James.qxp July August 2018 web - Page 23

began to be chipped away on this project, some objectives became clear. He wanted a course that was aesthetically beautiful and captured the eye. He also wanted a
course that could solve a seemingly impossible task: it
had to satisfy the average golfer and challenge the
expert at the same time.
To Bub’s logical mind, there were three questions to
be answered. First, where to build this golf course?
Second, how to nance it? Third, which of the great
architects of the day would work with him to design it?
Bub always felt that the ideal place to build a golf
course was Augusta. He
knew that the nancial burden would be borne by a
membership that was
national in scope. Many of
those members could be
drawn from the Augusta
area since it was already a
major rail stop for business
leaders who escaped the
northeast during the cold
winter months for Florida.
Many of these potential
members already spent a
large amount of time golng
each winter at such excellent clubs as Palmetto Golf
Club in Aiken, South
Carolina, and Augusta
Country Club. In addition to
a promising membership for
his club, Augusta also had a
great climate for winter golf,
much more so than Bub’s
native Atlanta.
To reach and develop
that membership and to
nance the project, Bub
needed a partner who had
the business savvy that he
had not yet developed. For
that he turned to a new
friend, Clifford Roberts. He was introduced to Roberts
by Tom Barrett, a man who would later be the mayor of
Augusta. Roberts and Bub hit it off beautifully.
Although their relationship would sour and rupture in
later years, at this point they were quite close and committed to building Bub’s golf course and club. Barrett
also introduced the two men to a property that he felt
would be perfect for Bub’s golf course: Fruitlands
Nursery located on Washington Road. For many years,
Fruitlands had been a prosperous nursery and had been
the largest indigo plantation in the country. Some of
the original indigo plants still grow next to the club-
house, which also holds the distinction of being the
oldest poured concrete structure in Georgia. The
Fruitlands property had always had commercial value
and was at one time optioned to Commodore Perry
Stoltz, the owner of the grand Fleetwood Hotel in
Miami Beach. Stoltz’s plan was to build a series of
hotels of equal splendor throughout the southeast, with
one in Lookout Mountain that later became the
Fairyland Club, another in Hendersonville, North
Carolina, and another on Fruitlands in Augusta. When
a hurricane blew the Fleetwood into the sea, Stoltz’s
dreams of a hotel empire
went with it, much to the
relief of rival hotel owners
in Augusta.
That still left the
Fruitlands property vacant.
Barrett brought Roberts and
Bub to see it in the late fall
of 1930. Standing on the
lawn where the big oak
stands today, Bub looked
out over the property and
said, “To think that this
land has been here all this
time waiting for a golf
course to be laid out on it.”
The question remained,
who would build it?
At that time, there
were several major golf
architects in the United
States. One was A.W.
Tillinghast, on whose
Winged Foot golf course
Bub had won the United
States Open in a playoff in
1929 by an incredible
twenty-three shots over Al
Espinosa. Tillinghast’s
designs were formidable
for the expert and intimidating for the average
player. Tillinghast’s philosophy was not ideal for what
Bub had in mind.
Another great architect of the day was Donald
Ross. Ross had redone the East Lake course when Bub
was younger. Bub loved Ross’s style and was instrumental in selecting Ross to develop what is now
Highlands Country Club in Highlands, North Carolina.
A myth has developed that Bub had considered Ross
for the Augusta project but rejected him. Ross was so
continued on page 24
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8


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