Content and Images Courtesy: Country Club of Sapphire Valley, and Mr. Gene Howerdd, Jr.
In the early seventies, the inn, golf course and some acreage were sold to Realtec, Inc., a Palm Beach, FL developer. They sold the property to Certain-Teed Corp. There was a management buyout by Certain-Teed management after the recession of 1974 who subsequently sold to Fairfield Communities, Inc of Arkansas. In 1972, the original clubhouse burned to the ground and was rebuilt the following year. Howard Dunn was president of the first Board of Directors, formed in 1975
During H. Clay Davis’ tenure as president in 1981, the members began negotiations to purchase the Club and its facilities. There were 125 Golf Equity and 45 Social Members. By 1983, CCSV had become a private country club. The first Ladies’ Guest Day was held with an entry fee under $25. A Membership Committee was formed and liquor lockers were installed. Later in the eighties, an irrigation system, a Men’s Grill, Ladies’ Lounge and General Manager’s office were added. The tennis courts were built in 1989, bringing a whole new dimension to the facilities. The nineties saw many improvements to the golf course, the cornerstone of which was the reconstruction of the greens to USGA specifications. The clubhouse was improved and a wine and beer license acquired. It was the advent of membership marketing. The Club obtained a liquor license and, two years later, eliminated brown bagging. Social and tennis memberships were combined into a Clubhouse Membership.
The millennium was accompanied by new thoughts and aspirations. The finest and friendliest club around was bursting at the seams! After much soul searching, the members concluded that a major expansion was necessary. It was decided to do it, and do it right. The golf course received new cart paths and tees. An excellent practice facility greeted returning members in 2004. Unfortunately, the golf course was devastated by three hurricanes and over 40 inches of rain in one month! Due to the Herculean effort of our dedicated staff and crew, only 15 days were lost. A Hard Hat Party celebrated the opening of a state-of-the-art fitness center, pool and tennis complex.
The old clubhouse was demolished on Dec. 6, 2004.
Our magnificent 32,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, offering a variety of dining rooms, covered porches, a multi purpose banquet room and a kitchen worthy of our award winning chef, debuted in May to rave reviews. In June, 325 festive guests attended the Grand Opening Gala. Shoppers were treated to a fully equipped Pro Shop, and a modern fleet of golf cars traveled the fairways. Golfers welcomed a challenging new putting green. The golf course nines, which were reversed in 1961, returned to their original configuration. In September of 2005, members approved phase one of the LRGC master plan, maintenance facilities improvement program, and bylaws revisions. A major milestone marked 2006… Our Fiftieth Golden Anniversary, and we celebrated with a lavish party! The following year, golfers reveled in the beautifully renovated course, our pride and joy! An Interest Group Program was introduced to accommodate the rapidly growing number of Clubhouse Members and to broaden the scope of our Club life.
Our superb greenskeepers received a new Golf Course Maintenance Facility in 2013, and Croquet became a popular addition to our roster.
On the expansive deck, we bask in the warmth of friends who truly care about one another. We survey all of these marvelous accomplishments and delight in the fact that we are a part of this most special, magical place.
By Susie Ryan, Member
When Gene Howerdd, Sr. saw the verdant Sapphire Valley, bordered by rocky mountain vistas and laced with crystal trout streams, he knew he had found the perfect site for a level, cool, and breathtakingly beautiful golf course.
The then retired Executive of Georgia Pacific and member of Augusta National, and his wife Katie, purchased a 2,000 acre tract that the golf course is on and a 6,000 acre tract that had an inn and a 200 acre lake on it.
The inn was renamed Sapphire Valley Inn and together with the golf course was referred to as The Sapphire Valley Inn and Golf Course. The year was 1954.
The renowned architect, George Cobb, was commissioned to design the golf course, and 100 friends were invited to join “The Club”…. for $2,000.
and Sapphire Valley Resort