Oakland Hills fire: Fire fighters battle devastating blaze at Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Detroit, US
A devastating fire has torn through Oakland Hills Country Club, inflicting "extensive damage" to the clubhouse at the course famed for hosting the 2004 Ryder Cup. Breath-taking eyewitness videos and images showed the wooden structure, based 15 miles outside Detroit, Michigan; ablaze and engulfed by plumes of black smoke as fire fighters worked to douse the flames on Thursday, 17 February 2022. "At this point, the core of this building right in front of us, is almost a total loss," Bloomfield Township Fire Chief John LeRoy said. "What you see here is the entire centre of the building has sustained extensive damage. Right now the two end wings of the building, we're trying to stop it from extending into those ends of the building. The clubhouse, the restaurant, all of the offices, the kitchen. All of those facilities are directly in the centre of the building."
The roof of the Oakland Hills clubhouse is understood to have collapsed shortly after Fire Chief LeRoy's statement.
Fire officials said the clubhouse was one of the largest wood structures in Michigan. Club president Rick Palmer thanked fire fighters who saved some priceless memorabilia during a “gut-wrenching day.”
'A century of memorabilia lost'
Oakland Hills opened in 1916, has hosted more than a dozen major golf championships, including the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship.
Brad Galli, sports director at Detroit-based TV station WXYZ, said a century of golfing memorabilia had been lost to the flames, as well as any aspirations to host major tournaments in the immediate future.
"Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, you name any golfer that has been relevant over the last century, they have played at Oakland Hills and more than likely had success there," Galli told Sky Sports News.
"This course, which has welcomed many of the biggest names in golf is suffering; the roof has almost completely caved in, there are still pockets of fire in the clubhouse, and the fire hydrants are having a tough time trying to get some of the fire contained. "The course has just undergone $12million of renovation in a bid to land a US Open but this has put a big dampener on those plans. The good news is that everybody onsite is safe, the big disappointment is that a centuries-worth of memorabilia has been lost. Miniature Ryder Cup trophies, autographed photos, clubs that were used by some of the greats of the game, those are just some of the things that have been lost."
The South Course reopened last summer following a $12.1 million restoration, with a goal to bring major championships back to Oakland Hills.
Source: Sky Sports