Meadowbrook Country Club, the first black-owned country club in the Research Triangle area of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C., may be bought by the town of Garner, N.C. from the club’s current owner, St. Augustine’s University, to be converted into practice and playing fields for soccer and baseball.
The town of Garner, N.C. has hired a consultant to study whether a historic African-American golf course could become a park, The News & Observer of Charlotte, N.C. reported, citing a document obtained by the Garner-Cleveland (N.C.) Record.
C&RB reported in May that the fate of the historic course was in jeopardy (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2016/05/10/historic-meadowbrook-cc-future-jeopardy/).
Ronnie Williams, the mayor of Garner, confirmed that the town has re-entered discussions with St. Augustine’s University, which owns Meadowbrook Country Club, about purchasing the property, The News & Observer reported.
“We have a great need for practice fields and playing fields for soccer and baseball,” Williams said. “More than likely, if we purchase the property we’d have to develop it a little bit.”
Williams declined to cite the price tag on the 120-acre country club or whether an offer has been made to St. Augustine’s University, The News & Observer reported
Efforts to reach St. Augustine’s President Everette Ward were unsuccessful, The News & Observer reported
St. Augustine’s had previously reached out to the town earlier this year, but the town turned down its offer. A spokesperson for the school had previously said that the school would not sell the country club.
Less than a mile from the White Oak Shopping Center, where commercial growth has picked up exponentially, the town of Garner has been looking at that area for future growth, The News & Observer reported.
Meadowbrook is outside of the town limits and does not have municipal water and sewer service. It currently runs on wells and septic and tanks.
Founded in 1958, Meadowbrook was said to be the first black-owned country club in the Research Triangle of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C., The News & Observer reported, and some claim it was that first in the country. At that time, The News & Observer noted, blacks were not allowed to play on quality golf courses that were white-owned. So a group of black men wanting to play golf decided to create their own course.
Existing members, a staff person, course players and volunteers say that during the country club’s early years, the only black people who were allowed were teachers, lawyers and doctors – those who made the most money, The News & Observer reported. Eventually it was then opened up to blacks of all socio-economic statuses.
And soon it became a popular place where the all men could golf, the families could cook out, kids could swim, play putt-putt and have a good time, The News & Observer reported.
But over the years, since integration when blacks were allowed to join country clubs owned by whites, memberships to the country club dropped. As a result, the golf-course’s greens turned into brown rough, and the bunkers became filled with weeds.
St. Augustine’s bought the course in 2007. The previous owners wanted to keep it in black-owned hands, The News & Observer reported. But it appears the course has been difficult to keep up.
Today, the course is open for anyone to golf. Volunteers help out and keep up the course, along with staff member Robert Hinton, St. Augustine’s golf coach.
According to an e-mail to town staff, the research and planning for the course will cost about $5,000, The News & Observer reported.