Aug. 29—Winters Run Golf Club in Bel Air celebrated 50 years in operation Saturday with golf, music, food and plain olé fellowship.
The private club, which is spread over 200 acres of former farmland, opened in 1972 and in its 50 years, has seen a number of changes and up-and-down numbers in membership.
"I can't imagine any place else, I've always loved the golf course, loved the people," Steve Martin, who's held the title of club president for 39 years, said. "It's been an interesting 39 years."
Membership has been as high as 400 members, but Martin noted that the number has been trimmed back, simply because more people are playing golf.
"We're full almost every day of the week at this course, we actually have 100 people on our waiting list, which is amazing," Martin said. "We have 380 members."
The course underwent two major renovations last year, dealing with the stream (Winters Run) that runs in and around the course and a complete bunker renovation, headed by board member Bobby McFadden.
"A lot of people love this golf course and they pitch in and help, which is a good thing," Martin said. "You think about the changes in 39 years to Harford County alone and we're just right across the hill from the Bel Air town. It's just been a great place to come out, we're emphasizing families more, we also support three high school teams and we think that's important."
The club suffered serious damage to the facility and the course from a strong thunderstorm in August 2018. The pro shop, offices, outside eating space, inside eating space and the grille area all sustained major damage. The winds picked up part of the back of the building and dropped it on top, including the front entrance.
The course had an official reopening in April 2019.
Dave Bubb served as general manager, assistant pro and head pro over two stints, 1993-2001 and 2006-18.
"It's been up and down, depending on what the industry was. Late 90s we were booming and in 2012 we took a nose dive because of the economy in 2008," Bubb said. "The biggest change came in 2001 when the membership bought the club. We had a board of directors that was active and that was a significant change."
Had the membership not stepped up, the course would have likely fallen to a golf management company.
"It wouldn't have been the same club, so the members stood up and grabbed it and sacrificed. Bought the place basically from the majority stockholders, 'Saved it,' is the words they like to use," Bubb said. "So, it pretty much stayed the same kind of, I won't say mom-and-pop, but family-oriented golf course that it's always been and that's always been the goal of the pros and the board to keep it that way."
Bubb, who currently does assistant club-pro work at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace said, "50 years old and you're looking great."
Part of Saturday's celebration included a member tournament. Four-person teams, counting two best balls per hole, battled for top low gross and low net prizes as well as closest to pin opportunities for women (No. 5) and men (No. 15).
When play was done, Matt Lindquist, Gary King, Chris Demetrakis and Mike Varlotta shot a blistering 129 for low gross. Judi Short, Nancy Martin, Cecil Martin and Ken Schertle won low net with a total of 118. Frank Brocius, Jim De Vack, Ted Daniecki and Stanley Rote were second with a low net of 123.
Two teams netted 127 to tie for third. They were foursome Al Conklin, Hugh McCarthy, Kevin Bradley and Tim Criss, while the other team, a threesome, were Lynne Padussis, Barb Solberg and Kathy Thacker.
Jo Campbell (8 feet) won the women's CTP, while Fred Buckel (7 feet, 5 inches) won the men's.