Pine Ridge Country Club was a dream of a small group of golf enthusiast’ years before it became a reality. Although there had been other unsuccessful efforts, it must be said that the present club came from the efforts of a small group who undertook in the course. When it appeared that the effort would not get off the ground, John Peters, Jr., offered to construct a nine-hole golf course in his pasture if the pledge of $50.00 each could be secured from a minimum of thirty members. Dues were $8.00 per month. The minimum number of pledges were soon paid in and construction of the course began in the fall of 1956. Play began in the spring of 1957.
With interest in golf running high and membership in the Club approaching sixty, thoughts of the group turned to making arrangements for some sort of club house and negotiations were entered into for both a new golf course and club house closer to town and negotiations were opened with Tremont Lumber Company for a long-term lease on the 84 acres on which the Pine Ridge Country Club is now located. A new Corporation was formed and a lease signed in the fall of 1958. The Forest Service helped initially by drawing a topographic map of the proposed site and areas of the fairways were soon marked off. Tremont Lumber Company removed the merchantable timber and pulpwood and the tremendous job of clearing the fairways, building the tee stands and greens began. Many present members can recall listening to the broadcast of the LSU - Tulane football game with portable radios while piling and burning brush.
With much donated equipment and labor and a little money, work on the course progressed. A total of 107 shares of stock were sold initially with the greater number going to those who were members of the predecessor club. Many shareholder, having already put up the full price of a share of stock, paid labor to supplement the labor of other members. Gradually things began to shape up and you could tell a golf course was in the making. Meanwhile the club house, with much donated material was taking form.
On March 1, 1959, the Club employed Mr. Tommy Moore to take the job of supervising the completion of the course and building the greens, with the understanding that he would become the club pro and operate the club upon its completion. Initially his salary was underwritten and paid largely by a group of members over and above the regular price of their stock shares. Fairways were seeded with Bermuda grass, and especially fine strain of Bermuda grass developed for golf greens.
It takes grass a long time to grow when you are watching it every day, but finally the time came when the date for the first play was set and in August, 1959, not many days before Labor Day, play began. Members were tired of working and were ready to play. The Club opened with something like 95 dues-paying members and the entire facility had been completed with the money collected from the sale of stock plus a loan of $5000—used largely for the purchase of equipment to maintain the new facility.
Pine Ridge’s golf course is very close to ideal for amateur play. No two of the well-laid out holes play the same. Most amateurs find use for just about every club in the bag. There are three tee stands at three different places and end at the club house whether your rime permits the play of three, four five or nine holes. Many visitors have said that Pine Ridge’s greens are unequaled.
Many things are needed to complete the facilities of Pine Ridge—a swimming pool, alternate tee stands, completion of driving range, portable irrigation of fairways, improvements to the club house, a pro shop, a playground and tennis court. None of them unobtainable to a dedicated and generous membership. Pine Ridge can be one of the finest recreational facilities in the State—one which we can enjoy and of which we can be proud.”
Many changes have occurred at Pine Ridge Country Club since Mr. Harrell’s letter of 1962. Since the first tee off time in August, 1959, many people have used the facilities at Pine Ridge. The number of members has increased from an original 95 to more than 246 in 1986. It is an asset to Winnfield and Winn Parish. On the membership rolls will be found the names of the leaders of Winn Parish.
The physical facilities have been upgraded. We now have a swimming pool, alternate tee stands, cart paths, driving range, fairway irrigation, a pro shop, improvements to the club house and tennis courts. A large pond has been constructed near the center of the course.
The land on which the course is located, has been purchased and the last payment is scheduled for 1986.
Tommy Moore stayed as club pro until 1962 when he was replaced by Athol Lemon. Lemon was pro until November 17, 1965, when Tom Hale and his wife Maxine came on the scene. The Hales have served continuously except for an approximate two year interval in 1978-1980 when Don Taylor and Bill Canipe served short periods.
The Club House has been improved to the point where it is the center for the social life of the community. The course is being constantly improved and now has reached the point that makes it one of the outstanding courses in the entire region.
By Tommy Harrel Jr.
Many changes have taken place since 1986. In 1995, all nine greens were replaced and planted with the most current type of putting surface. Money was borrowed for this huge project and was paid off in 2013, assisted by money generated from thinning mature pine trees from the property. The old pro shop was abandoned and moved to the Ridge Room located in the west wing of the main clubhouse. This area is the center of much of the social activity of the club: hosting meetings, ball game watching, informal socializing, as well as serving as the proshop. This move has worked well.
Membership in PRCC has declined over recent years from a high of approx. 250 in the middle eighties to a current level of around 145. This decline has been primarily attributable to an overall decline of the population of Winnfield and Winn Parish. PRCC is currently experiencing somewhat of a rejuvenation both in golfing interest and social activities. Younger members of PRCC are taking leadership roles and providing the impetus for the rejuvenation in both areas.
Pine Ridge Country Club continues to be the asset to our community that was envisioned by its founders back in 1959 and a facility of which all current members can be proud.
History of Pine Ridge Country Club
The following is a history of the Pine Ridge Country Club from its inception until 1962
written by the first club president, Mr. Tommy Harrel, Sr.