It was an unfortunately eventful holiday season at the University of Texas GC, where the golf course and facility staffs still are assessing the impact of a Dec. 26 fire that destroyed the new 16,000-square-foot clubhouse scheduled to open in March, roughly two months before the Austin, Texas, course is to host the women's NCAA Central Regional.
Officials will know with more certainty next week what happens next, but it's expected that the damaged building (known as the "Phase II" clubhouse) will be leveled and construction will begin again from scratch, setting things back approximately eight to 10 months. Roughly 70 percent of the $8 million facility had been completed.
The fire is believed to have started on the roof, and while construction workers were inside the building, no one was hurt. The Phase I clubhouse and pro shop, which eventually were to be converted into a fitness facility, weren't damaged by the blaze, nor was the separate 5,100-square-foot golf academy used by the Longhorns men's and women's golf teams. The course also was not effected and remains open for play.
According to Texas women's coach Martha Richards, the fire shouldn't impact the school hosting regionals May 8-10. "The most important thing you need for regionals is the golf course," Richards said today via phone. "The golf course is great. The golf course is fast. â¿¿ The big impact probably more than anything is the restaurant [that would have been up and running in the new clubhouse]. It's not like everybody is hanging out in the clubhouse at regionals. And that can all be solved."