New ownership of the former Galion Country Club are planting the seeds for the property to bloom in 2017.
It’s a period of transition for the 90-year-old private club after Annie Carter and her mother, Juanita, purchased the 143-acre facility for about $700,000. The property features an 18 hole golf course, a driving range, golf shop and club house, fully equipped kitchen, dining area, swimming pool and pool house.
Drivers passing by the course on state Route 309, no longer see the club’s sign hanging from its brick post. General Manager Mark Barrier said he took the sign down, while working with a company to design a replacement that will feature the club’s new name – Sycamore Creek Golf Course.
“It’s hard to name something,” Annie said.
The country club was renamed Sycamore Creek Golf Course in honor of Annie’s late father, Tom Carter. Annie got the name from the pasture located across the county line where the creek feeds into that property. Tom was a member of the country club, where he used to golf.
“All of our family were members at one point,” said Annie, president of Hydranamics Inc. of Carter Machine Co. in Galion. “We use to have nice times here in the summer when I was young.”
The Carter family had several reasons to purchase the country club including that the farm is connected to property.
Additionally, the family acquired the course to improve the marketing for Carter Machine, which celebrates 75 years in October. Carter Machine employees have also helped improved the landscape of the course and club, Annie said.
The new owners started making visual changes for the private club. The old tennis court will be transformed into a picnic area and the Carters hope to repave the parking lot. The actual club house already has private events scheduled, Annie said, but will be transformed into a restaurant and office facility for functions.
“We are currently searching for a chef or team of chefs who possess the skills to help us execute our vision for the restaurant and picnic area. When we are confident in the quality of our service team and the quality of our food we will open to the public as a restaurant,” Annie said.
The pool will likely not be open until next year, she added, because repairs were more extensive than anticipated when the country club was purchased. When renovated the pool house and the pool will be available to host parties and other functions.
Although the facility will not be solely golf course-driven but will continue to spur interest of the sport with lessons, corporate events, marketing and kids camps.
“Golf is a great game,” she said.
Locals can come out and schedule tee time at the course or sign up for a membership, which can range from $325-$2,000 in price depending on the type of rate.
Former Galion Country Club Board President Jon Scohy recently signed up for a membership at the club.
“Everything is going smooth, no problems,” he said. “The biggest thing is getting it out to the public.”
The club’s transitional period is apparent as the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce decided to have its golf outing at Valley View Golf Course on June 23. Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Kleinknecht said the new owners didn’t have a liquor license for the outing and wasn’t sure if either party could get one in time.
“We currently are not permitted to sell liquor to the public. The license held by the club was not transferable,” Annie said. “Since Washington Township is a dry Township we have to ask permission from the voters in November to allow us to be granted liquor licences. We are hopeful that the issue will pass in November and we will have licenses shortly thereafter. Until that time, there are several options which allow for consumption during private events.”
The club employs about 10 people including Barrier who worked under the previous ownership. He said management of the former club is going through a learning curve with the new owners.
“They get to learn what I do and I get to learn about what they want,” he said.
The Galion Country Club was established in 1926 with 110 members, most of them professional men and merchants. The club had 85 members before it was acquired by the new owners.
As part of the agreement to purchase the country club, the deal calls for property to remain a golf course for three years. Annie said the family has not talked about using the property for anything else.
“We would like it to remain a golf course,” Annie said. “Hopefully the community will support it.”
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.
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