Woods Hole Golf Club

Woods Hole Golf Club

Wilson Associates
Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

Woods Hole Golf Club

Wilson Associates as Architects

Design details include reclaimed ‘ship’s knees” as braces in the dining area. The shingles on the roof will weather over time and become light gray, like the regional architectural style in the Cape Cod area.


The new clubhouse celebrates the past but looks to the future. The building addresses the site and presents a handsome profile atop the rolling hills overlooking Buzzard’s Bay. The approach has a low-key scale which then cascades down to the 18th hole and Buzzard’s Bay. The style reflects quintessential New England Cape Cod shingle style so it blends in historically. The functionality is efficient but low key.


A series of spaces that flow, and are dedicated to the game of golf relaxation and most of all camaraderie. The locker rooms are functional, spacious, and clean, and are easily accessible and user friendly. Carefully crafted sequence of rooms that are well planned spaces and enable flexibility so it’s a multi-tasking building which speaks to future generations. Want to appeal to younger generation. Clean, not stuffy, like a big home. Many functions can happen at once, but members can still feel like it’s their haven. Not a hotel, but a hospitality environment where you retreat every day.


The lower lobby is welcoming like an entrance hall to a grand but rambling summer home on the Cape – welcoming but casual.


The design has a common thread of the cape and the bay; the design speaks to the proximity of the building to the sea and the woods. For example, the lamps have a nautical lighthouse feel, lots of natural light, spacious and white. The upper lobby is a tall gracious room, like a captain’s house. Things that make the space unique – a stair rail like the Nobska lighthouse.


The Woods Hole Golf Club is an iconic Cape Cod club, established around 1899. The multiple generations of members in this exclusive club give it much history (and many stakeholders) as they look to bring in new generations of members to establish the future of the club. There are approximately 400 members in the club, most from the Boston area, in the southwest end of Cape Cod, near Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard. The old club house was demolished, and the new club built on the same site, on a hill overlooking Buzzard’s Bay. The club represents the “all-American summer”; it’s very preppy, posh, and old-money Boston. The new structure has two levels in a classic New England shingle style architecture. The main entrance lobby has a grand staircase that welcomes visitors, establishing a sense of place. (the old building was a series of added-on rooms and the entrance was on one side and opened to a long hallway; not much of a grand entrance like there is now.) The men’s and women’s locker rooms are on the first floor, around the side of the building, and include the back of house as well.


Upstairs, the upper lobby and Quissett Lounge provide multiple seating options and spaces and feature a classic Gambrel-style vaulted ceiling. The roof features classic New England style dormers, and the bar and main dining room open onto the porches where members can experience a classic New England summer breeze. The design, like the natural surroundings, feature vivid colors, the love of the outdoors, the sparkle on the water in the sunlight, and the dreamy ocean light as the sun sets. The design incorporates boating and nautical references as well.


The Grille Room and Bar contains visual focal points and anchors in the room. For example, the stone fireplace with reclaimed live-edge wood mantle and the custom club fender around it add elements of warmth. The club fender is a contemporary interpretation of a classic New England style architectural element and represents the gathering around the hearth. The brass with leather on top allows for additional seating but also has nautical references as well. The entry staircase balusters are custom carved in the shape of the Nobska lighthouse (the same as depicted on the Cape Cod chips packaging).


The bar has a built-in banquette and is a cozy niche with seating flexibility for live tournament events as well as for gathering to watch on the big pop-up TV that descends into the back of the bar area so as not to obstruct the viewing of live events outside. The north side of the bar has a view to the bay and opens onto a wide porch. The Inglenook Bar as it is called is framed nicely in the space overlooking the course and the bay. It has a view down the ninth fairway for prime viewing.


Reclaimed ship’s knees braces frame the bar area and reference maritime history of the region. The large mahogany bar top adds warmth to the space, and heavy woods frame the bar to give it weight in the light space.


The Fairway Porch opens from the main dining area, and the Grille & Bar area opens to the Quissett Porch. The porches are ideal for summer luncheons of lobster rolls, clam chowder, and cape cod cocktails. The entire space has wide plank wood floors, in some areas and the stairs covered in a vibrant custom designed carpet from Desso. The furniture has a residential feel, and includes cozy sofas, lounging chairs, wicker and cane furniture on the porches, and medium wood console and drink tables to create a comfortable, inviting and cozy feel.


The locker rooms are carpeted and contain vanities and spacious showers, all bathed in natural light.


Upstairs, the rooms have beam ceilings to establish an architectural framework within the space. At the end of the main dining area is a private dining room. The ceilings in the main dining area are 14 feet high to create volume, and the room is circular with a huge semi-circular bank of windows overlooking the forest adjacent to the club house.


The old club had very low ceilings and was a misuse of spaces due to the constant adding on. It felt dated. The club wanted a space that could appeal to younger generations as well as long-standing members, and the children and grandchildren of those members, for generations to come. The new club building is somewhat of a rebirth of the club 100 years later; it maintains the legacy while looking toward the future. The spaces are multi-functional, and enable multiple events to take place simultaneously without imposing on each other. There is flexibility to how the spaces open into one another to accommodate various events and catering needs. Previously, the club had a very small porch; the new club has several large porches to celebrate the New England summer on the porch.


The social time in the area is high summer (July through September), when the club hosts multiple weddings, clambakes, tournaments, and outdoor social events. The club has reclaimed the historic dining chairs from its previous incarnation for use in the new space – infusing the room with pieces of the club’s history. The history is also apparent in the salvaged trophies, art work, and honor roll of past members that are all displayed throughout the club house.


The bar area features large area rugs, wood framing, and paneling on the walls for a warm, residential feel. White walls and a light color palette reflect the natural light streaming into the rooms. The axminster carpets are woven with colors reflecting the natural colors in the surrounding area – blues and greens. The bar area also features leather chairs to give it a “club” feel.


All-weather wicker style furniture beckons guests to the porches for a relaxing Cape Cod afternoon.


Inside, especially in the main dining area, customized lighting along the walls bathes the walls in ambient light. The architectural style of the space is distinct and is truly at home in its location and context. The building is situated in a prominent location, on a golf course right along the ocean. Woods Hole Golf Club is positioned to be a “home away from home”. It celebrates the past and looks to the future.


The large summer cottage on the cape, the grand but rambling summer home on the bay, feels residential all around.

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