Bainbridge Country Club seeing new efforts for revitalization

Published 3:58 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mike Harrell, accompanied by a group of board members and others representing the Bainbridge Country Club came to Rotary Tuesday and told of the changes and on-going improvements happening at the club.

Harrell shared a bit of history, saying the club was started in 1921 and had been a great course and source of many memories over the years. Then things began to decline. Club membership dwindled from a record 450 to 118. The greens and grounds deteriorated, the club was in debt and the interest in golf dwindled. A special meeting was called in 2017 to consider closing the club come January 1, 2018.

Instead, the decision was made to recapitalize, and by the end of 2017 a group of 62 investors had raised $750,000.

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A new entity named the Bainbridge Country Club, LLC was born April 1, 2018, and a new vitalized group of board members was acquired. There are currently 155 members and growing. Harrell reported there is now an operating budget that reflects a positive cash flow, zero debt, and cash reserve in the bank.

A drone video was shown of the club taken during winter before all the improvements began. Also on the video were spokespersons who shared their memories of the club and what it means to them. Among those were: Thad Pettyjohn, who first joined the club at age 13. Johnny Grimsley became a member when he returned to Bainbridge in 1970. Elizabeth Simmons was shown speaking about the tennis courts where she played. After the video it was announced by Dr. Jon McRae that the old tennis courts have been taken down and three new soft clay courts are to be constructed beginning in November, to be ready by February.

Glen Heard was given credit for providing better care of the grounds, using the right chemicals for weed control, and use of new equipment. Rob McRae spoke of how much improved the greens are now than what they were six months ago.

McRae also talked about current and upcoming golf events including Thursday nite Twilight Golf beginning at 6 p.m.; various fundraisers, including the Sept. 28 Alzheimer’s Golf tourney sponsored by Edward Jones.

More important to the future of the course will be the start next summer of golf lessons and an introduction of Junior Golf. Rob spoke of his youth playing golf and bonding with his father on the golf course.

Kim Mills, chairperson of the social side of the club spoke of the redecorating that has occurred inside, along with an updated kitchen manned by a full-time chef.

They currently offer Sunday Buffet two times a month and regularly offer lunch Tuesday through Saturday. They have begun First Friday meals with live music, and football followers can spend Saturdays at the club watching and cheering the games with their friends.

The Chamber of Commerce Business after Hours will be at the club this Thursday evening, and all are welcome to attend and get a tour to see the changes. Fall offers  a Halloween costume party, Fall Fest, Christmas parties, and a wine tasting event. As usual, they offer the facility for wedding receptions and parties.

Jon McRae, who is in charge of the membership drive, spoke of what it has meant to him through the years and how they have hired a good pro. “If you aren’t a member, you’re missing out,” he said, mentioning several levels of membership available.

Harrell closed the presentation by saying the club will celebrate 100 years in 2021, and all board members are working hard to make the club a place to celebrate and create new memories.