Country Club of Birmingham

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The Clubhouse in Shades Valley. courtesy BPL Archives
The Country Club of Birmingham is a golf and country club located on 292 acres in a section of Shades Valley drained by Watkins Brook in Mountain Brook. Established in North Birmingham in 1898, the club has moved twice since its foundation. The current club, which opened in 1926, features two 18-hole golf courses designed by Donald J. Ross and a Tudor-style clubhouse designed by Warren, Knight, and Davis.

North Birmingham

The Country Club of Birmingham was founded at Mineral Springs Park in North Birmingham near the terminus of the North Birmingham Streetcar line on September 26, 1898. Its 77 members, led by president Henry Milner, created it as a driving course for their horse-drawn buggies. Later it expanded to accommodate tennis, golfing, baseball, bowling and bicycling.

A one-story clubhouse was constructed to serve as a dining hall and ballroom, with smaller parlors and changing rooms. The first crude golf links in the city was laid out by Robert Baugh with 9 tin-cans sunk into small scraped-down "greens" in an unimproved half-acre meadow adjoining the country club. The then-separate Birmingham Golf Club course opened for play on April 1, 1899. Later that month Baugh demonstrated the novel game for fellow club members (he shot a 58) and can be credited with introducing the pastime to Birmingham.

The club's property in North Birmingham was sold to Dimmick Pipe in 1900. In 1903 the Country Club and Golf Club merged into the present combined organization.

Lakeview

The Clubhouse in Lakeview in 1908

In 1900 the club moved to the site of the former Lakeview Park and Southern Female Institute, anchoring the end of the Lakeview Streetcar line. Club pro Nick Thompson laid out a new 9-hole course on the hilly terrain. Six years later he completed a short front 9 to extend the course to a full 18 holes, now featuring grass instead of sand on the greens. The club members instituted an annual golf tournament and several members rose to prominence in the Alabama Golf Association. The Women's Southern Golf Association held its 1915 tournament at the club. In 1923 female members of the Birmingham Country Club founded their own tournament.

The club's much-larger clubhouse at Lakeview was designed in a rustic arts and crafts style by Miller & Martin. It was opened on April 7, 1904. The low-slung building's deep verandahs shaded numerous elaborate parlors and guest rooms. Notable guests at the club included former president Theodore Roosevelt and former vice president Charles Fairbanks.

Shades Valley

In 1926 the club sold its Lakeview course to the city of Birmingham (which opened it to the public, now the Highland Park Golf Course).

The Country Club moved to a 292-acre parcel of former farm land on either side of Watkins Brook. Noted designer Donald J. Ross was commissioned to create two high-quality golf courses on the property. A new clubhouse, designed by Warren, Knight and Davis, opened in 1927 facing the expansive swimming pool, the terrace of which commanded a sweeping view of both courses.

Professional tour golfer Hubert Green grew up playing the country club course, and won his first Southern Amateur championship their in 1966. In 1976 the clubhouse was used for scenes in the feature film Stay Hungry.

Courses

  • West Course: 6,779 yards, par 71.
  • East Course: 6,016 yards, par 70

Presidents

References

  • Satterfield, Carolyn Green (1999) The Country Club of Birmingham: Centennial History. Birmingham, Alabama: The Country Club
  • Satterfield, Carolyn Green (March 16, 2009) "Country Club of Birmingham." Encyclopedia of Alabama - accessed April 5, 2009

External links

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