The renowned clubhouse at Oakland Hills Country Club, the suburban Detroit golf course that held memorabilia of some of golf’s biggest names and the tournaments they won there, was destroyed by fire on Thursday.
At the huge, multi-story clubhouse, flames blasted through the top. It was built in 1922 and has valuable mementos and art from Oakland Hills’ nearly century-long hosting of nine major championships and the Ryder Cup.
There were no injuries recorded. The cause of the fire remained unknown at the time. The 110,000-square-foot clubhouse was one of Michigan’s largest wood structures, according to fire authorities.
On the scene, firefighters said they were told where some of the historic artefacts was housed within the clubhouse and were able to salvage some of it. They don’t know what was salvaged and what wasn’t, but there was Ryder Cup trophies, PGA Championship trophies, and other major items within the clubhouse.
In a statement, club president Rick Palmer stated, “This is a gut-wrenching day for Oakland Hills.” “While we are certain that no members or employees were injured, we have lost our famous clubhouse, which contained our history and our place in Michigan, as well as the United States and beyond.”
“Oakland Hills is extremely appreciative to the firemen who worked tirelessly to salvage some of our valuable artefacts. It hurts to see this, but we may take solace in knowing that our membership and staff are the club’s heart, soul, and heritage. Only time will tell what comes next, but we will continue forward with the intention of honouring all those who helped bring this magnificent structure to life through their golf and effort.”
Only two other courses have hosted the US Open more times than Oakland Hills, which started in 1916. The most well-known came in 1951, when Ben Hogan triumphed and afterwards declared, “I’m relieved that I was able to bring this course, this monster, to its knees.” ‘The’ “Over time, Oakland Hills earned the label “monster.”
The U.S. Senior Open was won by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer at Oakland Hills. The 1972 PGA Championship was won by Gary Player. Padraig Harrington became the first Irishman to win the PGA Championship in 2018, and Europe won the Ryder Cup there in 2004.
Andy North, who won the 1985 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills, remarked, “My first thought is the history of the club.” “You can restore a building, but you can’t replace the mementos they may have lost. With its displays of champions and titles, that facility is an important part of our golf heritage. They’ll build a fantastic new clubhouse, but they won’t be able to replace what they’ve lost. It’s incredible.”
Donald Ross designed two of the club’s golf courses. Following a $12.1 million rehabilitation by Gil Hanse, the South Course reopened last summer with the objective of bringing major championships back to Oakland Hills.
In a statement, Hanse remarked, “This is a very sad day for the history of American golf.”
In 2031 and 2042, the club will host the US Women’s Open.
“Our thoughts are with our Oakland Hills friends. We will assist the club in its rebuilding efforts in any way we can “The United States Golf Association’s chief championships officer, John Bodenhamer, acknowledged as much.