with curved zinc roofs, the pavilions sit on a neutral-color stone base and feature rectangular columns made from local Merbau wood that minimize glare and heat gain. It also gives its members rare 360-degree views of the ocean and a tranquil nature preserve bordered by the New Songdo City skyline in the distance.
A: 9 / U: 8 / W: 9
3. The Olympic Golf Course Clubhouse, Rio
It’s not like we need another reason to get excited for the Olympics this year, but BAM, look at that clubhouse! Golf finally returns to the Summer Games in 2016 at a 72-hole course in Rio de Janeiro’s lush Barra de Tijuca district. This clubhouse features interior gardens, a wheelchair-accessible rooftop lounge, and a translucent canopy with a rainwater-catchment system that helps irrigate the mangrove-filled course. So not only is this course handicapped accessible, it is also maintaining the health of the golf course every time it rains. Magic.
A: 10 / U: 9 / W: 8
4. The King Kamehameha Golf Club, Hawaii
Originally intended to be the 14,000-square-foot Connecticut home of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, the plans were later acquired by the club’s developers, who expanded the footprint to 74,778 square feet. Even though the course itself is private, the clubhouse is open to the public and features African-mahogany casework, a stained-glass skylight depicting butterflies, and a stunning collection of Hawaiian art. Its iconic porthole windows and desert-rose skin, make it one of a kind.
A: 10 / U: 10 / W: 9
5. The Abu Dhabi Golf Club
The Abu Dhabi Golf Club shows off their “Falcon Clubhouse”, named of course for being shaped like a falcon with it’s wings outstretched. It truly takes over the scene when you’re on the course, demanding your attention on the 9th and 18th greens. They describe the clubhouse as creating an “atmosphere of relaxed elegance”.
A: 10 / U: 10 / W: 10