Fire destroys iconic clubhouse at Oakland Hills Golf Club | national news
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A devastating fire Thursday swept through the century-old clubhouse of Oakland Hills Country Club, the suburban Detroit course that housed artifacts of some of golf’s biggest stars and the championships they held there have won.
The flames shot through the roof of the vast, multi-storey pavilion. It was built in 1922 and housed irreplaceable memorabilia and artwork from the nine major championships and the Ryder Cup that Oakland Hills has hosted for nearly a century.
“We have lost our iconic clubhouse,” club chairman Rick Palmer said.
No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Firefighters said the 110,000 square foot clubhouse is one of the largest wooden structures in Michigan.
“It’s hard to talk when you’re crying,” Greg Kampe, a men’s basketball coach at Oakland University and a longtime member of the club, told the Detroit News.
Oakland Hills opened in 1916 and has hosted six US Opens – only two other courses have held it more times. The most famous was in 1951 when Ben Hogan won and later proclaimed, “I’m glad I brought this course, this monster, to its knees.” The “monster” has become the nickname for Oakland Hills over the years.
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer won the US Senior Open in Oakland Hills. Gary Player won the 1972 PGA Championship. Europe won the Ryder Cup there in 2004 and Padraig Harrington became the first Irishman to win the PGA Championship in 2018.
It has also hosted two American amateurs, most recently in 2016.
Palmer thanked the firefighters who saved priceless memories during a “heartbreaking day.”
“Only time will tell what the next step will be, but we will move forward with the goal of honoring all those who brought this great building to life with their golf and their work,” he said.
The club has two courses. The South’s most famous course recently underwent a $12 million renovation project in hopes of attracting more majors. She recently won the US Women’s Open in 2031 and 2042.
“Our hearts go out to our friends at Oakland Hills. … We will support the club as much as we can in this rebuilding process,” said John Bodenhamer, Championships Manager at the United States Golf Association.
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