While the golf course provides sanctuary from everyday life, the locker room offers a safe haven from the travails of the links. However, basic function with just a splash of comfort reigns supreme in our ideal locker room.
Jacuzzis and saunas are not necessary if the showers work like those at Merion Golf Club, where there is just enough water pressure to put out, say, the Great Chicago Fire. Towels are plentiful and preferably thick, but the club logo should never be embroidered. Souvenirs are best found in the pro shop.
The showers feature private areas for disrobing and toweling off to discourage the never-pleasant sight of grown men strolling around in the buff, one of the more bizarre rituals of the adult male. (I can’t speak to women’s locker rooms, but something tells me they are more discreet.)
The counter areas should be stocked with various products, especially mouthwash and sunscreen. An attendant is present to shine shoes, listen to war stories and greet golfers in a friendly but never excessively effusive way. He’s well versed in nearby dining establishments, current events and sports, and can offer guests simple directions to the airport. Oh, and he can pour a drink out of the small but well-stocked bar that only serves the locker room.
Shoehorns are plentiful and placed on padded benches that sit low to the ground, making them ideal for changing shoes. Enclosed drawers below the benches allow for handy storage.
The layout is intentionally simple. At larger clubs, there is one long hallway and the rows of lockers feed off a main greeting area. At smaller clubs, there is a central area with chairs and couches, as well as a table where, if we’re lucky, fresh gingersnaps are placed.
While the room may be small, the ceiling is high to prevent any claustrophobic feel. Ceiling fans ensure that our locker room never becomes stuffy; good lighting gives us no excuse for our attire choices while supporting impromptu card games.
Plush, dark carpeting is a must in keeping with the home-like feel, as is a sense of scale. We don’t want to feel like we’re walking for miles to and from lockers; we want just enough space on those busy days to avoid a wait before throwing on some FootJoys.
Preferably, the lockers are carved out of wood with distinctive numbering in lieu of nameplates. In fact, everything about the ideal locker room points to Seminole Golf Club’s comfortable space, where museum-worthy lockers with Arts and Crafts-style etchings allow for ventilation and enough room to store a hanging blazer and extra shirts. Club storage is optional.
Not optional are laughs, friendly conversation and plenty of levity for the locker-room banter that is essential to the ideal club.
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