Building Type Basics for Recreational Facilities / Edition 1

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Building Type Basics for Recreational Facilities guides architectsand designers through the basics of programming, designing, andplanning many types of recreational facilities, including golf andcountry clubhouses; tennis, aquatic, skiing, and equestrian supportfacilities; and spas and fitness centers. It also tackles thepractical challenges architects, engineers, and consultants face increating attractive and financially viable leisure facilities.Using the highly visual, nuts-and-bolts approach that has becomethe trademark of the Building Type Basics series, this practicalguide offers techniques for incorporating environmental planninginto recreation building design.

This indispensable guide:

  • Asks and answers twenty questions that frequently arise in theearly phases of a project commission
  • Provides project photographs, diagrams, floor plans, andsections
  • Includes design guidelines for a variety of recreationalfacilities, including new construction and renovation projects

This conveniently organized quick reference is an invaluableguide for busy, dedicated professionals who want to get movingquickly as they embark on a new project. Like every Building TypeBasics book, it provides authoritative, up-to-date informationinstantly and saves architects and facility planners countlesshours of research. Engineering consultants will also find in thisvolume a wealth of information to help them tackle recreationalfacilities commissions of every kind and scale.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471472605
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Series: Building Type Basics Series , #10
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.45 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Diedrich, AIA, is Principal at Diedrich LLC, anAtlanta-based firm specializing in the design of recreationalfacilities. He has programmed and designed more than 100 clubhousesthroughout the United States, as well as in England, Egypt, France,Russia, and Japan. A frequent lecturer, he teaches a course in theHarvard Graduate School of Design's Executive Education programeach summer on clubhouse programming, planning, and design.

STEPHEN A. KLIMENT, FAIA (Series Founder and Editor), is anarchitectural journalist and an adjunct professor at the CityCollege of New York. He was chief editor of Architectural Recordfrom 1990 to 1996.

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Read an Excerpt

Building Type Basics for Recreational Facilities

By Richard J. Diedrich

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-47260-3

Chapter One


The increase in golf participation is linked to the graying of the population; as a result, a surge in players is likely until 2010. Over that time, the large numbers of "baby boomers," those born in the years after World War II, will reach that period in life when they have the time and money necessary to pursue golf as a recreation. However, other changes in the lives of aging boomers affect this traditional leisure time. Increases in hours worked and child-rearing delayed to later in life have placed work and family demands on time that might once have been spent on golf. Due to these changes, continued increases in the number of golfers is made more difficult. In response, to show a greater family orientation, the golf industry has encouraged women and younger golfers to take up the game. Most gains in participation over the past few years are attributable to women and junior golfers (National Golf Foundation 2004). Also, there is more consideration of "nontraditional" golf, which is less time consuming and may be, as well, more family oriented. Family golf may comprise nine or fewer holes while an additional forward series of tees serves younger children. Real turf putting courses may raise miniature golf to a golf learning exercise.

Despite the expense of equipment and the course, golf is played in many cultures. Since it is played in smallgroups, it is conducive to conversation, except during the golf swing. Therefore, it is a social form of recreation. Private golf clubs not only enhance the camaraderie but also provide a safe place for family activities. Golf is important for resorts and almost required by conference planners as an amenity for conference participants.

Even in times of economic downturn, golf in general rounds per occupied room is still strong at full-service resorts.


Golf clubs may be defined in the following categories:

Daily-fee course and clubhouse Resort

Private club

The Daily-Fee Clubhouse

A daily-fee course and clubhouse may be privately owned but available to the public, or it may be a municipal course, owned by the community and open to the public.

Daily-fee course clubhouses usually consist of the basics: a golf shop, restrooms and a changing area with lockers, and golf cart and bag storage. There is a food and beverage element, typically a 19th hole bar and grill with a kitchen, back-of-the-house support area, and a small administrative office.

Even within the basics, the emphasis may vary. A daily-fee course clubhouse may take advantage of the golf setting to offer catered events in a function room overlooking the golf course. Catering eliminates the need for a commercial preparation kitchen and its staff. In lieu of a commercial kitchen, a catering kitchen or offsite preparation tailored to the specific event will suffice.

If the market warrants it, a local restaurateur may elect to take advantage of the golf course amenity with a restaurant; but the volume generated by golf play will not support a restaurant. In addition, they are different businesses, and only private clubs and resorts supply the volume of users to support the combination of restaurant and golf club.

A satellite golf clubhouse may be part of a private golf community or a resort and may serve as the base of operations for golf courses too remote to be served from the main clubhouse. Distance from the main clubhouse may be several miles if the course or courses had to be added because the original community master plan did not anticipate enough golf holes for the ultimate number of residents. The satellite clubhouse is very similar to a daily-fee clubhouse in its space allocation. In fact, the clubhouse may serve as a daily-fee facility until resident and member rounds reach capacity.

