“A design classic” is how Spencer Grimwood, project manager at changing room specialists Crown Sports Lockers describes the newly refurbished locker rooms at Fairhaven Golf Club, Lytham St Annes.
On Lancashire’s `Golf Coast`, Fairhaven has transformed its clubhouse during 2019 – men’s and women’s changing areas a key first stage of five phases under a £1.3m modernisation.
“The interior designers have come up with something special,” Spencer says. “Light and dark shades of walnut, with innovative wash and shower facilities.”
Recognised as one of the finest Championship courses in the north of England, Fairhaven’s Top 100, 18-hole links-style course is hosting regional qualifying for the Open Championship between 2016 and 2020 and saw final qualifying for the Seniors Open in 2019.
With a buoyant membership of 800, a healthy waiting list and thriving women’s and juniors’ section, Fairhaven was keen to match the quality of the clubhouse with that out on course.
“The project is all about creating modern, clean, airy and stylish provision to enhance member facilities,” explains general manager Martin Robinson, “because the clubhouse was simply not up to standard for a destination of Fairhaven’s status.”
Completed in spring 2019, the £250,000 Phase 1 saw Crown manufacture and install a bespoke scheme in both locker rooms under a project that also included repositioning the clubhouse entrance to the rear of the building.
“I’d known Crown from earlier golf clubs I’d managed,” Martin recalls, “and knew they manufactured quality products. We asked three suppliers to tender for the work. Crown’s website and case studies showed clearly the quality level we were seeking.”
Studying the changing room layouts and sending the club examples of the lockers proposed for members to scrutinise, Crown worked closely with lead consultant Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) who created innovative designs for the locker rooms, toilets and shower cubicles.
Working alongside main contractor Create Construction, FWP have provided a comprehensive in-house design service spanning architecture, interior design, quantity surveying and structural, mechanical and electrical engineering elements for the multi-phase development.
“Project plans had been prepared some years ago but then shelved until Martin came in post three and a half years ago,” says Daniel Thompson, FWP partner. “He has driven the project forward with the backing of the board and gave us free rein on the changing room designs,” he adds.
“To launch the project on the right footing from a PR perspective, it was paramount for the changing rooms to look the part,” notes FWP interior designer David Simmons.
“They were in a dire state, wooden but unfit for purpose and too small to store modern equipment. We sought a bespoke fitout, rather than just joinery.”
“The club wanted a more contemporary feel but the facilities had to carry that air of prestige as Fairhaven numbers plenty of older members among its ranks – some in their 80s and 90s – as well as teenagers. It was a question of catering for the more traditional end too.”
Crown supplied and fitted some 480 key-operated golf bag and holdall lockers, hairdryer vanity units in male and female changing rooms, hanging spaces, towel storage and drops and storage space beneath the wash basins.
Highly distinctive elements feature throughout. “Toilets and shower cubicles include designer glazing,“ David explains. “There were no doors on the original showers – the new ones are acid-etched, with frosting beneath the club logo.
“The changing room toilets also serve the newly refurbished 120-seat events room so had to carry the right look to reflect that function and deliver a quality that surpasses what guests have in their own homes.”
Benches and marble top vanity units feature sit-on bowls to deliver a striking, classy look. Crown supplied locker doors in two shades of smooth-faced, walnut-coloured Formica laminate, complete with routed vertical stripes and numbers in the doors aces, all hand painted in black. Banks of lockers are finished in alternating light and dark shades to further heighten visual impact.
“Space planning was key,” David adds, “as the club wanted to fit as many lockers as possible, without it detracting from the look we had created. We played around with lots of permutations, including the wet areas, to transform the space.”
Wilton-Axminster spike-proof carpeting was laid throughout, including benches, in traditional tartan, with purple tinges in the female changing rooms and tiele notes in the male area, set off with neutral walls.
Martin oversaw the changing room upgrade, with Fairhaven director Sue Wood acting as client representative and liaising with the ladies committee on designs for their locker room.
“It’s larger than many ladies’ changing areas,” says Martin, “and is kitted out completely with golf bag lockers and plenty of vanity space. They have frosted glass features in the toilets and showers too, with added horizontal bands for extra privacy.” Also includes are a few “home comforts” – fresh flowers daily and a noticeboard for example.
Martin visited many clubs with FWP to start developing ideas for a style to achieve the result Fairhaven were seeking. He liked our changing room designs as soon as he saw them and that gave him added confidence working with us on Phases 2, 3 and 4 of the clubhouse upgrade.
“This was a project quite personal to us. We’d handled plenty of metal or laminate locker systems for hotels and sport sites but timber was new for us,” says David.
“Cost and design take precedence in choosing a supplier, however Crown as a Made in Britain manufacturer was a good tick in the box. Spencer was happy to visit the club and their price sat well with other locker suppliers.
“Also, as bespoke manufacturers, Crown were comfortable with how we wanted the lockers to look. We told the club and contractors that although we had not used them before, they were the right suppliers for the project.”
The changing rooms upgrade has met with strongly positive reaction from Fairhaven’s members, Martin reports. “Ages vary greatly so tastes differ and you cannot please everyone but the vast majority of members really like the new look.
“Members rent lockers for £25 a year,” says Martin. “After a little resistance from some, every locker has been taken up, bringing in about £10,000 annually.”
“The Crown team were great, working hard to ensure a totally seamless install, despite problems such as existing sloping floors, which meant repositioning some lockers to take account of that.
“Their fitout was prompt and professional – they were quality craftsmen who sorted any snags as a matter of urgency. Everything went like clockwork.
“The contractors loved working with them. We had no issues and have every intention of using them again.”