In early September, owner D.R. Horton, the national housing developer, unveiled a 28,000-square-foot, three-story clubhouse that took seven years to complete - and Tom Graber, general manager and director of golf since 2005, says the wait was worth it.
"(The opening) has been highly anticipated," Graber says. "I'm happy for our members and our guests. This completes our amenities package for the property."
The former private club has about 600 members, but Graber says member play accounts for only about 20 percent of the 33,000 rounds per year (2013 figures). That means semi-private Cobblestone has become a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, with easy access from Interstate 77 (exit 27).
What took so long on the clubhouse? Construction began in 2007 after the razing of a smaller (5,500 square feet) previous clubhouse. But ownership changes, and the economic downturn, forced club officials to halt the process for nearly six years. Graber's staff operated out of a small pro shop/office building, using a large tent next to the spacious practice area for gatherings.
Then in 2013, D.R. Horton bought Cobblestone Park and its surrounding housing developments, and construction resumed. The final result is impressive.
The main (second) floor has a restaurant/bar seating about 60, with overflow space onto a veranda running the entire back of the clubhouse and overlooking the 16th and 18th holes. A banquet room with space for 180, two sitting areas with fireplaces and a state-of-the-art kitchen, where chef Lloyd Spalding plans a "Lowcountry/Cajun" menu, occupy the rest of the level.
The third floor has private dining and meeting rooms, changing rooms for brides and grooms, a sitting area and an outdoor deck. The first level houses men's and women's locker rooms, cart storage and a new pro shop.
Cobblestone Park offers non-members a "membership experience," and the clubhouse is an important component. Among offerings this fall is a "Super Twilight" rate of $28 plus tax after 4 p.m., seven days a week.
The lifeblood of the new clubhouse will be events, but Graber is excited that golfers can now unwind after a round with a drink or a meal in elegant surroundings. The club's major spring event is Masters Week, when tournament visitors who have played Cobblestone Park in the past should fill his tee sheets. "By far, that's our biggest revenue week of the year, and we're booking 2015 tee times now," he says.
Graber points out that Cobblestone Park is just 85 miles from Augusta's Washington Road exit. He's happiest, though, that with the new clubhouse, a drink, a meal and a convivial atmosphere for golfers are just a few steps away.
For information, call 803.714.2620 or visit www.cobblestoneparkgolfclub.com.