New Hobbit's Glen clubhouse expected to open in summer 2014

The 45-year-old clubhouse at the Hobbit's Glen Golf Club in Columbia will soon be replaced with a larger, more modern clubhouse, expected to open in the summer of 2014.

Site design details for the new clubhouse, as well as a new "turn house," were revealed at a presubmission community meeting on Monday, Aug. 20.

The golf club, which is owned and operated by the Columbia Association, does not currently have a turn house, a place where golfers can stop during their round to go to the bathroom or purchase food and beverages. The turn house is planned to be built between the ninth and 10th holes, the midway point in the 18-hole course.

The current clubhouse — home to the club's pro shop and Coho Grill restaurant — is about 8,000 square feet. The footprint of the new clubhouse will be about 15,500 square feet, according to a CA spokesman.

Albert Edwards, of Site Resources Inc., a land planning company based in Phoenix, detailed the plans for the $5.85 million project to about a dozen people who attended the presubmission meeting, held at the existing clubhouse.

"We've purposely raised the building up, so it looks a little more majestic. ... We really try to take advantage of the vistas and the views out of the back," he said.

The new clubhouse will include space for outdoor seating and a lawn area, which can be used for special events.

"It almost has an English garden feel, the way it's up on the promenade of the hillside," Edwards said.

To be able to the put as much money into the clubhouse as possible, Edwards said CA and the architects decided not to make many infrastructure improvements to the site itself. Therefore, the new building will be situated much as it is now, to use the existing parking lot and driveway.

"The driveway will be improved, and repaved and widened; but it will be largely in the same location," Edwards said, noting it will include a new "loop, drop-off area" in the front of the building.

Edwards said CA and its development team expect to submit their site development plan to the county sometime in September and put a bid out for a construction contract in the spring.

Demolition of the existing building and construction on the new clubhouse and the turn house is expected to begin in summer of 2013, Edwards said.

During the roughly one-year construction phase, the golf club offices, pro shop and a "scaled-back" version of Coho Grill's food service offerings will be housed in temporary trailers near the driving range. The turn house, which is only expected to take about two months to build, will open before the clubhouse.

'A really nice plan'

Columbia resident Ben Clements, who golfs at Hobbit's Glen once or twice a week, said building a more spacious and modernized clubhouse is key to drawing new members to the golf club. Clements serves on the Citizens Committee that has been helping CA plan the project.

Though the plans have been tweaked to accommodate CA's budget, "overall it's a really nice plan," Clements said. "The position of the clubhouse and the turn house will really magnify the views."

The plan has one minor hiccup. The turn house was envisioned to include a full-service grill, but the current plan simply calls for a hot-dog roller and an outdoor propane-gas grill.

"It cheapens the whole thing," said Bernard Jennings, a member of the Clubhouse Committee whose Columbia home backs up to the golf course and who golfs at Hobbit's Glen three times or more a month, often with clients. "It doesn't fit the ambience."

Jennings attributed the change to a communication breakdown and said he is optimistic golfers will get the turn house they want.

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