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Glen Arven Country Club

A Brief History

Glen Arven - A Brief History
From the forward of the book:
A Centennial History of Glen Arven by Sidney L. Matthew

Who else can claim membership in the select few clubs which have survived at least one hundred years of coninuous existence? Who else can pass the litmus test for greatness: an auspicious founding by distinguished gentlemen, a storied tradition, a noteworthy membership, a superb test of golfing skill designed by a legendary designer, host to important championships, home to world claas champions, and a comfortable gathering place for the companionship of congenial friends? What else could any venerable club ask for?  Glen Arven is truly one for the ages.

There can be no finer venue for a peerless pleasure park than Southwest Georgia, home to the most elegant plantation living found in America. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, gentlemen with a vision for recreation and conservation set aside 72 plantations comprising 300,000 acres which are still intact today.  

These visionaries anticipated the need for a refuge to escape the pressures of the industrial age. Northern industrialists, including J. Wyman Jones, Charles Merrill Chapin, Howard Melville Hanna, John F. Archbold and John Hay "Jock" Whitney, together resolved that a pleasure park, including golf, should be established in Thomasville. These five "unforgettables" established Glen Arven Country Club upon a 300-acre tract of land first purchased by Jones in 1888. The pleasure park became a country club in 1892 and it was eventually incorporated in 1895. Nine rudimentary golf holes with sand greens gave way to a challenging 18-hole revision by noted southeast golf course architect John Van Kleek and his partner, John Stiles, in 1929. Despite the fact that this came at the beginning of the Great Depression, people such as Whitney paved the way as he donated an innovative irrigation system worth thousands of dollars.  

Glen Arven boasts of three U.S. Women's Amateur Champions among its membership through the years - Beatrix Hoyt (1896-1897-1898), Frances Griscom (1900) and homegrown Mary Lena Faulk (1953).  

Important championships played over the years at Glen Arven were highlighted by the six-year visit of the PGA Tour from 1936-1941. Other amateur events of note included the Piney Woods Invitational, The Rose City Classic, three Georgia Women's Amateurs and one Georgia Men's Amateur.  
Among the professional greats competing at Glen Arven were Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, and a host of others. During the research for this book, it was discovered that amateur golfing legend Bobby Jones also played a recreational round of golf at Glen Arven.  
Thomasville and Glen Arven were one of the favorite winter destinations of then President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was at Glen Arven, in 1956, where Ike walked up "Cardiac Hill" on the 18th hole and deemed himself fit to make a second run at the presidency.  
It is for these stories and reasons that Glen Arven and Thomasville played a vital role in America's recreational, political, social, and economic life. Thus, it is little wonder that after a century of sports, Glen Arven's tradition is quite unlike any other in the country ...