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Most Iconic 19th Holes in the United States

By: | Thu 26 Apr 2018

WE ARE used to seeing glorious television pictures of the most magnificent golf courses in America. Week after week on the PGA Tour, professional golfers are fortunate enough to be able to ply their trade with the sun beating down on their backs, hitting shots from beautifully manicured fairways to flawless putting surfaces. One of the things that we don’t get to see, however, are the clubhouses, where the players get to sit down for a meal and a drink after they have finished their rounds. America boasts some of the most iconic 19th holes in the world. Here, we take a look at just 10 of them.

East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta

East Lake is the home of the season-ending Tour Championship and has witnessed some terrific drama over the years. Its clubhouse is a gem. The Great Hall is flanked with ornate columns and trophies from the tournaments and champions of East Lake’s past. The 1963 Ryder Cup and the Havemeyer Trophyare displayed in the centre of the room, but the crown jewel is Bobby Jones’ Grand Slam trophies (the US Open, US Amateur, Open and Amateur trophies). East Lake’s Tudor Clubhouse has stood the test of time. As a young boy Bobby Jones was in attendance when the first Clubhouse opened in 1908. Only a decade after the first Clubhouse burned down in 1914, a second clubhouse was also destroyed by fire, taking with it many of Jones’ golf clubs, trophies and the original US Amateur trophy, the Havemeyer trophy, which was replaced with its current design the following year.  In honour of Bobby Jones, during his lifetime, East Lake’s members renamed what used to be the Club’s dining room after the great champion. Today the room serves as a lounge whose walls and cabinets are filled with photos and memorabilia honoring Jones. The room is covered in intricate wood carvings by famed wood carver Herbert Millard, whose work also survives in the State Department and White House. More recently, several scenes from the movie, “The Founder” were filmed in both East Lake’s Bobby Jones Room and Terrace Room.

Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia

The course is the most famous in the United States, courtesy of its status as home to The Masters. And the clubhouse is as iconic and as beautiful as the course that it overlooks. The central part of the clubhouse is actually a plantation house that was built in 1854 and was converted in 1931 to serve as a clubhouse by course architect and legendary amateur golfer Bobby Jones, founder of The Masters. The three-storey building is said to be the first concrete building constructed in the southern United States. It has undergone several expansions to include the iconic trophy room and Masters grill. Perhaps the most historically rich golf clubhouse in the country, Augusta National has hosted The Masters tournament since its inception in 1934. Countless golfing legends have walked the corridors of this stunning clubhouse.

Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pensylvannia

The 112-year-old clubhouse at Oakmont Country Club, with its broad porches and dining rooms and sitting rooms, has the relaxed but elegant feel that you might associate with a large country manor from the turn of the last century. Scores of sepia-tinted photos feature notable tournaments and the famous golfers who played in them. In a hall to the right of the main entrance, new dark walnut trophy cases share memorabilia from the eight US Opens that Oakmont has hosted. Elsewhere are photos of many of the other national professional and amateur tournaments played here. Oakmont was designated a National Historic Landmark in the 1990s by the National Park Service. “Everything we do here is geared to the way this club was,” said Gerard Hickel, who chairs a committee that oversaw recent updates to the clubhouse. “While Oakmont is a living thing, and you have to keep it up to the times, you can't lose sight of its history,” Hickel said. The clubhouse was designed by noted architect Edward Stotz and what he created was a gem. Stotz gave his Oakmont clubhouse 175 continuous feet of porches, wrapping them around the front and parts of the two sides, all overlooking the course. The clubhouse has been expanded and changed over the course of its life. A wing to one side was added in the late 1920s and it now houses the ballroom. The locker room wing, which is behind the other side, was expanded about 1930. In time, the broad porches were sensitively glassed in and made part of the building, providing much-needed additional dining areas. New porches, covered with awnings, were added in front of the glassed-in old porches.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, New York

The clubhouse at Shinnecock Hills sits atop a hill overlooking one of the best golf courses in the United States. Founded in 1891, it is one of the oldest golf courses in America. It is the oldest incorporated golf club and was one of the five founding member clubs of the USGA. The clubhouse, which was built in 1892, was designed by the firm McKim, Mead and White. Although it has been modernised over the years, it retains its original character, undergoing a complete renovation in 2016. Like many other clubs in the United States, mobile phones are not allowed in the magnificent clubhouse. The food on offer at Shinnecock is among the best you will find anywhere, the views of the course beyond compare.

