It says it right on its Web site: "At The Golf Club at Lansdowne, our mission is simple: Build a private country club focused on creating the ultimate environment for golf and leisure. We offer our members and guests first-class service, superior facilities and distinct membership benefits." And that's exactly what has happened.
As a whole, the club, in Leesburg,Va., has been part of a property offering first-class amenities for over a decade. But until last fall, members of the private Golf Club had to share facilities with an affiliated resort that was also open to the public for golf on a daily-fee basis.
That changed on August 31, 2005, after completion of a new clubhouse that was built adjacent to existing facilities.While the new building is still accessible to resort guests, its primary function is to give Golf Club members a clubhouse to consider a home of their own. It offers a more intimate, "private club" feeling than the rest of the resort, where other non-member guests spend most of their time.
Given that there was already a full-service resort on the property, it might have been acceptable to only build a small members' grill, serviceable locker rooms and maybe a satellite pro shop in the new clubhouse, and then direct golfers to existing buildings for all other amenities. But that's not what LaSalle Hotel Properties, which owns Lansdowne, chose to do. In addition to full-service locker facilities that include Jacuzzi tubs and steam rooms, the new clubhouse has its own kitchen, a grille, a bar, and a ballroom.
"It finally feels like a golf club now," says John Kinnas, First Assistant Golf Pro, noting the more collegial atmosphere. "Now people can get a beer and wander to the locker rooms. Before, they had to go to the resort and mingle more."
Doug Rook, Director of Golf Club Operations, agrees. "We've only been open since September, and we immediately went into the off-season, but everything seems to flow well."
Because the club is located in Virginia, a conventional approach might have been to design a red brick, white-columned, Federal-style clubhouse. Instead, the architect chose a "Virginia country house" style that blends into the residential fabric of the neighborhood—and also fits seamlessly with the existing resort. So seamlessly, in fact, that a covered walkway connects the clubhouse to the resort's 9-story, 305-room hotel and conference center.
The building is situated where the old practice facility used to be. Also, two of the 18 holes on the Robert Trent Jones II championship course had to be relocated to make room for the new building.
The clubhouse's two levels overlook the Potomac River Valley and are surrounded by forest. Because of this, the architect chose to use natural materials on the exterior, to evoke the spirit of a country estate. Stone gables and antique "Old Dominion" brick are topped with copper standing-seam accent roofs. The porte cochere at the club's main entry is constructed of natural stone.
The clubhouse's more social amenities are on the main floor. The entry way opens to an invitingly appointed living room. A comfortable seating arrangement of mahogany furniture with ebonized accents sits atop a wood floor. Full-height bookcases frame the fireplace, and the walls are graced by a hand-painted wall covering, which sports gold leaf highlights. The upholstery and window treatments bring in the more vivid colors. Handblown glass accessories add a finishing touch to the room.
The ballroom and covered patio are off to the left. Red oak crown molding, chair rail and base are in fruitwood stain. The space can be split in half with partitions, to accommodate two smaller functions simultaneously. The conference center has ballrooms as well, but they are used more for conferences, while the clubhouse space tends to be used more for social events.
A gallery is to the right and winds its way around the offices and centrally located kitchen. On the way through the gallery to the dining room, members and guests first pass by the 2,000-sq. ft. golf shop. The sales floor has both custom built-in and free-standing fixtures. The vaulted ceiling allows for a large window that overlooks the resort's new free-form pools and surrounding landscaping.
Continuing through the gallery past the pro Shop are Pub 46, the club's lounge, and The Crooked Billet, the golf club's more formal grille. Majors, a private dining room that seats up to 20, is situated between the Crooked Billet and the clubhouse's ballroom.
The furniture and carpet both sport a geometric pattern in the clubhouse's theme colors. The tables have burled wood-patterned tops (no tablecloths here) that are surrounded by solid maple in a contrasting stain. Simple Roman blinds adorn the windows, which look out onto the covered terrace that surrounds much of the building's main level.
When weather permits, the terrace, which overlooks the river valley and the club's two championship golf courses and practice area, will provide an additional seating area. A fireplace set into a stone wall offers additional atmosphere.
The focal point of the lounge is a large, red oak bar. The countertop is granite, in keeping with current design trends. Bookshelves, again made of oak, are at the other end of the room and give the space a "library" feel. But lest the room appear too stuffy, flat-screen plasma televisions are nestled into the bar's built-in cabinets and woodwork.
Stairway is Heaven
The stairwell to the lower level, located between Pub 46 and the pro shop, is worth mentioning in itself, with twostory, full-height wood paneling following members and guests downstairs. The stairs themselves are carpeted, with each step alternating between "oregano" and "elderberry" colors (green and burgundy to the non-designer).
The locker rooms were completed with full attention to detail. Each has a lounge area with comfortable seating, televisions, and golf handicap computer stations. Both locker rooms have individual showers with private dressing rooms. The lavatory cabinets are constructed of granite and red oak. And even though the main resort has a full-service spa (Spa Minerale), each locker room has a whirlpool and steam room. Raised-wood panel lockers complete the spaces.
The lower level of the clubhouse also has a massive storage area that houses over 150 golf carts and 700 golf bags.
Real Splashes Outside
The $55 million that Lansdowne spent on its latest round of construction didn't all go toward the clubhouse. Two additional free-form pools were also built. One is higher than the other and a beautifully landscaped waterfall connects the two. The upper pool doubles as a splashdown area for a new tower slide. A splash fountain provides another means of family entertainment that is particularly well suited for younger children.
The pro shop and cart barn were previously located in the main
resort building, but those 12,000 square feet are now being reworked to expand the resort's spa.
The two Greg Norman courses and the new practice facility were also included in the final figure. The new practice facility is roughly five times larger than the old, according to Rook. It has a double-ended range, a large short-game practice area with a practice hole, and a dedicated area for teaching.
"This facility far exceeds our expectations," says Jon Borts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LaSalle Hotel Properties. And now members and guests alike are, no doubt, in agreement. C&RB
Club: The Golf Club at Lansdowne Location: Leesburg, Va. Architectural Firm: CCI Club Design, located in Irving, Texas Completion: August 2005 Cost: Part of a larger $55 million project Project Highlights:
• The 45,000-sq. ft. clubhouse is a stand-alone building that connects to the resort’s hotel and conference center with a covered walkway
• The golf courses are no longer open to the public, which has lent a more intimate feel to the property
• The interior of the clubhouse has extensive detail work. If the trim were lined up end-to-end, it would stretch about five miles.
• Additional improvements to the property include a new 18-hole championship course, as well as a short course designed by Greg Norman, renovations to the Robert Trent Jones II 18-hole championship course, a new golf practice area, hotel guest room and public area upgrades, spa renovations, and a new pool and aquatic center.
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