Last year I gave professional training to a leading golf turf machinery company’s sales team about the importance of sustainability. During this training, I told my audience:
People enjoy playing a golf course that speaks of its place. A genuine golf course experience, true to its location, is a strong product. Retention of local qualities – natural, historic, and cultural – generates an understandable attraction to a golf course and a leading position in the marketplace.
The renovation and modernization of Nebřenice Chateau at Oaks Prague is a glaring example of the retention of local historic and cultural qualities.
When I attended the official opening of the PGA National Czech Republic (It is part of Oaks Prague) in 2020, it was still in pretty bad shape. Around then, the renovation of the palace began.
The owners of Oaks Prague have completely repurposed the Nebřenice Chateau as a clubhouse. Since 1st October it is open for business.
The extensive and challenging renovation of the whole building was instigated on the basis of a design by London-based architect John Pawson, who already has the award-winning restoration of the Nový Dvůr monastery in Karlovy Vary behind him.
The concept was developed and the design, including the interior, was completed by the architectural studio Chapman Taylor, who was responsible for the well-known Flow Building in the center of Prague, among others
An open-kitchen restaurant, which will be run by established gastronomy company La Collezione, also known as La Bottega, La Finestra, will be partially operational from 1st October and fully operational from spring 2023.
What does the new clubhouse hide?
On the ground floor of the newly renovated chateau (a former hunting lodge for the von Schüttelsberg family), guests will also find a bar and stylish lounge with a fireplace lined with exotic stone, plus a golf shop with a wide range of clothing and equipment.
A complex of comfortable changing rooms and a golf simulator are also located on the first floor.
Via the suspended metal staircase with terrazzo steps, we move up to the castle loft which has been uniquely adapted into a multi-purpose space to be used for private dining functions, business meetings, presentations, private events, and similar activities.
As part of the renovation of the facades, the decorative elements, and adornments which correspond to the original 19th-century appearance of the building.
The entire renovation was carried out in close cooperation with preservationists.
Jan Zemánek, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Arendon, the developer of Oaks Prague said
“Our goal is not just to develop and modernise the whole Oaks Prague site and the surrounding area, but also to contribute to the preservation of cultural sites, the cultivation of natural processes including maintaining wildlife corridors, and in doing so, create pleasant surroundings both for Oaks residents and for guests and neighbours from nearby towns and villages who may wish spend time there.
Perhaps it is not by chance that Oaks Prague is being built in this area. Historical heritage like the Nebřenice Chateau can make a golf club/golf resort unique and memorable.
The EU’s Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage is supporting such reuse of historic/heritage buildings.
The Golf Environment Organization recommends (too) – as a sustainability objective – protecting and/or incorporating features of historical and cultural significance if any.