The finishing touches are underway, and the new Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse is almost ready to be occupied.
The plush new home at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course — a mixed-use building that will include classrooms for professional golf management and turfgrass management students, locker rooms for varsity athletes and visitors to the course, a restaurant and bar and a fully stocked pro shop — hopes to be open for business before the holidays after nearly 10 months of construction.
A grand opening with Chancellor Randy Woodson is slated for January.
Since the course opened in July 2009, the limited pro shop and grill has been housed in a temporary mobile unit, which was functional but not nearly as elegant as the 7,358-yard, par-72 Arnold Palmer Design Group gem that it served.
The 25,000-square-foot new home has every possible amenity, including red, white and black tile highlighted with the familiar block S logo.
The first floor is devoted to students, including offices and locker rooms for the men's and women's varsity golf teams and conference-style classrooms for the programs that use LPGC as a working laboratory. There is a club-repair area, as well as hitting bays for swing analysis, indoor practice and computer simulation and bag storage rooms.
An Aid to Recruitment
"Since we started the PGM program 12 years ago, we haven't had a location like this to use for our students," said Robb Wade, the director of the PGA Golf Management Program in the parks, recreation and tourism department. "It's like teaching physics without a lab.
"That's hard when you are trying to attract the best students in the country to be part of our program. We are recruiting just like the men's and women's golf programs, and now we will have a premier location here at the course with the finest possible technologies and facilities available to us."
The second floor includes a 1,000-square-foot pro shop, which is twice as large as the shop in the temporary unit, with offices for pro shop personnel.
"What makes this building unique is that we have space for a number of different of constituents," said LPGC general manager Chip Watson. "We have areas for learning and for competition. We have areas for restaurant management and retail experience, which are both part of the PGM training.
"We have areas for club repair and instruction. This building will serve all of us who use the golf course every day for so many different purposes."
Dine in Style
The dining area, bar and food prep areas — which can serve parties of up to 200 guests — on the backside of the clubhouse open to an outdoor terrace that overlooks the entire back nine of the course and features an unobstructed view of Centennial Campus and downtown Raleigh. The restaurant and bar will be managed by The Player's Retreat, the iconic Raleigh bar and pub located just off Hillsborough Street.
New upgrades at the course will include 78 red E-Z Go golf carts with GPS tracking units that will allow golfers to gauge the distance of their shots, as well as communicate with the clubhouse from the far reaches of the course. The bottom level of the clubhouse has docking ports to charge the new electric carts.
The new clubhouse and the course will be on display for a national audience when NC State hosts the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's regional and the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's regional tournaments over the next two years.