After five years, work begins again on clubhouse at Cobblestone Park Golf Club in Blythewood

For nearly five years, the unfinished clubhouse at Cobblestone Park Golf Club sat virtually untouched, frozen in time, the victim of a weak economy and ownership turnover and uncertainty.

Begun in 2008 when the original, smaller clubhouse was torn down, work on the new clubhouse halted soon after. During the interval, a long-time employee said of the building that “at night, you could hear it rust.”

Over the past several months, though, the sounds emanating from the three-story structure have been decidedly different, as construction workers began and continue the process of completing interior and exterior renovations in time for a projected 2014 grand opening.

At that point, club members and regular players — originally a private club known as The University Club, Cobblestone Park is now open to public play — will no longer have to deal with portable toilets and a tiny pro shop. The 27-hole layout, considered one of the Midlands’ better tests, is expected to have a clubhouse to match the golf course.

“We are raising the bar for premier country club living in the Midlands,” Tony Hanson, Columbia manager for Cobblestone Park owner D.R. Horton, said in a statement. Per company policy, club employees were not allowed to discuss the project.

Already, changes in the long-dormant building and its surroundings are obvious to visitors.

A large number of trees were removed in preparation for new work around the building. That work includes a new drive-up area in front, across from the first tee of the course’s Black nine (the course also has Garnet and Gold nines), as well as a nearby parking lot for about 70 cars. The former parking lots, located about 100 yards toward the entry road, will be used for overflow.

As part of the cleanup process, the clubhouse has a new, gray roof, and interior fixtures that had been sitting for all or part of the five-year hiatus have been removed. The inside currently is a “hard hat” area, but an artist’s rendering of the clubhouse is on display at the club’s front gate.

D.R. Horton officials describe the planned finished product as “a spacious, amenity-driven gathering place,” with the new exterior designed to give the clubhouse “more of a Lowcountry feel.”

Visitors will enter the clubhouse on the second floor, which will have a grand entryway, double-sided fireplace and oak staircase leading to the third floor. Amenities on the second (main) floor will include a restaurant, bar, members’ lounge, ballroom and a veranda that will overlook the Black nine’s final three holes and the lake situated between the seventh and ninth fairways.

The first floor will house the pro shop, locker rooms, card room, storage and office areas, plus cart storage. The third floor will have a private dining area, outdoor patio and “bride and groom dressing areas” as the club seeks to lure weddings, parties and corporate events.

D.R. Horton officials say 40 homes are under construction in the surrounding neighborhoods. Possible plans to return the club to a private-only facility are uncertain at present.