© COLIN MACLEAN/TC MEDIA
Brad Cook, resident pro and manager of the Summerside Golf and Country Club, looks over the hollowed shell of the clubhouse. The facility’s new owner recently started renovations to the building, which he plans to complete in time for a grand opening this spring.
SUMMERSIDE - Brad Cook can’t wait until later this spring when he will welcome members and visitors back to the Summerside Golf and Country Club and he’s expecting more than one jaw to hit the floor.
Despite having previously said that renovation work on the golf course wouldn’t start for at least a year, its new owner, Shizhong (Sean) Liu, has changed his plan and started an ambitious upgrade of the clubhouse last week.
Cook, the resident golf pro and manager of the club, has been relegated to working out of a little corner of the now hollowed out clubhouse while renovations are ongoing, but he said he is glad to do it.
“It’s going be a truly jaw-dropping, wow-moment for a lot of the people who have been a part of this club for longer then I’ve been alive. Certainly, anyone whose been a member here in the last number of years will be nothing short of dumbfounded when they see what’s going to take place here,” said Cook.
The renovations include increasing the overall square-footage of the building, adding a hibachi-style restaurant and bar with seating for 100 patrons, as well as a second bar in an expanded pro-shop and a general upgrade for the interior. They’re also adding two large decks to the exterior and have already ordered new equipment for the groundskeepers, as well as a new fleet of golf carts.
Upgrades to the course itself will be minor this year, mostly concentrated on the sand-traps, but further upgrades are expected over the next few years.
Cook said they expect the clubhouse to be ready for the start of this golf season, which, depending on the weather, is a little more than two months away.
Liu, who is also building the Prince Alex Resort along the waterfront at the end of Mackenzie Drive in Summerside, finalized the purchase of the golf course on Feb. 3, thanks to a $900,000 loan guarantee from the City of Summerside. The resort property and golf course abut and will eventually become part of the same complex, though the golf course is technically outside the city, in the community of Linkletter.
Nicolle Morrison of Century 21 Northumberland Realty, Liu’s spokeswoman, said her client planned to wait until after the 2016 season to start implementing his plans for the property. However, she says that once Liu took a closer look at the clubhouse he decided not to wait.
“He just thought there was a lot of space that could be better utilized, and he wanted the restaurant bigger,” said Morrison.
“He felt that if he wanted to bring members back he had to do something.”
The golf course has seen a steady decline in membership over the past number of years.
According to Morrison, the club’s maximum membership is 600 but in 2015 there were only about 200 memberships sold. She added that Liu is planning to announce some measures in the next few weeks in an effort to bolster those numbers again. They’re also going to reduce the membership price, though she wasn’t ready to announce what that will be just yet.
Facts about the Summerside Golf and Country Club:
18 hole course
1990s last major renovation to clubhouse
1943 all airmen from CFB Summerside were granted full membership privileges