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Augusta National clubhouse is home to National treasures

The Inside Story
February 16, 2012 - 4:43 pm
The clubhouse at Augusta National Golf Club.  File/Staff
File/Staff
The clubhouse at Augusta National Golf Club.
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By John Boyette |

It's the most recognizable landmark in American golf. From the veranda, you can peer down Magnolia Lane and overlook Founders Circle, which pays tribute to Masters Tournament co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts.

On the inside, the permanent Masters Trophy and an oil painting by President Eisenhower are just some of the golf treasures that fill the well-appointed rooms.

Welcome to the Augusta National Golf Club clubhouse, a structure that was built in 1854 to serve as the home of indigo plantation owner Dennis Redmond.

The three-story building is believed to be the first concrete house built in the South. The walls were 18 inches thick, but several cracks were evident after a large earthquake that originated in Charleston, S.C., in the late 1800s.

Baron Louis Berckmans, a Belgian horticulturist, purchased the 365-acre property in 1857. He and his son, Prosper Julius Alphonse, soon formed a partnership and established Fruitland Nurseries.

By the time Jones and Roberts discovered the property in 1931, the charter for the nursery had long expired, but the clubhouse and the land that would become the most famous golf course in the world were still waiting to blossom.

Several changes have been made to the structure in the 76 years since Jones bought the property. Those include the addition of the Trophy Room and kitchen in 1946; construction of the golf pro shop in 1953; and the addition of a Grill Room in 1962. Most recently, the Grill Room and locker room were remodeled in 2003.

The clubhouse history

1854: The structure is built as the home of indigo plantation owner Dennis Redmond.

1857: Belgian horticulturist baron Louis Berckmans purchases the property.

1858: Berckmans and his son, Prosper Julius Alphonse, establish Fruitland Nurseries. Many trees and plants are imported from abroad.

1883: Baron Louis Berckmans dies.

1886: A Charleston, S.C., earthquake leaves several cracks in the building's concrete walls.

1910: Prosper Julius Alphonse dies.

1918: The nursery isn't in operation when its charter expires.

The 1930's forever changed the property.

1930: Bobby Jones wins the Grand Slam and retires from competitive golf.

1931: Jones and his group purchase the property for $70,000, and golf course construction begins; local architect Willis Irvin is hired to design the clubhouse.

1934: The first Augusta National Invitation Tournament is held in March.

1938: The clubhouse is renovated (new floors, roof, stairways) for $50,000.

1946: The trophy room and kitchen are added.

1953: The golf pro shop is constructed.

1962: The grill room is built

1978: The Champions Locker Room is created.

2003: The grill room and members' locker room are remodeled.

Sources: Augusta National Golf Club; The Making of the Masters: Clifford Roberts, Augusta National, and Golf's Most Prestigious Tournament, The Story of the Augusta National Golf Club.