2020 Clubhouse of the Year Winners: New Public Clubhouse

Golf clubs from Missouri to South Carolina to as far away as Greece went head to head in Golf Inc.’s 2020 Clubhouse of the Year competition. However, it was clubs in Florida that received the most recognition. Those in the Sunshine State took home six of the 12 awards given out this year.

Our Best of Show winner is a clubhouse you may not be familiar with. Indeed, you’d need to go to Messinia, Greece, to enjoy it.

The clubhouse at the Bay Course in Costa Navarino is built into the earth. It features breathtaking views and outdoor dining in a luxury resort setting. 

“This may be the best project of the entire competition,” wrote Kevin Lichten, one of this year’s judges. “The clear sequence of circulation from the entrance circular driveway straight through to the curved facade facing the course, water and mountains is simple, direct and very powerful. Placing the building primarily underground could have been a disaster but here is handled beautifully and in full integration with the site.”

Here’s a look at the new public clubhouse winners:

1. The Bay Course at Costa Navarino in Messinia, Greece

The Bay Clubhouse overlooks the Bay of Costa Navarino and is surrounded by centuries-old olive groves. The design is one of the most dynamic and breathtaking in Europe, our judges said.  

“A unique and dramatic approach to design,” noted judge Jon Bernhard. “Creative and exciting from the vehicle arrival to the cleaver solutions for sun control (louvers), the effective view capture (floor to ceiling glazing), and comfortable indoor and outdoor lounging and dining (finish materials, stepped spaces, fire features).” 

Judge Ron Cutlip called it an excellent, modern, earth shelter structure that is at one with the golf course and landscape.

“This clubhouse is literally the golf course,” he said. 

One of the few earth-sheltered clubhouses in existence, it blends into the landscape. Almost invisible to the eye, it is sculpted into the natural contours of the topography. 

Nuno Sepulveda, director of Costa Navarino’s golf & sports business development, said:  

“We are delighted to have received this accolade from Golf Inc. magazine.

“The feedback that we have received from guests has been overwhelming since we opened the clubhouse. The architects have done an incredible job. The uniquely designed building blends harmoniously into the natural landscape, and the views across the renowned Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course to the historic Bay of Navarino are truly memorable.”

2. Ozarks National at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo.

Big Cedar Lodge is helping to redefine the image of golf in the Missouri Ozarks with the recent unveiling of Ozarks National Golf Course. Designed in partnership with Johnny Morris, the noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops, Ozarks National is reinforcing the resort’s position as America’s next great golf destination. 

“This is an extraordinarily efficient configuration,” judge Jon Bernhard said. “It is similar to the design and ambiance of the Kingsbarns clubhouse in St Andrews, Scotland, where lounging in the modest clubhouse is as enjoyable as the round of golf

“The story for the facility — an old church building — adds to the character, and to the light carbon footprint and enhanced sustainability statement.” 

 3. Cougar Point in Kiawah Island, S.C.

This new clubhouse is the centerpiece of a reimagined village, which includes a recently opened conference center, a new villa registration building and a future hotel, one that will serve as the town center for Kiawah Island. The new clubhouse enlivens the experience for golfers while also welcoming non-golfers who are visiting the island. 

The classic American architecture is a nice choice. It makes the golfer feel like they are at home,” judge Ron Cutlip said. “Well-sited on the golf course — taking us back to a time and place where life was simpler.” 

Honorable Mention: North Palm Beach Country Club in North Palm Beach, Fla. 

The new clubhouse at North Palm Beach Country Club was designed to replace a dated, mid-century facility that served the community for nearly 60 years.

With covered walkways on the perimeter of the new building, less than half of it requires air-conditioning and heating, which greatly reduces energy consumption.

“Nice contemporary architecture with resort style and feel,” judge Ron Cutlip wrote. “A large, grand structure, well-sited on the landscape, that gives the visitor a feeling he/she is somewhere special.”

Editor's note: This is the first of a three part series. New private clubhouse winners and renovation winners will be announced seperately. 

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