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Editorial:

Clubhouse is a nice addition to community

January 10, 2009

There has been contention — and there may be more in the coming months — over whether Burbank’s recent $9.4-million upgrade of the DeBell Golf Club was worth it during tough economic times.

Whether the project, which the City Council greenlighted in 2007, was worth it financially may be up to debate, but one thing is certain: The remodeled Craftsman-style DeBell clubhouse is a marked improvement.

What was once a windowless, dark, dingy clubhouse circled by several dozen sloppily parked golf carts is now a handsome, modern structure featuring a slick mix of glass, rock and wood.

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The only two drawbacks, on the exterior, are a lack of parking and the route to the front door of the restaurant if you’re not coming off the greens. Walking from street parking necessitates walking around the building and leaving a sidewalk altogether and is just a bit awkward. But once up the stairs, visitors are greeted by a patio that wraps around the building and an open, inviting feeling with lots of windows and dark wood, as well as tables and chairs nicely spaced for taking in the view.

Inside, the restaurant is twice the size of the old one. Windows allow views of the course from three directions instead of the single original one. A glass panel divides the restaurant with a slider that can be closed off for private parties or meetings. The original combination restrooms/locker rooms have been modernized and tastefully decorated.

There are two small drawbacks to the restaurant as well. One is the acoustics, which make it difficult sometimes to carry on a conversation when more than a dozen people are in the room. And the menu is almost entirely meat-based, which makes it a tough dining destination for vegetarians or vegans.

Aesthetically speaking, though, the new DeBell clubhouse is a wonderful addition to the community. Word of mouth should help encourage out-of-towners to stop by and see the new facility. Perhaps it will entice those who live here to get in a round more often.

At least that was the hope of city officials when the clubhouse opened its doors Monday. New City Manager Mike Flad called it “a beautiful facility that we can be proud of,” while noting that the previous structure, in his opinion, was an “embarrassment.”

One Burbank resident, weighing the cost of the clubhouse against its possible benefit for the community, simply said, “I hope it works.” And we wish DeBell luck, too, even in less than perfect times.


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