Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Augusta National and Berckmans Nurseries

Augusta National: Hole 12, Par 3
The Masters will as usual kick off the Major championship golf season during the first week of April. Augusta National has something magical about it with the dogwoods and azaleas, perfect fairways and stone bridges. It’s no question that the beauty of the golf course enhances the viewer’s enjoyment. It seems everyone – from the non-golfer to us diehard fans – is entranced by Augusta National. 

Bobby Jones and his Vision
Berckmans' Nurseries before Augusta National was built.
Photo in museum.
Bobby Jones, the well-known amateur who to this day is the only player to every have earned a calendar Grand Slam, had decided to retire from competitive golf in 1930. But he wasn’t done with being involved with the sport. He had been intrigued by the thought of building a members only golf course, and heard about a perfect piece of land for his vision.
The area in question was formally the home of Berckmans Nurseries, the first large-scale horticultural nursery in the southeast. Louis Berckmans and his son Prosper, immigrants from Belgium, had introduced a range of new plants to the southeast. Prosper became known as "Father of the Peach Culture" after introducing and developing many types of peach varieties. The nursery operated from 1858 to 1918.
Prosper Berckmans

Jones is said to have exclaimed “Perfect!” when he saw the land and purchased it for $70,000. Construction for the golf course began in 1931.
Posters from Berckmans Nurseries, aka Fruitland Nurseries

Prosper Berckmans, Jr., and Louis Berckmans helped with the landscaping surrounding the clubhouse and golf course, and many of those plants still are the ones we admire around Augusta National today. Berckmans’ former home, Fruitland Manor, became the Augusta National Clubhouse. 

Nowadays, each Masters winner raises the silver trophy, which is a small replica of the clubhouse. The life size replica trophy is on display in the Brandenburg historical golf museum.

Members Only

Jones, who built Augusta along with his friend Clifford Roberts, had been dreaming about a private club where members could play without being bothered by the media or fans. He started writing letters to friends and acquaintances, spreading the word about his plans. Below is one of the original letters displayed at Cinnabar Hills, in which Jones is asking Mr. Crawford Johnson if he was interested in becoming a member. If you aren’t familiar with Mr. Johnson's story, he was the clever man who purchased the exclusive franchise rights to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola in 1902. 

Come by Cinnabar Hills and the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum to stroll through golf's spectacular past time. There is no entry fee to the museum. Our restaurant is open daily with lunch from 11 am - 3 pm and appetizers from 3 pm to closing. Breakfast is served from 7:15 am on the weekends.

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