An effort to have the golf course at Coosa Country Club listed on the National Register of Historic Places was detailed for participants at the Statewide Historic Preservation Conference in Rome on Friday afternoon.
Mick Williams, president of the club, said that at first the effort was met with a lot of skepticism.
“But I don’t take ‘no’ well,” Williams told the audience during a presentation at the Rome Area History Museum.
Williams said that the club was formally created in 1909 but that people had been playing golf on the site for probably 20 years before the club was organized.
Janet Byington, one of the founding leaders of the history museum, explained that the property where the course sits was at one time owned by her great-great-grandfather C.M. Pennington.
It was at one time a dairy farm and was still being used as a dairy when some of the earliest rounds were being played on the course.
Byington said cows were used to help keep the grass down and related a story about the iconic Bobby Jones who had come to play in Rome. Jones is credited for founding and helping to design the Augusta National Golf Club as well as co-founding the Masters Tournament. He then wrote a letter back to the club leaders saying he really enjoyed his time on the course, but “it was quite the challenge to get around the cows on the course but the barbed wire around the greens that kept the cows off really made the greens tricky.”
Rome native David Mitchell told the crowd that over the years, “this golf course has become more and more of a metaphor in a space that really represents who and what we are.”
One of the unique aspects to the course’s nomination for the register, Mitchell said, is that it is not a place where “some triage needs to be performed to put life back into something. People are playing, the golf course is active.”
The original course was just a nine-hole course but was ultimately expanded to 18 holes and then completely redesigned over 50 years ago.
Over the years, the course has hosted the Georgia State Amateur Championships eight different times, a host of American Junior Golf Association tournaments and the Southern Amateur Championships.
The group has been working on the nomination to the register for close to a year, Williams said, and there is precedent to having a course listed. In other cases, as well in this case, the club house wouldn’t be listed because the current one is at least the third clubhouse after a couple of previous fires.