When the Donald Ross Society visited the Brunswick Country Club in Brunswick, GA a couple of years ago the Club was at a crossroads. The golf course built by Donald Ross as a WPA project in 1938 had deteriorated and with it the membership. In the early 1950’s the Club was purchased from the municipality and the membership had some very good years. In recent years the membership waned and with it the ability to maintain the facility in good order. There just was not enough money to run an upscale show.
The greens at Brunswick were at the center of the problem. Over the years the combination of excess inorganic top dressing and circular mowing had shrunk the surfaces less than half their original sizes. The Club did not have the cash to redo the greens and could not grow their membership.
By late 2005 a group of members put together a plan. They approached the Davis Love Design Group to consider restoring the course. Davis and his brother Mark have strong ties to BCC. They live on Sea Island but both preferred to practice at their old high school venue, Brunswick Country Club. The scope and the cost of the work was discussed and agreed upon. Then the members went to 10 local banks and asked them to send a representative to a meeting concerning the future of the Club. At that meeting the Club Directors got all of the banks to participate in a community effort to reestablish the old club.
The Club got right to work. By March of this year the membership rolls had fallen to 138. They hired Dan Hogan from another local cub to recruit members. The initiation fee was raised to $ 10,000.00 assist in paying for the restoration project. By mid December the membership has grown to 230. As of January 1, 2007 the initiation will be raised to $ 15,000.00 and Hogan expects that quite a few more will join before the increase.
The remake of the Club includes the razing of the old clubhouse (a truly unseemly 1950’s emporium) to be replaced by a utile 15,000 square foot building under which the carts will be kept.
The Love Design group is taking their task to heart. Using the 1938 green and fill pad drawing are being used to core out and restore the greens. The greens that were shaped by the time of the Ross Society visit were spot on to plan. The greens had been cored out to about a foot below the original grade and drains were built into the old push up greens. The work will continue until the reopening which should occur in the fall of next year. From what could be observed by this scribe I would say that this project should work out exceptionally well. John MacKenzie, VP of the Love design group told me that the Love Group is being meticulous in sticking to the 1938 plans.
The Donald Ross Society wishes the Brunswick Country Club the best of luck with rebuilding their membership and position in the golf society in the southern Georgia area.
Kudos are due to Dan Hogan for his ingenuity and tenacity in building the membership and to the Davis Love Design Group (Mark and Davis Love, Paul Cowley and John MacKenzie) for their care and attention to this classic Ross design. Another hooray is reserved for the members of Brunswick who concocted and carried out this plan and to the ten banks that believe n Donald Ross and their community.