The Boone Golf Club is ready to hit the ol’ six-oh.
The club, which was the brainchild of former Boone Mayor Wade Brown, celebrates its 60th birthday on June 13 at the club. A dinner for the members of the club celebrating the event will be held on June 13 at the club’s restaurant. Tom Adams, the head club pro at the Boone Golf Club, said that dinner is being held the same day that the course opened when Brown teed-off and took the first shot in the history of the course.
Brown originally had the idea of building a golf course in 1940 when he approached Appalachian State Teachers College president and founder B.B. Dougherty with the idea. Brown wasn’t so much a golfer as he wanted to improve tourism in the area.
He convinced Dougherty that building a golf course would be helpful for the college since ASTC did not have a home course for its team, which had to play in Lenoir.
Brown also saw the course as a chance to provide Watauga County residents with recreation and attracting summer residents to the area.
Brown and community leaders teamed with golf course architect Ellis Maples to build the course on 200 acres of land south of Boone. Construction began on May 13, 1958 and finished on June 13, 1959.
“Ellis Maples has a really good reputation of being a good course architect,” Adams said.
Local builder Perry Greene added to the course by building the pro shop part of the clubhouse. The rest of the pro shop was built 10 years later when more funding was available.
Through the years, the course went through some major renovations, including a driving range in 2004.
Boone Golf Club has seen some professionals who made it to the PGA Tour. Adams’ brother, Sam Adams, played at Appalachian State and won three events on the PGA Tour. He was the first American-born left-hander to win on the tour.
Local player Jacob Eggers, who plays at the Boone Club, has also played PGA events.
The course has also seen its share of celebrities.
“Billy Graham played here back in the ’60s and in the ’70s when he played golf,” Adams said.
Watauga native and former Miami Dolphins linebacker Bob Matheson brought some of his teammates, including Dolphins coach Don Shula and quarterback Bob Griese to enjoy a few rounds. The three were a part of Miami’s 1972 NFL championship team that finished the season with a 17-0 record and a Super Bowl win over the Washington Redskins.
“Bob Matheson learned how to play golf here,” Adams said. “He would come here when he was playing professional football. He would bring other people who played on that championship team here.”
Adams also said former Appalachian State and longtime Detroit Lions defensive tackle Larry Hand also plays at Boone Golf Club.
Boone Golf Club is also the home course for the Watauga High School girls’ and boys’ golf teams and the men’s and women’s teams at Appalachian State.
Adams said the golf course has received several awards, including a 4 ½ rating out of five from Golf Digest. Adams added that the course has hosted the North Carolina Open.
“It’s a large North Carolina event,” he said. “The golf course also hosted the Blue Ridge Pro-Am.”