Fire guts iconic Gaborone Golf clubhouse

In flames: The Gaborone Golf Club club house on Sunday
In flames: The Gaborone Golf Club club house on Sunday

Gaborone Golf Club’s clubhouse was engulfed by fire for three hours on Sunday, razing the iconic 48-year-old structure to the ground.

A faulty plug is suspected to have caused the fire within a thatched bar, with the blaze later ripping through the restaurant and into parts of a golf equipment shop.

A Mmegi newscrew that arrived at about 2:40pm, found one Gaborone City Council water truck on the scene.  However, the truck was unable to release water for more than 15 minutes due to a technical problem.

A golf club security officer said the fire started at around 2:15pm with the explosion of a plug, before quickly spreading.

“I tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher, but it became more powerful. I then warned golfers to move their cars away from the burning clubhouse.

“I also proceeded to call the Fire Department,” he said.

Botlhe Jokwe, an eyewitness, said the Fire Department’s response was disappointing, as they had arrived late at the scene.

For a period during the blaze, the water trucks at the scene ran out of supplies and had to await back up.  A third truck arrived at 3:00pm and the fight against the blaze was won at 5:00pm.

The Mmegi newscrew visiting the scene yesterday found smoke still visible within the remains of the clubhouse.

Everything within the bar and restaurant was reduced to ashes, while some of the stock in the golf equipment shop was saved. A manager and some employees were also busy ensuring that the fire had indeed been put out.

The clubhouse was designed by Peter Harrison in 1967 and built by Derek Beesley.

It enjoyed strong social attendance over the years, with the golf course hosting the BGU Independence Trophy for 44 years, the Zone 6 internationals three times, the Botswana Open over 20 times and the Sunshine Tour FNB numerous times.

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