GOLF CLUBHOUSE

      1972 - Clubhouse design contract awarded to Jacksonville firm of Freedman, Clements and Rumple
      1973 - Jacksonville contractor E.C. Kenyon Company chosen to build clubhouse
      1974 - Clubhouse opens
      1994 - Membership approve clubhouse renovation
      1995 - Demolition of original clubhouse
      1996 - Renovated clubhouse open with larger common areas and redesigned parking lots

      The golf clubhouse once was a garden, too. Developer Jim Stockton wanted to make a statement with everything he built at Sawgrass and its biggest structure would be no exception. Back in 1972, golf clubhouses reflected their community, from the stately home at Timuquana to the Spanish hacienda at San Jose, Northeast Floridians were used to old styles.

      Stockton wanted an eye opener and he went to Jacksonville architect Peter Rumpel to get it.He got it. Rumple (not to be confused with a later general manager named Peter Rummel) came up with a spectacular design, a building anchored by four massive concrete buttresses with an atrium in the middle.

      The atrium wasn’t just randomly selected greenery. Stockton hired a landscape design firm, Foster and Herbert of Orlando, to make sure it stood out, and it did, with what a newsletter article at the time described as “lush sub-tropical plants with the effect of a dry river bed in the mountains and large egg-shaped stones on a sloping incline.” The decor included heads of many of the trophy animals bagged by Stockton on his frequent safaris. The locker rooms were large and airy, in sharp contrast to the stuffy, small locker areas of the time. It was a two-story building, the first floor was for maintenance equipment and golf cart storage, and the main level was the second floor.

      Designed by the Rumple’s firm of Freedman, Clements and Rumple and built by the E.C. Kenyon Company, the main level included a large dining room, a men’s grill, the golf pro shop, locker rooms and the kitchen. While there have been several renovations, the basic design exists today.

      A major renovation was proposed in 1994 and the members responded by approving it by a 4-1 margin. The changes included a new weather-protected portico, an enclosed club room for functions, spaces for a new bar and lounge, card rooms, rest rooms, refurbished golf shop, kitchen and grill room, and a redesign of the parking area. It opened on February 14, 1996.

      The biggest change, though, was in the middle, the atrium was turned into a large common area. In the ensuing years, minor changes have been made. The staff offices have been renovated, the kitchen has been improved and the dining room redesigned.