After nearly 20 years, Cape Cod National Golf Club refreshed its main dining room to create the contemporary, versatile space the club needs.
With its 20-year anniversary coming up next June, Cape Cod National Golf Club in Brewster, Mass., seized the opportunity to revive the look of its clubhouse from the ground up.
With a budget of $3 million, the club began work in October 2016 and reopened by May 2017. The revamp touched every room in the 16,000-sq. ft. building, with some areas receiving the “bare minimum” of flooring, wall coverings and art updates, while other areas—and specifically the main dining room—were thoroughly reimagined, says Michael Walker, President and General Manager.
“Our goals were one, to update the space to modern taste, and two, try to increase ways for members to spend time together,” Walker says.
Cape Cod National Golf Club
Brewster, Mass.Color palette: Blue, silver, pale gray, rich wood
Walls: Blue and gray grasscloth
Bar: Finished in dark wood; white and gray quartz top; polished nickel hardware
Furniture: Custom-made with distressed “barn wood” finish
As a small, golf-only club that doesn’t have a function hall or banquet area, Cape Cod National had to find a way to make its main dining space work for every purpose—from a la carte lunches to prix fixe dinners and buffets. To accommodate events of all kinds, the club uses an oversized farm table (which can double as a buffet or banquet table when needed) as the room’s central focus. In addition, large round tables can scale down to four seats as needed.
“The dining chairs, farm chairs and tables were all custom-made, featuring a distressed ‘barn wood’ finish,” says Jesse Gardner, Studio Design Director of Judd Brown Designs & Jefferson Group Architecture, which worked with the club on the project. “The tables are used in different configurations, so special hidden locks were designed [to allow them] to be [joined] together.”
Prior to the renovation, a hallway from the ninth hole led to a door in the main dining area, essentially forcing all golfers to go through the space when re-entering the clubhouse. “No matter what was going on—a ladies’ day lunch, for example—the guys might walk in, and it was really disruptive,” Walker says.
Now the back wall of the dining area’s main bar has an arched window (see photo above) that opens into a dedicated space where golfers and other members can pick up to-go food orders without stepping on any toes.
Before the project, the Cape Cod National staff locked and closed the dining room at the end of the day. But the new room features locking coolers with the bar (which had previously been a group of kitchen cabinets with a wooden bar top), allowing the room’s doors to remain open, and extending the time members can spend on site. The operating hours now also include mornings as well, with continental breakfast offered.
“We have seen an increase in participation across everything we do,” Walker says, noting that food-and-beverage sales were up 20% for the season.
The look of the revamped space is “up to date without being modern, with a classic look that also takes into account contemporary colors and patterns,” Walker adds. Blues, silvers, pale gray and rich wood tones are used throughout, along with brushed-brass light fixtures and black and brass accents in hardware, such as the nail heads used on the chair upholstery. New ceiling coffers help “create a sense of height in the room,” adds Judd Brown Designs’ Gardner .
Before the renovation, all trim and doors throughout the building were stained a natural wood color. Now, all the trim and doors are white with pale gray and blue grasscloth walls, “making everything look so much brighter,” Walker says.
In keeping with a club tradition (“We’d rather see people have a seat at one of the tables,” Walker explains), Cape Cod National chose not to include bar stools in the new room. But in the previous bar area, there was no overhang or footrest, so members couldn’t gather around it. The bar and service stations are now finished in dark wood with classic white and gray tops and polished nickel hardware.
The previous bar also only had room for two draft-beer taps. With the kitchen refitted as part of the renovation, the main dining room also received a new tap system, and now offers six draft beers. As a result of all of these changes, people now do congregate at the bar, Walker reports.
Breath of Fresh Air
The dining-room renovation extended to the outdoors as well. “One challenge that we face is that there are a lot of great [dining] options around here, including members’ own homes, that are on the waterfront or have a water view,” says Walker. “Having no outdoor space, a lot of members would play golf and then just go home.”
Prior to the renovation, the back of Cape Cod National’s clubhouse was a sheer wall. To give golfers a place they’d want to stay after their rounds, the club added a composite deck with cement board trim and a stainless steel-cable hand railing.
“The outdoor space was just a game-changer,” Walker says. “One comment I get the most from members is that the deck looks like it has been there forever. It fits so well, you wouldn’t know it’s an addition.”
For flexibility, tabletops on the deck can be removed from their bases to create high-top tables for cocktail hours. Infrared heaters and drop-down hurricane shades can also be used as needed. “We need to be able to count on that space even if the weather isn’t perfect,” Walker explains. “We had to figure out a way to make it work all the time.”
Though Walker was nervous about how members would react to all the changes, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “When we rolled it out, members didn’t have a grasp on how it would look,” Walker says. “But they were blown away. I hoped it would be positive—but I didn’t expect it to be this positive.”