Fitzgerald Country Club, or FCC will always hold a special place in my heart. It is there that I formed many great friendships and grew to love the game of golf. It is where I converted myself from a baseball player into a golfer through years of practice and hard work eventually winning two Club Championships in 2005 and 2006. I spent a good part of my twenties playing golf at FCC and hanging out at the club with a great group of guys of all ages. You could always find a good match with golfers of all calibers and you could even feed your gambling side if need be on most days. Sadly, that time has passed and FCC is no longer here. The doors closed two years ago and a void has been created in the lives of us that so enjoyed what FCC had to offer.
I am NOT a Country Club pretty boy. In fact FCC could hardly even be called a Country Club by most people's standards. More than one person referred to FCC as a bar with 9 holes posing as a country club. It is hard to argue with them because for the most part, that is what we were. Sure we tried to have an occasional family event, but most of those were not successful due to lack of participation. FCC was a golfers club where the most important things to most members were golf, gambling, and cold beer in the cooler. Little did we know that this was a recipe for disaster. As the times changed and more and more families were leaving the Country Club scene, FCC found itself hanging on by a thread for a number of years until one day the doors had to be closed due to lack of funds to keep paying the bills. That was a very sad day! No longer do the boys gather at 12:00 on Saturday to divide up teams and make their bets. No longer do the boys play an emergency nine that ends with the last player putting on the last green with car headlights lighting the surface. No longer do the boys hang out in the snack bar watching football games and telling lies about the day's round. No longer does the laughter ring out through the tall Georgia Pines that lined the fairways of Old FCC. But there is hope!!!!
I was on the board of directors of FCC when the decision was made to close the doors. I was also a stock holder in FCC Inc. We had an unusual situation where we could no longer generate the cash flow needed to run the business, but we were very heavy in assets. We sold the property to a private investor whom we were sure would turn our beloved golf course into some type of commercial development. He sat on the property for a while and then decided to step way out on a limb. He is bringing FCC back! His plans include a totally renovated club house and improvements to the existing golf course. The new clubhouse is almost complete and looks incredible. The town is buzzing with the thought of an upscale restaurant and modern entertainment venue. All of us golfers are just excited to have a place to play again. He has made a huge investment in our community and I hope the community will reinvest in this new club. I think the community has taken one step to insure its success already. Yesterday we passed a referendum that allows for liquor to be bought by the drink. You may remember me writing about it here. This will be a nice revenue source for a new club and may encourage people to join a new club knowing that they will have a nice restaurant and bar in which they can enjoy a cocktail. Fitzgerald deserves a nice place and I think they are getting one with this new venture!
This will not be the old FCC! In fact I understand that the new owner is going with a completely new name for the place. He wants this to be a family club and intends to have tennis courts and swimming pools as well as host all civic clubs and social functions. He has built this club for the people of Fitzgerald and I hope that it will be well received and well used. I know I look forward to playing a little more golf and having a place to take my son to learn the game. I'm sure all of my friends feel the same way.
The clubhouse and restaurant is set to open after the first of the year. The golf course will hopefully open in the spring. It can't get here soon enough for me. I'm ready to get back into golf, find my game again and have some fun with the boys. It is my goal to win another club championship or have a dang good time trying!
So I wish the best for the new FCC, even though it will never be the old FCC! That is a good thing!