The Resort Golf Clubhouse

The resort clubhouse is made up of the same elements as a daily-fee course clubhouse but with a different emphasis on its components. The focus is the golf shop. Golf at a resort is an attraction, and well-known golf course architects who bring a cachet and a particular challenge to the game often design the course or courses. Having met the challenge of the course, the golfer is interested in logo-ware to commemorate the occasion. The golf shop that is part of a resort has a high turnover of customers who are in a "buying" mode. A resort golf shop typically exceeds $500 per sq ft in sales per year, comparable to an upscale boutique. All of the above warrants a proportionally large golf shop, emphasizing its role as a major retail outlet at the resort.

From a food and beverage viewpoint, a resort may use the golf clubhouse as another location for guest dining. Golfers, depending on the number of golf holes and capacity of the course, may provide a market for breakfast and lunch. A dinner business from golfers, however, depends on the seasonal aspects of the location. For instance, high season in a tropical resort is concurrent with the short days of winter in the Northern Hemisphere; therefore, golf play ends in late afternoon, before dinnertime. A bigger concern is the propensity of the foursome to unwind at the traditional 19th hole. This boisterous celebration may go into the early evening, and it may conflict with early dining by families and couples. As a result, dinner is not usually served at a strictly golf clubhouse. In a resort situation, however, the entire clubhouse is available as a special place for group events.

The Private Golf Club

The private golf club generates its own set of priorities to meet the needs of its members. The most striking element is the emphasis on locker rooms. Embodying one of the social traditions of golf, the locker rooms go beyond storage of golf attire to creating the setting for fellowship. The men's locker room in a private club, in particular, usually includes a large lounge and card room. Beverage service is often available, and use of the locker room for cards or socializing is the norm.

The Golf and Country Club

A family-oriented facility that includes recreational amenities in addition to golf is the golf and country club. Traditionally offering dining, swimming, and tennis, country-club clubhouses increasingly include major fitness facilities. In ski areas, the trend is toward four seasons of activities, with a clubhouse serving cross-country skiers in the cold months and golfers in warmer months. Indoor activities often supported by a country-club clubhouse are addressed in this book and include:

Aquatics (see Chapter 3)

Handball, racquetball, squash, and indoor tennis (see Chapter 5)

Fitness and wellness centers (see Chapter 9)

Dining (see Chapter 12)


Perhaps more than any other building type, the golf and country club clubhouse demands integration with its site and its recreational amenities. Given the golf course, optimizing the setting and vistas from the clubhouse is paramount. The many linked golf activities situated in the vicinity of the clubhouse include those shown in the table on page 12.

Bag Drop

The bag drop is the transfer point for the golf bag taken from an automobile and put on a golf cart. The golf cart with the bag (or bags) may then be staged for a round of golf, transferred to another cart, or stored with others in the bag storage area. Therefore, the best location for the bag drop is between an approach driveway and the cart staging area. The staging area would have direct access to bag storage.

The bag drop structure may be as simple as a railing with pegs to separate the golf bags as they are leaned against the rail. A roof element or awning may protect the bags from a rain shower. In the case of a high-volume, daily-fee course, however, the bag drop is more elaborate. Unlike a private club, the daily-fee golfers are strangers and bags may not be left at an unattended drop-off or pick-up site. Therefore, the bag drop is staffed and housed in an open, boothlike roofed structure that functions like a valet parking booth. In fact, in an upscale facility, the golfer may drop the bag and give the automobile to a valet parker at this same point.

If a resort only allows play by hotel guests, the golf bags are typically handled at the hotel check-in and then transferred with other bags directly to the golf club. Therefore, individual bag drop-off and pickup are not a significant issue.

Golf Cart Staging

Golfers pick up their golf cart and bag at the cart staging area before going to the starting hole. Staging is ideally located next to the golf shop and cart storage. A large area of paving would enable a day's complement of golf carts to be staged at one time. In the golf course setting, however, a large paving apron negates the pastoral nature of the site. Therefore, some restraint is required in programming and planning the staging area. If the cart storage is convenient, an area of about 1,000 sq ft to stage and access 16 carts is adequate for 18 holes of golf. For tee times at eight-minute intervals, this is about one hour's worth of carts. An equal amount of cart return area is required.

Since golfers wear spikes, the staging area should be paved with a material other than asphalt, preferably an architectural paver.

A major challenge is the staging for a shotgun start (in which players may start at any hole on the course), for which 64 carts may need to be set out for a full course. The solution lies in the two-way golf cart paths normally in the vicinity of the clubhouse. Carts may be staged along the wide cart paths for a shotgun start.

Practice Green

The practice green, or putting green, is designed by the golf course architect. It is traditionally close to the clubhouse, so collaboration between the golf course architect and the clubhouse architect is critical. The green is not only a very attractive landscape element but, when well located, a significant focus of activity. Placing the practice green near the clubhouse may serve both starting holes as well as providing access to the golf shop for golfers who wish to try out new putters.

The Practice Tee and Range

The practice range, as the largest single element of the golf course, may impact the clubhouse. It is best located within easy access of the clubhouse. A long distance to the practice tee, however, requires use of a cart, necessitating an increase in the complement of carts and additional cart storage.

