The Clubhouse; A Scotland Golf Tradition
...As you might expect, clubhouses vary in quality but, in general, most feature a clubroom with comfortable seats and tables which typically look out over the course, a bar and small kitchen that provides an adequate post-round repast, a locker/changing room with showers, and perhaps a small golf shop in which you can buy things you need for your game and souvenirs or gifts to take home.
The important point for us visitors to these clubs is that, in virtually every case, when you pay your visitor green fees for the round you also are purchasing a “membership for the day” in the local club. You are given rights of access to the clubhouse and its facilities to enjoy as the local members do. This availability of membership privileges for guests is a genuine and hospitable offer. Members enjoy seeing you enjoy the facilities of which they are rightly proud. They are quick to accept you into conversations in the bar and lounge and to make you feel welcome and at home. The legendary Scottish hospitality for which these friendly people are so well known is nowhere more evident than in their golf clubhouses.
In the clubrooms you will generally find members hanging out, chatting over the day’s play. These are comfortable and colorful places that almost always feature lists of past Captains and Club Champions on the walls, perhaps stretching back to the 19th century.
The bar is normally fully licensed, which means that it offers a full range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Beer is quite popular; wine less so. There is always a good selection of malt whiskies and other liquors on the back bar that the bar tender would be happy to pour.
Depending on the size of the club, food may or may not be available to golfers who walk in with no advanced warning. Many of the smaller clubs ask golfers to alert them ahead of time to the fact that they would like lunch served after a round. In many larger clubs, such advanced booking is not necessary. It is a good idea to inquire about this when you are making arrangements for your play.
In all but the smallest clubs, members prepare for play in the locker room. They have lockers in which clothing, rain suits, shoes and clubs are kept. Visitors carry what they need into the locker rooms to prepare. It is generally considered inappropriate to change clothing or shoes in the parking lot. I have found that a small shoe bag is an indispensable piece of equipment for play in Scotland. A good bag not only holds shoes but also a change of socks and underwear for after the round. Most of the middle- to large-sized clubs have showers that are welcome additions to the golfing experience, especially after a cold and blustery day on the course. Towels are typically available as part of your membership privileges.
Changing at least your shoes in the locker room before and after your round solves another problem as well. Though very hospitable in general, clubs do not like members or guests wearing golf shoes, metal- or soft-spiked, into their clubrooms. The custom after you finish your round is to go into the locker room, shower if you want, change to your street clothes if you have them but always change your shoes, and then go into the clubroom for your post-round de-briefing. A few of the more exclusive clubs require that you wear a jacket into the clubroom but this is rare. By contrast, in all clubrooms, courtesy requires that you take your hat off before you enter.