Portstewart Golf Club enters new era

THE borough's reputation as a mecca for golfers from all over the world was further enhanced with the opening of the new state of the art clubhouse at Portstewart last week.

Staff at Portstewart Golf Club finally moved into the stunning seafront premises which marks a new era for the famous links club.

The impressive clubhouse was designed by HMD Architects and built by McCloskey and O'Kane contractors.

Club captain Patsy Trolan spoke to Times Sport of his pride in the new facility which is the envy of clubs throughout Ireland.

"As captain of Portstewart Golf Club I am delighted that our clubhouse is now open," he said.

"What our members now have as a clubhouse can only be described as five star. Designed to be functional and to optimise the fantastic views over the Riverside and Strand courses, Portstewart beach, the River Bann and Donegal, it has the potential to become a much sought after venue for a variety of events.

"With our three course complex, this clubhouse is the jewel in Portstewart Golf Club's 'triple crown' and will become the envy of visiting golfers not just from the UK and Ireland, but worldwide."

The clubhouse has viewing terraces over the course itself where members and guests can enjoy the stunning scenery of the Strand Beach and Donegal hills.

Martin O'Kane of HMD Architects, said the design of the building represented "a dramatic re-interpretation of the principal functions of a golf club and their spatial arrangement over two floors around a top lit central atrium."

He went on to explain: "The main entrance from Strand Road leads into this atrium where a reception area welcomes members and visitors alike.

"The reception is marked by a feature fireplace and staircase leading to the upper level. Immediately to hand are the administration and council offices and further along the atrium are grouped the gents and ladies locker rooms and professional shop. At the opposite side is the Centenary Room, which will serve as a hospitality area for visiting society groups and guests.

"At first floor level a balcony runs along both sides of the atrium and gives access to the Members' Centenary Bar, the Visitors' Mixed Lounge, the Function Room and the Dining Room. Around the outer edge of the social spaces, an open terrace wraps around the building and affords panoramic views over the Strand and Riverside Courses, Strand Beach and the Donegal hills.

"These spaces are also complemented by a Ladies Room and a TV/Reading room, and a well-appointed kitchen serving the dining room. There is a large chair and table store, which will allow a flexible approach to use of all the social spaces.

"A new raised putting green is being provided and will afford a gentler approach to the elevated first tee. The car parking is being re-grouped as one entity towards a new site entrance at the Burnside/Strand Road roundabout."

Portstewart hosted the Irish Amateur Championship in 1992, held a qualifying round of The Open in 1951 and has hosted other events such as the Irish Professional and Irish Amateurs.

The Strand Course, redesigned in 1992, is regarded as one of Ireland's finest links and the club also has less challenging Riverside and Old Town courses where golf was first played as far back as 1889.