- This event has passed.
ROTARY MEETING: Stan Byrdy, History of Golf in Aiken
September 13, 2021 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
The game of golf got its start in the Southeastern United States in 1892 on four holes with sand greens at Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken, South Carolina. Within five years, Palmetto had expanded to eighteen holes and the first nine-hole course in neighboring Augusta, Georgia was designed at the Hotel Bon Air. For half a century, the Augusta-Aiken area flourished as the winter destination of choice for the rich, famous, and powerful in America. Presidents Taft, Harding, and Eisenhower vacationed here. Baseball great Ty Cobb bought a home in Augusta’s quaint Summerville neighborhood.
It was here that Bobby Jones began the improbable journey towards a Grand Slam, then built his dream golf course. By the turn of the century, winter tourism and grand resort hotels in the Augusta-Aiken area were well established. A favorable winter climate and easy rail access drew vacationers to Highland Park Hotel (1866), Willcox Hotel (1898), and Park in the Pines (1900) in Aiken; Hotel Bon Air (1890) and Partridge Inn (1913) in Augusta; and Hampton Terrace Hotel and Golf Club (1903) in North Augusta. Resorts in Florida and the growth of the air travel industry later coupled to mark the area’s decline in winter tourism, but not before Augusta-Aiken’s place in golf history was secure. In this unique volume, vintage images and accompanying text recall the unfo rgettable legends, the meticulously maintained courses, and all of the grandeur associated with the game.