By Davina van Buren
Luxurious as it is now, the Men’s Locker Room at Sea Island has humble beginnings. Back in 1927, an old corn barn on the property underwent a renovation, and was transformed into the clubhouse for the Sea Island Golf Club, complete with a men’s locker room. “It was old school, but you could get a little food service or some drinks,” says Brannen Veal, director of golf for Sea Island. “More often than not it was just a locker room, not a hangout.”
In 2001, the 10,000-square-foot Men’s Locker Room at The Lodge was built. “… It has very high open ceilings and large wooden beams that criss-cross the room, providing a very rich and warm feeling,” Veal explains.
And so, the modern, decadent locker room emerged—one that has become an icon in the golf world. Two hundred and forty oak lockers fill the expansive space, which boasts chandeliers and antique artwork housed in elaborate frames. Rich finishes like leather-upholstered chairs and a massive stone fireplace give the enclave a decidedly masculine feel. The new incarnation also features a restaurant, full bar, shoe-shine services, a cigar room, steam room, several high-definition televisions, a porch overlooking St. Simons Sound and a team of dedicated attendants who cater to guests’ and members’ every whim. Around every corner is another plush hangout nook. Thanks to the elegant decor and modern amenities, upon first setting foot inside you might feel as if you were in a gentleman’s private man cave, rather than a locker room.
One person who has witnessed a good part of the evolution is locker room attendant Robert Davis, who has worked at the resort since 1960.
Davis started in the kitchen at Sea Island, then in 1967 moved over to the Sea Island Golf Club, and has worked at The Lodge’s locker room since its inception. Over the years, he’s met thousands of Sea Island guests and members there. He says that some don’t even play golf anymore, they just come to hang out.
“One of the best things we have here [at The Lodge] is our staff and the way we treat people,” Davis says. “People appreciate that. They can go other places that are nice, but they don’t have that Southern hospitality like we do.”
Veal agrees. “People talk about it as a can’t-miss spot when they come here. But even with all the physical components, it wouldn’t be what it is without the human elements. Robert and the other guys here love what they are doing. They make everyone feel like family.”