(Pictured: Copake CC)
At a time when some golf courses and clubs continue to lose out to redevelopment, and more new businesses fail than succeed, it’s refreshing to celebrate properties that have been around for 100 years.
I was recently talking to another parent at my son’s baseball game when he brought up the fact that his club—Chagrin Valley Country Club in Chagrin Falls, Ohio—was celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2021.
Funny thing, I told him: I knew about that, because I had interviewed Chagrin Valley’s General Manager/Director of Golf, Mike Heisterkamp, as part of our “The Road Back/The Road Ahead” video series (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/how-four-ohio-clubs-celebrate-a-shared-golf-heritage/). Chagrin Valley, along with three other Cleveland-area clubs—Lakewood Country Club, Canterbury Golf Club and Kirtland Country Club—were all formed in the same year and this year created the 1921 Cup—a day-long, annual event that will culminate with the victorious team taking home a traveling trophy and securing bragging rights for the year.
That got me thinking about what was happening 100 years ago and how long ago that really was. After all, the country was in the early years of Prohibition; Warren G. Harding was the President; Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis confirmed the ban of eight players in the Black Sox Scandal; and fast food sprung up with the opening of the first White Castle.
What a time to be alive!
Not to be outdone, the 1921 U.S. Open celebrated its 25th tournament by crowning Jim Barnes as champion— nine strokes ahead of runners-up Walter Hagen and Fred McLeod. Perhaps more notable was that Chick Evans edged 19-year-old Bobby Jones by a single stroke for low amateur. Evans went on to create the Evans Scholarship, which provides qualified caddies with funds for college. Coming full circle, Evans was later awarded the Bob Jones Award—the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
I used to watch the TODAY show with my grandfather. Now would be the time they would go to Willard Scott (or Al Roker in modern times) for the Smucker’s 100-year recognition of Chagrin Valley, Lakewood, Canterbury and Kirtland, to all get their well-deserved spots on the jelly jar. Congratulations!
But they’re not alone. We’ve also seen historic clubs like Copake Country Club in Craryville, N.Y. and The Berkeley Country Club in El Cerrito, Calif. hit the centennial mark in 2021.
For its 100-year birthday, Copake got a well-deserved golf course restoration by architect Mark Fine. Fine’s mission was to preserve, protect and promote the strategic Golden Age features that Devereux Emmet (the original architect) left behind.
“The long history of Copake demanded that respect be paid to this era of design,” Fine says.
Like many clubs, Copake was almost lost to a real estate developer that was planning to purchase the land for the construction of some 400 townhomes. In 2006, an initiative led by local resident Jon Urban saved the historic course from destruction and preserved its legacy.
At a time when some golf courses and clubs continue to lose out to redevelopment, and more new businesses fail than succeed, it’s refreshing to celebrate properties that have been around for 100 years. While the “COVID bump” won’t last forever, it has provided a much-needed boost for the industry.
Congratulations to the clubs that hit the century mark in 2021, and best wishes for the properties looking to celebrate landmark anniversaries in the years to come. Here’s to 100 more years of health and prosperity!