Rebuilding work on the fire-ravaged clubhouse at Chart Hills Golf Club is under way.
The distinctive clubhouse at the Kent club was hit by fire last September – but Chart Hills still managed to stage successfully the first round of the European Tour’s qualifying school.
Two-thirds of the impressive structure which overlooks the first, ninth and 18th holes of the sensational Nick Faldo-designed course was devastated by the fire.
Despite the adversity, and the onset of winter, officials at Leaderboard Group-owned Chart Hills vowed to make the new clubhouse bigger and better than ever – and make it a fitting venue for the Ladies’ English Open, which the group has hosted for the past three years.
Now, the roof timbers are in place and officials at Chart Hills expect the new clubhouse to be fully operational by the end of November.
Rod Park, the general manager at Chart Hills, was looking forward to unveiling a new structure which would be the envy of many.
He said: "The fire was a devastating blow to all concerned with Chart Hills and Leaderboard, but we were determined not to let it get the better of us.
"It’s not something we have taken lightly and we have had a long planning process, but now we can see the new clubhouse starting to take shape – and we are confident that it will be worth the wait."
The spike bar, its adjoining reception room and the professional’s shop were untouched by the fire and remain the central hub of the existing clubhouse facilities, but that’s all about to change as the impressive new structure takes shape.
The grand new facility will be laid out over two floors – with the whole of the first floor given over to hospitality in the form of bars, restaurant, banqueting and conference facilities.
And it will feature a panoramic window which mirrors the existing set up in the spike bar and overlooks the 18th hole and the practice range – and the tented village during the Ladies’ English Open in October.
The lower floor will host offices and changing rooms, with the men’s locker room and sauna occupying much of the ‘new’ end of the building complete with an extended ladies’ locker room.
Park added: "The new facilities will offer us much more flexible accommodation – along the lines of our sister club Dale Hill in Ticehurst, East Sussex – with inter-connecting rooms which can be opened up to form one big function room and plenty of space to host all manner of occasions from business conferences to wedding receptions."
The new clubhouse, which will be totally refurbished, will be bigger than the original as well as featuring attractive patios and balconies on the first floor.
Park said: "With the Ladies’ English Open looming large and the new clubhouse on the horizon, it’s an exciting time for Chart Hills Golf Club."
The Ladies’ English Open will be held at Chart Hills in Biddenden, Kent, from October 6-8.
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