Recent design of practice ranges, with target greens and features testing each golf stroke, has made the range a much more attractive vista from the clubhouse. Combined with the activity on the tee, the practice range may be the focus for a social area of the clubhouse.

Note that the range ball-picker, ball cleaning, and storage areas need to be housed near the practice tee and range. (See "Range House," page 33.)

The Starter and Starter House

The starter and starter house are vital on a resort or daily-fee course where there are periods of high volume of play by players who may not know the course. It may not be needed for a private club with 18 holes, where a club ranger may handle peak times. As the number of holes increases, however, the starter becomes more critical.

The starter house is a small, boothlike structure located near the starting holes of the course. The structure is about 8 sq ft with a counter to hold the book or computer used to record tee times. A sliding window and speaker system enables the starter to communicate with the golfers. A private club with multiple courses is also likely to have a starter house. Otherwise, start times are managed from the pro shop.

Closeness of the starting tees-one and ten-to the clubhouse speeds play; but the tees do not offer the engaging visual attraction of the greens at the finishing holes.

The Finishing Holes

One of the great traditions in golf is lounging in the 19th hole, in the clubhouse, with a cold drink, watching one's peers finish their game at the 18th green. Course architects have created great vistas in the beautifully sculpted finishing holes. A key role of the clubhouse architect is to provide a vantage point over the 18th green. But it is not that simple. Concurrent with development of the golf course, the clubhouse architect must review the proposed golf-grading plan in the area of the clubhouse and focus on its relationship to the finishing holes. The green may tilt away from the spectator, or it may be bunkered in such a way as to cut off the putting surface sight line. In fact, the prominent golf course designer Tom Fazio prefers a backdrop of natural landscape for the finishing hole. All of the above considerations point to the need for collaboration between the architects designing the golf course and the clubhouse.

Capturing the overlook of the finishing hole also affects the placement and design of such elements as terraces, balconies, and railings, all of which have to be tested not only for positioning but for uninterrupted sightlines from view-oriented interior spaces.

Arrival and Porte Cochere

If feasible, the approach to the clubhouse should be along the golf course rather than through the parking lot. At some clubhouses, such as Longue Vue, which was built in the 1920s near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or the more recent Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast, Florida, arrival is literally through the golf course.

The casual use of clubhouses, coupled with banquet or event business, warrants two entrances. The casual golfer and the formal wedding party are more comfortable in their own setting-the casual golfer prefers direct access to the golf shop and locker room while the wedding party prefers the shelter of a porte cochere. In fact, the porte cochere is an icon of a club and allows covered drop-off and pickup and periodic valet service for large functions or events.

Service and Receiving Area

It is often the case that a golf clubhouse has no back door, as the golf course may wrap around 180-270° of the perimeter of the clubhouse site. With the approach-side taking the remainder of the site, finding a place for (and screening) the service area is a challenge. Typically, there is the extensive golf-related activity of bag drop, cart staging, and return at one end of the clubhouse. The planning approach, then, is to use the opposite end of the clubhouse for receiving-to avoid conflict between golf and the service area and vehicles.

The service area usually consists of two 12 ft wide truck bays, one for delivery and one for the trash compactor. Clubhouse operators differ as to whether dock height or at-grade delivery is most functional. The at-grade proponents indicate that most deliveries are unloaded from the truck's side, or the trucks have lift gates. The dock-height advocates argue that the dock is needed for delivery of building equipment during construction.


The golf shop is the control center for the golf operation and its retail outlet. Control of the golf operation is generally concentrated at the golf shop desk. Golfers check in at this point, and it serves as a cash-wrap counter. Ideally, it overlooks the cart staging area. Phoned-in reservations for tee times are taken here and entered in the computerized schedule. Multiple-course resorts may have a separate room to handle the high volume of reservations and to organize outings.

Following retail principles, the cash-wrap counter is located to guide the customer through the merchandise from entrance to check-in. Store planning and fixture design is normally done by specialists who combine planning, design, and millwork production of the fixtures.

The number of windows in the golf shop is often an issue between the architect and the golf professional. The architect looks at the golf shop as the center of the golf operation to be characterized as an open, inviting shop. Also, it usually adjoins the locker rooms, which present a more closed-in mass. Those responsible for sales from the golf shop give higher priority to wall space to display merchandise, whereas the designer wants to open the space. Ideally, a golf shop achieves a balance of these two valid goals.


Excerpted from Building Type Basics for Recreational Facilities by Richard J. Diedrich Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface (Stephen A. Kliment).


1. Introduction.


2. Golf.

3. Aquatics.

4. Boating.

5. Handball, Racquetball, Squash, and Indoor Tennis.

6. Skiing and Winter Sports.

7. Equestrian Facilities.

8. Extreme Action Sports.


9. Fitness and Wellness.

10. Spa and Salon.


11. Lifelong Learning and Enrichment.

12. Dining.


13. Feasibility Ralph Stewart Bowden.

14. Sustainable Design Mark A. Diedrich.

Appendix: Amenity Facility Program Outline.


Bibliography and References.


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