Medinah Country Club, Medinah, Illinois

The clubhouse at Medinah incorporates a 60-foot rotunda that features a hand-painted mosaic ceiling, while the grand ballroom boasts hand painted murals. It was designed by Richard A Schmid in the 1920s. He had a reputation for blending Byzantine, oriental, Louis XIV and Italian architecture and the Medinah clubhouse is a perfect example of his work. It is breathtaking. The rotunda and murals were the work of a club member, Gustav Brand, a German-born artist, and have been preserved. The clubhouse is ranked sixth by Golf Digest in its 18 Most Iconic Clubhouses in Golf list.

Pebble Beach Golf Links, California

One of the most iconic links on the planet features a magnificent clubhouse that overlooks the magnificent 18th hole, with views of the Pacific Ocean crashing up and over the 18th fairway. Discover the award-winning restaurants and dining experiences of Pebble Beach Resorts, where our outstanding chefs put their personal twist on locally grown produce, sustainably caught seafood and top quality meats. From savoring a delicious entrée to catching a casual bite, we offer an exciting array of choices that will both tempt and indulge you. The Tap Room is a glorious bar featuring wooden panels and more spectacular views. A neat little bonus – if  you eat at Pebble Beach, simply present your gate receipt to your server, spend $35 and the gate receipt fee will be refunded.

Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York

Winged Foot is a majestic course that has hosted the US Open. And if the course is special then so, too, is its clubhouse. It starts with Leo the Lion, the sculpted sentry that stands guard under the front portico. Then there are the trademark blue-and-white awnings that cover the terrace. It was all designed by Clifford Wendehack, who produced one of the most recognizable structures in golf. The English scholastic-style clubhouse is made of stone, brick and slate and blends seamlessly with the surroundings. The stones used to build it came from the 7,200 tons of rock blasted during construction of the course. Way back in 1926, Wendehack said: "The strong and durable materials used convey the spirit of the organisation it is designed to house," he said. The cornerstone, laid on April 14, 1923, contains a copper box with a copy of the club's bylaws, membership roll, the evening edition of that day's New York Times and A.W. Tillinghast's plans for the two courses - still the only records of the course design the club has.

Congressional Country Club, Bethesda

Congressional was founded in 1924 and was opened by President Calvin Coolidge. It first staged the US Open back in 1964 and again in 1997 and 2011, when it was won by Rory McIlroy. It has also played host to the AT&T National, the Kemper Open and the Quicken Loans National, as well as the US PGA Championship and US Senior Open. The magnificent course is overlooked by a spectacular clubhouse which sits high on a hill. It features arches and five-star dining facilities – and an indoor swimming pool! The course is one of the best in the United States and also provides facilities for tennis and bowling.

Newport Country Club, Rhode Island

Whitney Warren returned to the United States in 1895 after studying architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His first project as a fully qualified architect was the clubhouse at Newport Country Club, Rhode Island, built on barren farmland overlooking Brenton Point. What he created was a building for the ages, a two-storey clubhouses featuring magnificent stone pillars and a breathtaking interior. It remained unchanged until 2005, when it underwent a major renovation project, but it retains its original character. Warren's only other major Newport project was a home for his sister, Edith.

Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Scarborough, New York

A fabulous golf course, an even better clubhouse that features a members lounge that overlooks the ninth hole and offers a relaxed atmosphere for breakfast or lunch, with a huge selection of drinks. There is also a more formal dining room which can cater for 80 people and is often used for wedding and parties. One of the most popular spots for golfers after a round is the Sleepy Patio, which boasts amazing views looking out over the ninth fairway and beyond. Sleepy Hollow also has a rather superior Halfway House, where you can stop to grab a hot dog or a freshly-baked muffin, washed down with a cool glass of beer. For more formal occasions, there is a banquet room that can hold up to 175 people.

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