Work to replace Harbour Town clubhouse begins Monday

dburley@islandpacket.comApril 20, 2014 

Just hours after Matt Kuchar walked into Harbour Town Golf Links' clubhouse a winner Sunday night, work to tear it down began.

This year's RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing was the last for the clubhouse, which is being replaced as part of an ongoing effort by Sea Pines Resort to update its facilities.

In its place will rise a $20 million-plus, three-story building with an art gallery, a restaurant, and men's and women's locker rooms for tournament players and members of the public, among other features.

The current 11,000-square-foot clubhouse, which opened the year the Heritage began, has one of the smaller locker rooms on the PGA Tour, tournament officials said.

The new 18,000-square-foot facility will boast 150 full-sized lockers, showers, a steam room and a sitting area large enough to accommodate the more than 100 PGA Tour golfers who play on Heritage weekend.

It also will offer a small bar and expansive deck overlooking the putting green and 9th hole, according to Cary Corbitt, vice president of sports and operations for the resort.

Plans also call for art galleries on the main floor to display the oil paintings that capture each Heritage winner since the tournament began in 1969. The paintings now hang in the clubhouse, the grill, the locker room and the adjacent conference center, and are featured each year on tickets and daily pairing sheets.

Also included will be an expanded pro shop, a new restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the golf course, and private dining and meeting space that could accommodate tournament sponsors. The clubhouse will connect to the resort's conference center, according to plans.

The resort has made improvements to the clubhouse in the past. But now is the time for a full-scale change, resort and tournament executives say.

"Without question, this is a much needed upgrade," tournament director Steve Wilmot said Saturday.

During the first 31 years of the tournament, players were separated by name into the men's and women's locker rooms off the clubhouse lobby. In 2001, the players' locker room was moved to a conference center built next to the original clubhouse, but even the newer facility does not meet the needs of the PGA Tour and its players, according to the resort.

The current clubhouse also does not have men's and women's locker rooms for daily play.

Scheduled to be completed by next year's tournament, the new clubhouse is part of a larger effort to upgrade Sea Pines' aging facilities.

Resort owners have spent more than $50 million in recent years, including $15 million to replace the Plantation Club that overlooks the Ocean Course and Pete Dye-designed Heron Point golf course. That project finished in February.

Construction fencing will go up around the clubhouse Monday and Tuesday, Corbitt said. Demolition should begin in coming weeks.

During construction, the course will remain open. Golf operations will move into a temporary trailer in the clubhouse parking lot, according to Sea Pines Resort president Steve Bidwell.

Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

Related content:

Sea Pines chairman takes long view on capital improvements, April 19, 2014

$25M Sea Pines renovation plan includes replacement of Harbour Town clubhouse, March 18, 2013

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