An article published in the sports section of the town’s newspaper appealed for community support to help reverse a slide that has brought membership to under 100. The 89-year-old club in the town of 10,000, where Clinton was born and spent his early boyhood, once had a membership of 300.
Former President Bill Clinton has supported many golf and country clubs around the world through his love of playing golf. It now appears that the 89-year-old country club in Hope, Ark., where Clinton was born and spent his early boyhood (and where his childhood home is now a National Parks site), could use any support he might be able to provide, in order to survive.
The sports section of the Hope Star, which serves the town of 10,000, recently included an article, under the headline “Long-Running Hope Country Club Seeking Membership to Continue Service for Community,” that appeared to have been published primarily as a promotional effort and as an appeal to help the club avoid having to close because of dwindling membership, by emphasizing its long history of community involvement.
The article in the Star read:
“Since 1929, Hope Country Club (HCC) [has been] one of the longest existing running country clubs in southwest Arkansas with an 18-hole golf course to serve its community. The club is currently requesting to fulfill and build up [its] membership, to continue its longtime tradition to stand as one of the most quality country clubs in Arkansas.
“In the past, HCC has built up its membership to around 300 members with access to enjoy playing golf anytime with quality maintenance kept in good conditions. Now, membership numbers have decreased in recent years with currently around 90 members.
“Currently longtime member Jim Meador, who dedicates a lot of valuable time to seeking needs and service of work at the country club, said the country club provides a family-oriented environment and is a service to the community. With the increase of membership, Meador commented that current facilities can be enhanced such as the tennis courts [and] swimming pool, along with the opportunity for more additional venues for recreation.
“Meador also mentioned that HCC has banquet rooms and has been welcome to the public to host reunions, family parties and functions, weddings and wedding receptions, as well as other events.
“With a membership, the 18-hole course will be open to play at anytime, as well as fishing by the lake. It’s been a very safe environment and atmosphere for many years and one of the few 18-hole golf courses in southwest Arkansas.
“The HCC golf course has been a very important, useful facility to host a variety of charity tournaments such as Rely for Life, Junior Auxiliary and the United Way in recent years. It has hosted tournaments to help raise money to welcome numerous teams and players from the entire state of Arkansas, as well as Louisiana and other states to showcase talents on the course.
“HCC hosts a 2-man Scramble and 2-man Shamble golf tournaments. It’s also a part of the watermelon festival event by hosting the Watermelon 4-Ball, which has featured over 70 teams that’s been very successful for a long time.
“Meador said, ‘This tournament has drawn a really nice number of participation to compete. The money raised from the tournament goes to help with the country club’s facilities.’
“[HCC has also] been a service to be the playing and practice site for high school golf teams such as Hope, Spring Hill, Blevins and Garrett Memorial Christian School. These schools have had the opportunity to welcome several well- established golf programs to play each year, that’s featured some of the top players in the state to compete and keep a high profile of performance by playing on a well-kept course.
“Hope, Spring Hill and Garrett Memorial all have hosted successful district tournaments at HCC in past years and been valuable to all teams for matches held during its golf season.
“For over 20 years, Hope High School’s golf program has hosted its annual Bobcat Scramble at HCC, with quality participation that’s helped to raise funds for their golf teams and provide a comfortable playing and practice environment on its 18-hole course.
“The club’s golf course covers about 164 acres, with three professional workers that keep the maintenance up and ready at all times for any event, match or tournament to serve its purpose.
“ ‘It’s a nice golf course and it’s am important part to the community. We always want to keep a family atmosphere and environment and just have a good and nice place to come and get together and socialize,’ Meador said.
“HCC is closed on Mondays and open Tuesday-Saturday, with hours that vary depending on seasons.
“If interested for membership, there’s a special currently going on for $75 a month for a full first year. Social and Junior membership is $50 a month.
“For more information or requesting membership to join or host an event at the HCC, please contact Jim Meador.”