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San Clemente Journal

Golf Course Clubhouse Now Open for Business

Feb 01, 2008 09:01PM ● By Don Kindred
by Nick Azzollini

In case you haven’t been around and heard the news, the new clubhouse is open at the San Clemente Municipal Golf Course. All this writer can say is HALLELUJAH!!! 

Having been a member of the Golf Course Advisory Committee since the idea for a new facility first hit floor, this is very satisfying indeed. There were those who thought that all the place needed was a few upgrades. To answer that, one of my colleagues on the committee, Tom Byrd, would say, “It’s time we stopped putting lipstick on this old pig!” 

It was a long hard road with the recommendations for a new facility being brought up at almost every City Council meeting. Finally, there was a council that was sympathetic to the golfing community. Kudos to this group for having the chutzpah to step up to the plate and get the job done. Judging from the turnout at the dedication back in December, it seems everyone was in agreement that the wait, while long, was worth it.

It has only taken about ten years or so, but even with the smaller building which was pared down to 12,000 square feet (from the original 17,000 square feet), this Spanish revival style building would do Ole Hanson proud. With everything else they have had on their agenda, the council saw fit to see that the SCMGC would be a place where everyone, golfers and non-golfers alike, could be proud to come, play, eat and bring guests. 

Mike Hurlbut, San Clemente High School’s Golf Coach states. “The first time I toured the new clubhouse after it opened , I found myself saying over and over out loud WOW! It is no doubt a destination for golfers, but for the community as a whole. I see it as a phenomenal place to meet and socialize. With a facility that extraordinary, the city should consider renaming it San Clemente Country Club. The pro shop and restaurant have that country club aura without the pretentiousness of a private club.”

This facility certainly rivals anything around, while the cost of playing a round of golf is still one of the best bargains in Southern California. Dave Cook along with his staff have moved into their new, larger pro shop. Their friendly service and attention to detail is still second to none. The selection of golf equipment, clothing and other related items has expanded, with plenty of room for wandering around or watching people teeing off from the first tee. Club repairs, including reshafting and regripping are still available there. 

Dave seems quite happy with his new surroundings. As he pointed out, he now has a panoramic view of the first, seven, and tenth tees, plus the ninth and eighteenth holes and the driving range as well. One noticeable change is that you now get a token for your range balls as there is a dispenser down below in the cart barn.

The crown jewel of the clubhouse is the new restaurant, Irons in the Fire. Dave Donaldson, of Beachfire fame is the owner. Since being awarded the concession Dave, who enjoys playing golf as well, has committed himself and his staff to making Irons a destination for the hungry and thirsty whether you play golf or not. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily with the prices being surprisingly affordable and delicious when you think of eating at a golf course clubhouse. Something else that may be of interest should you be considering a large gathering, the clubhouse banquet facilities can cater up to 250 people.

Sit out on the covered patio and enjoy the views. Watch the sunset, check out the ocean, find a little amusement in watching the folks on the driving range or learn a thing or two from the people teeing off on the first tee. There’s a good-sized fire pit and plenty of heaters available, with seating for about 75 and servers to serve you. Downstairs you will find the snack bar catering to the golfers either before or while they are playing their rounds. Add to this, something that has really been a long time coming, a beverage cart. Now that construction is done and everything is up and running, the rule prohibiting personal coolers and outside beverages on the course will be in effect.

Gus Nelson, Golf Course Manager, tells us there are still a few minor details remaining to wrap up the $5.3 million project and bring things to full operating capacity. Items such as minor landscape work near the first and tenth tees and in the parking lot. The first and tenth tees themselves also require renovation having suffered from a year of heavy play, and the practice putting green needs to be grown and readied for play. Also, the temporary tees on the driving range will eventually be removed. “We are all excited about our accomplishments but many challenges still remain to fulfill our vision for the facility,” Nelson added.

So, come on down to the “Muni” enjoy a round of golf, hit some balls on the range, hang out, have something to eat or drink, relax and relish in the fact that we truly live in paradise. b
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