Hut of the Month: Evanston Golf Club
The new hut at Evanston Golf Club is about five times the size of their first paddle hut. Member John Watrous said, “One surprise is that the place is packed on Friday and Saturday nights. That wouldn’t (and couldn’t) have happened at the old hut.” With a larger-than-average kitchen and the biggest bar on campus, it is no wonder the new hut has become a welcome gathering place.
After 30 years of hard use, the original hut and courts needed to join the modern times of the 2020s. The club identified a strong interest in cleaning up the west side of the club's campus and greatly improving the member experience. This triggered a new paddle hut, a new cart barn, and a new caddie shack. By adding golf simulators in the new facility, the club retained the interest of its golf members year-round. A great lawn next to the courts, beautiful landscaping, and a new driveway and drop-off circle completed the transformation of the area.
The timeline was remarkably short, given that much of it was done during the pandemic. Design, permitting, and bidding took place in the summer and fall of 2021. The original hut was demolished in January of 2022 and the courts were ready for play by September. The new building opened for diners, drinkers, and drivers in mid-November.
General manager Bryan Palletta said, “There were some procurement delays, mostly due to Covid. The design team, club management, and general contractor were extremely agile and creative, mitigating most issues. The windows and electrical switch gear caused a two-month delay for the hut. However, the courts were ready for the season.”
The new paddle building is a modern interpretation of a traditional Tudor structure, to complement the main clubhouse style. A high, white-beamed ceiling adds light. Watrous said, “One aspect of the design was particularly well thought out. If you are standing outside the hut, the ground surface is 18 inches below the indoor space’s floor. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you are watching the match outside, you won’t block the view of the people inside.”
Director of Racquet Sports Dane Schmidgall said, “We have doubled the number of league teams since 2019 and we have added 100 new players since building the hut.” Overall, a great investment for Evanston Golf Club and another beautiful home for platform tennis in Chicagoland.
Design, Interior Design, and Architect of Record Holabird & Root, Eric Risinger
Interior Design Kadlec Architecture + Design, Donna Gooding
Construction Norcon, Inc., Charles Norwesh