Darlington Country Club membership drive

Members enjoying a recent round of golf at the Darlington Country Club.

Members enjoying a recent round of golf at the Darlington Country Club.

By Jana E. Pye, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Imagine what it would be like if the Darlington Country Club were no longer here.

Where would the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions clubs meet? Where would the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce host their Annual Awards Banquet? What local venue could a couple choose to hold their wedding reception? Where would the Darlington High School golf team play?

Now, imagine you live on the golf course of the Darlington Country Club.

If the club ceases to exist, how long would it take for the greens to turn to a meadow of waist-high grass? How long would it take for the property values of people living in that housing area plummet?

Those are the questions that investors of the historic country club are asking the community members of Darlington.

“This scenario has come up several times, unfortunately,” said Ronnie Ward, one of the local investors of the club. “And this year, we have a bold new plan to save the club, and to create a new and exciting future for this beautiful, top-notch facility.”

Ward laid out the plan as simply as possible – 500 members at $100 a month. No hidden fees, no meal requirement… just $100, and a promise to be patient as amenities and activities grow and build.

“We hope that once we begin receiving additional revenue, we will be able to do things that members have been asking for, such as upgrading the tennis courts, hosting more events for families and young people, creating new menus, and improving the grounds.”

The plan will grandfather several members in that now have special rates, particularly elderly members.

After the first 500 members are signed up, additional members will go on a waiting list.

“What we hope is that this club will become a community club, with people from over the entire city and neighboring communities that want it to succeed because they have a common goal to preserve this club for our way of life, and for future generations,” said Ward. “We want people to be proud of this club, and to recognize the importance of having such a venue in our community.”

The club is one that is coveted for events such as dancing, with an open floor plan and stage.

It has been used successfully for banquets and award ceremonies for years, and the stage area lends itself to a variety of entertainment including dinner theaters.

“The layout is the best in the area,” said Ward. “We hear that time and time again.”

Ward notes that even in really packed events, the upper dining room looks down onto the lower dining area, so that the entire club feels inclusive, rather than some attendees feeling like they are far away from the music and activity.

So far, community members seem to embrace the bold new plan.

“I’ve already had many people tell me that they don’t golf, but will become a member because the club means so much to them,” said Ward. “And now with having the fee so inexpensive, people are more apt to want to take advantage of more meals, since they are only paying $25 a week.”

The new plan will not allow for private play for people living in the local zip codes, which may make the decision for many to go ahead and join.

“We felt that was the best way to go about it. That way, we can be sure of needed revenue to continue to maintain and improve.”

The fee will be extremely affordable for people that only had it the membership as a social or “pool” membership – for only a few hundred dollars, members will be a year long ember rather than just during summer months.

A penalty will be enacted for people to just discontinue their membership after the summer months, however.

“If someone backs out after less than a year, they will have to wait a full 12 months to join again,” said Ward. “They will go on the waiting list.”

“The low fee will be a new wave of people joining that may not have afforded it before, especially for young families,” said Ward. “This way, we’ll have a new generation of people growing up with the country club, and hopefully teach a whole generation of young golfers in a sport they can enjoy their entire lives.”

To pick up a membership application, stop by the Darlington Country Club at 125 Country Club Rd, Darlington. You may call them for more information at:
(843) 393-0236 or visit them online at www.darlingtoncountryclub.com.

Author: Duane Childers

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