Coolest spots in golf: The clubhouse at South Cape Owners Club

March 8, 2020
South Cape Owners Club

Nestled seamlessly among lush trees and striking rock formations on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula is the spectacular South Cape Owners Club, an ultra-luxe golf resort that made its debut in 2013. The property features a course designed by Kyle Phillips and a clubhouse unlike any other, courtesy of Korean architect Minsuk Cho and his firm Mass Studies.

Photos of the site make it appear as though the resort were located at the end of the earth, but it’s actually quite accessible — less than an hour’s drive from South Korea’s Sacheon Airport, which itself is an hour flight from Seoul.

The resort’s entrance features an open roof, reflecting pool and gorgeously framed view of the South Sea.
Yong Kwan Kim

Mass Studies’ Junkoo Kang was the team leader on the building’s design, which is highlighted by an open-air lobby and shimmering reflecting pool (see photo above). Though it has since been recognized as one of the resort’s signature spaces, Kang said the airy foyer was originally met with skepticism. “Lobbies are typically enclosed interior spaces and are meant to greet members and the public,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The open lobby at South Cape is the actual landscape, the experience of the open sky above reflected on the pond and the view of the ocean created by the architecture, which welcomes the guests.”

The area’s innately beautiful landscape provided major inspiration, and staying true to it was a priority for both Mass Studies and course architect Phillips, who collaborated closely from the earliest stages of the resort’s master planning.

To blend in with the scattered rocks of the surrounding natural environment, white-pigmented concrete was used for the winged clubhouse roof.
Wansoon Park

“To work with the land was really important,” Phillips says. “The property is spectacular. On some sites you have to turn up the volume, but it’s the opposite when you have mountainous sites. You need to turn down the volume and still use the landforms, but soften what’s there.” Kang concurs. “We all agreed that we had to introduce minimal changes to the landscape but produce maximum results,” he wrote. Job well done.

More of the coolest spots in golf:
The Nicklaus Room at the USGA Museum
The Great Hall Reception at Ireland’s Adare Manor
Ping’s gold putter vault
Donald Ross’ Pinehurst Cottage

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