Employees of the club say the property hasn’t changed much in the past 100 years, offering a family-oriented facility with a nine-hole golf course. “It’s easy to get up in the morning and come to a place where it’s just a big family,” says Golf Professional Allen Brown.
After 100 years, not much has changed at Woodstock (Ill.) Country Club’s golf course, and golf professional Allen Brown doesn’t expect much to change in the future, the Crystal Lake, Ill., Northwest Herald reported.
Brown and Clubhouse Manager and Executive Chef Teresa Jaramillo Ryan said the family club and nine-hole golf course is a place where anyone can come and play if they’re looking for a challenge, or just to enjoy themselves, the Herald reported.
“We’re going to continue to work to be able to maintain that, but we’re not going to change and try and be something that we’re not,” Brown said. “We are what we are, and everybody here embraces that.”
Brown said when the golfing industry got into a trend of making courses longer and harder every year, Woodstock Country Club stayed the same. The 58-acre course, designed by Scotsman Tom Bendelow, is unique for the area because it has rolling terrain, Brown said. Golfers can play nine holes or 18, with second tees set up that give the course a different feel, the Herald reported.
While some bunkers and trees have been added and taken away in the past 100 years, the tees, greens and fairways are, for the most part, in the same spot, Brown said. This is Brown’s 20th year working as the golf professional at the club, and the Woodstock native said the family atmosphere and his love for the job are what’s kept him around, the Herald reported.
“It’s easy to get up in the morning and come to a place where, again, it’s just a big family,” Brown said. “And it’s being appreciated. I think it’s easy to work hard for people that appreciate what you’re doing.”
Being a part of everything from weddings to graduation parties to baby showers makes Jaramillo Ryan feel as if she’s a part of the members’ family, too. She even met her husband at the club about a year after she started working as a busser when she was 15 years old, the Herald reported.
“You become ingrained in the people that not only are members here, but that also work here,” she said.
The club, which first opened May 19, 1916, has about 200 members and is member-owned, Jaramillo Ryan said. That’s something that she said contributes to the club’s identity, the Herald reported.
“We’ve always just been here for the people and there are so many families and generations that carry this place, it sort of sets a precedence in the same way that like a big close family does,” she said. “No matter what, you feel the support and you feel the love, whether it’s good times or bad, and it just carries through. There’s a sense of comfort and belonging, I think.”
Jaramillo Ryan said part of what keeps people coming back is the variety of the course, which can be treacherous but forgiving, and clubhouse dining, which can be casual or formal. Part of the original clubhouse, which was a farmhouse, is still intact, she said, but the building has been added on to at almost every side over the years, the Herald reported.
Events are planned for members to celebrate the club’s 100th throughout the year, and for the next 100 years, Jaramillo Ryan said she hopes the club can maintain its identity and grow membership, the Herald reported.