Cedar Hills Golf Course
We are an 18-Hole public/private course that first opened to play as a 9-hole course in July, 1967
Our public/private nature orginates in our founding and initial funding through FHA loans and the requirements to maintain certain membership levels. So our course is open to play by everyone but residents of Lee County, Virginia, the county in which we exist, are only elidgeable to play three times per membership year without becoming members themselves.
The people in Lee County have always had an interest in many sports, including golf. Before there was a golf course at Cedar Hill, they had to travel to Big Stone Gap, VA; Rogersville, TN; Harlan, KY or Kingsport, TN to play golf.
A group of citizens in Lee County saw a need for this type of recreational facility and formed the Lee County Recreational Center, Inc. In the beginning, this group named trustees to conduct the business needed to form this organization. The trustees were: Clyde Y. Cridlin, John Laningham, R.C. Shelton, J.K. Newman, Tom B. Fugate, W.R. Hines, Arnold Lowry and Harry Rowlett.
The John Fitts farm in the Wesley Chapel Community was purchased on April 26, 1963, and an application for a loan was made through FHA by the Trustees.
The first officers and Board of Directors were approved on June 16, 1964. Those elected to serve as directors were Clyde Y. Cridlin, Tom B. Fugate, R.C. Shelton, John W. Laningham and J.K. Newman. The Officers elected were John W. Laningham, President; R.C. Shelton, Vice-President; J.K. Newman, Secretary and Treasurer.
The FHA loan for $125,000 was approved on July 2, 1964. The Board approved Beeson and Beeson, Architects of Abingdon, VA to prepare plans for the club house on December 31, 1964.
The architects were to prepare a master plan showing the swimming pool, golf course and club house layout. These plans were approved on April 1, 1965. The project was let to bid and bids were opened on April 20, 1965. The bids received were over budgeted funds; therefore, the Board had to make many changes and modifications to the plans. After many discussions with contractors and with the architects, the Directors were able to accept a bid for $78,820 from Chapman Brothers of Gate City, VA for the swimming pool and club house on January 31, 1966. A bid of $28,000 was accepted on the golf course from Estes Brothers Construction of Jonesville, VA for labor, with the Club furnishing the materials. Approval was given in May, 1966 for the construction of the golf course to begin by Estes Brothers.
The club house and swimming pool was turned over to the club by the contractor on January 13, 1967. The swimming pool opened to members on June 22, 1967. The nine-hole course was opened for play on July 15, 1967. There were fifteen players on the first day of play and twenty-four players on the second day.
The dream and planning of a group of Lee County citizens had finally became a reality. One of the major reasons this project was successful was that the Membership Committee was able to meet the FHA membership requirements of 150 members in order to gain approval of the loan.
Throughout the years, play on the golf course increased to a point that it became a problem during the weekends. The Board of Directors began plans to add nine holes to the original nine-hole course. They were aware this would be a major project and the club still had a major loan outstanding on the original project for the clubhouse, tennis courts and golf course.
A 16-acre tract of land north of the club?s property became available and the Board decided this could be used for future development of the additional nine holes. The approved the purchase on June 5, 1978.
The years passed with each board trying to find funding for the new nine holes. On March 26, 1986, the board was given a report of the new course addition by Johnny Myers. They discussed the locations available and the committee members: Johnny Myers, Benny Sergent, Lewis Oatts and Lannie Gilbert set about collecting further information. They talked with Harry Rowlett about his property located to the west of the club?s existing golf course. After many meetings and much discussion the Board agreed to the purchase on May 27, 1986. The Board was greatly assisted in this process by the club pro, Shannon Evans.
Immediately after the purchase the Board began planning for the building and funding of the new back nine-holes. Mr. Horace Smith, a golf course contractor, was contacted by Shannon Evans; Mr. Smith then came and discussed his program and the cost of construction with our membership. After reviewing other courses constructed by Mr. Smith, the Board agreed to hire Mr. Smith on October 6, 1986.
The enthusiasm of the Board and the membership was at all times high for this project. Methods for funding the project were discussed at every meeting. Under the leadership of Benny Sergent, President and George Cridlin, Vice-President and Finance Chairman, the Board agreed to request donations from local businesses and the membership to help fund this particular project. Many local businesses donated grading equipment or materials, while others donated money. Individual members of the club donated time, labor and/or money. Needless to say, without the donations from both businesses and individuals, the club could not have funded this project without taking on loans and incurring indebtedness for a number of years. Through the efforts of Shannon Evans, Club Pro, who supervised and helped with the construction, this project was an overwhelming success.
A Grand Opening was held on April 14, 1989 for the full eighteen-hole course with 100 people playing in scramble-type play, followed by a dinner in recognition of the donors who contributed to the project.
This brief history was adapted from a document originally prepared from Board of Directors Minutes by: John P. Hughes, August 26, 1992.
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