That opening has subsequently been delayed, but it is scheduled for today, Thursday September 16, and as that is the day that this paper is distributed it would be perfect timing to have a article and photo of the clubhouse in the paper…
The new clubhouse has been a talking point ever since the foundations were laid, back in the day when people could afford to play golf and the golf course was kept in good condition. I am joking… well about the affording to play bit anyway, the condition of the golf course leaves in all honesty a lot to be desired. The layout is great, but the condition, maintenance and management…. but I digress.
The Great White Hope, or the The Great White Elephant, depending on your point of view.
Structurally the clubhouse is very impressive, with large open rooms, great views and plenty of areas to sit and enjoy a drink either in the sun or air conditioning. The restaurant is large and well decorated, although personally I would have preferred better views, but I suspect the premium views have been allocated to the drinking areas as that after all is what most people will do. The facilities for the golfers: shop, bag storage etc are more than adequate.
The question remains though: who will use it, quickly followed by who will welcome it being here?
Over the years I have belonged to a number of golf clubs, and the Almerimar clubhouse is nothing like a members clubhouse. Fair enough, as it isn’t a members club, but the ‘benefits’ of a members only environment are naturally omitted from this clubhouse, so the best comparison is probably with a country club in America, and to be honest it falls a long way short of the ones that I am used to, but again America has the volume and the lifestyle that perfectly suits a country club: the Sunday Brunch springs immediately to mind.
Not surprisingly it has been pretty hard to find a bar or restaurant owner that is overjoyed at the opening of the clubhouse, but then again there is no way that it can be seen as anything else but competition to them: weddings, celebrations, formal dinners, or after game drinks and tapas they are all likely to suffer. Or are they?
Many golfers are muttering that they think it will be expensive, lacking in character, and they enjoy a few drinks after a game in a friends bar. And that very much is the case here in Almerimar. Being a small, village style, community for many the charm is the comfort of having got to know the bar owners over the years, the habit of ‘same time same place’ each week, in short the mundane monotony that makes our lives tick over so easily and enjoyably.
The same can be said for many of the regular golf trips, the yearly trip with the boys. It is the combined package of a familiar course, a favourite breakfast venue, and friendly bar owner that contributes equally to the holiday. Many that I have spoken to say they will no doubt give the clubhouse a try, but somewhat reluctantly you feel, and with not a little guilt at not going to their regular haunts.
As for me, I can see the attraction, but not the appeal. I suspect for some it will be perfect, for many it will be of no interest, which makes it exactly the same as any bar, cafe or restaurant. If it is your cup of tea then excellent, if it isn’t don’t worry about it there are a lot of other options. In the long run Almerimar needs the clubhouse, just as it needs more hotels, the rowing lake, the new golf courses, not because it needs them to satisfy the needs of those already here, but to satisfy the needs of those that have yet to find this little oasis on the coast.
Anyway on a personal note, happy birthday to Sands for tomorrow! We have both sets of family over and will be enjoying a celebratory meal… not at the Almerimar Golf Clubhouse, for no other reason that it just isn’t our ‘cup of tea’.