Higher education

University of Iowa details plans for new Finkbine Golf Course Clubhouse

Upgrades could make course a championship-level tournament site

Finkbine Golf Course Clubhouse and Support Facility – Construct New BuildingView from the northwest corner
Finkbine Golf Course Clubhouse and Support Facility – Construct New BuildingView from the northwest corner
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A new University of Iowa Finkbine Golf Course Clubhouse will more than quadruple the size of the facility it’s replacing, bringing the venue on par with its peers and establishing the university as a championship-level tournament site capable of hosting NCAA collegiate golf events.

Updated plans for a new nearly $10 million clubhouse, which the Board of Regents will consider approving next week, also include larger and more equitable men’s and women’s locker rooms, a retail pro shop, full kitchen, dining, banquet event space, and an administrative office.

The proposed two-tiered 23,000-square-foot facility will house the university’s golf cart fleet on the lower level. It also would provide improved shelter and safety for players, according to board documents made public Tuesday.

“Safety is a major concern for golf in the Midwest due to weather-related conditions like severe storms, lightning, and tornadoes,” according to the project proposal.

A new clubhouse, which will be funded by UI Athletics Department gifts and involve no taxpayer dollars, could increase revenue options and enable the school to land more lucrative state and national amateur tournaments, fundraisers, and social events — putting it on the map within the golfing, NCAA, and alumni communities, officials said.

“It would provide an exceptional venue for UI relationship building including recruiting activities, donor interactions, and alumni activities,” UI officials reported in their proposal to the board.

A new clubhouse would sit south and slightly west of the existing Finkbine Golf Course Clubhouse, which will be razed upon completion of the project. The old 5,400-square-foot clubhouse dates back to 1965 and is “functionally obsolete,” according to board documents.

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Although the 60-year golf course it supports hosts 25,000 rounds a year on a green renowned for its quality, speed, and tournament-style layout — earning it a place in Golfweek Magazine’s “Top 25 College Golf Courses” — the clubhouse “has not kept pace.”

It is plagued by deficiencies — including issues with basic accessibility, safety, and outdated infrastructure — limiting the university’s ability to host events and appropriately serve its visitors.

“These inadequacies, along with the lack of dining/event space and kitchen operations, contribute to the loss of NCAA events, large revenue golf events, fundraisers, and social functions,” according to board documents.

To proceed with the clubhouse replacement, the university is asking the Board of Regents at its meeting next week to approve the project’s schematic design, description, and budget. Approval would authorize the university to move forward with construction.

This week’s updated clubhouse designs come after the board last fall gave the university the nod to proceed with planning. That planning led UI officials to consider possible future uses of its nearby University Club, a 57-year-old social and events center it bought in 2008.

The university, following that review, decided it will close the club in September 2018 — officials announced the news to members in a June letter. UI Vice President for Finance and Operations Rod Lehnertz said his staff is studying potential uses of the University Club property in conjunction with the Finkbine project, but new details for that site haven’t been made public.

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