The historic Dayton Country Club offers amenities for the whole family
Founded by a group of Dayton’s leading industrialists, the Dayton Country Club is the oldest continuously operating club west of the Alleghenies.
Originally known as the Dayton Golf Club, it wasn’t in its current location until 11 years after it was created. In 1908, club leaders incorporated and purchased more than 100-acres that were formerly occupied by an Oakwood winery and changed the name to the Dayton Country Club.
A clubhouse and a nine-hole golf course were completed in 1910 and a riding club stable was added in 1912. That closed in 1962.
Famed golf architect Donald Ross visited in 1917 and made recommendations that included expanding to 18 holes.
A fire heavily damaged the clubhouse in 1929 when the boiler overheated. The clubhouse was immediately rebuilt, but the club struggled through the Depression and World War II, according to a history of Dayton golf. During the war, the second floor was remodeled and equipped to serve as a dormitory for military officers.
Over its history, the club has hosted a number of U.S. presidents and other celebrities. The club hosted the famed Bogie Busters golf tournament from 1967 to 1974, an event that drew celebrities to Dayton. The city’s own Martin Sheen also was once a caddy.
Despite its history, there are a number of private clubs in the Dayton area and the club’s approach has been to differentiate itself as a one-stop location for members and their families.
“There’s a lot of competition, and we have a lot of great private facilities in the area,” says Jeff Grant, general manager. “We’ve positioned ourselves over the last few years as the number one family club in the area.”
That means having something for everyone in the family at the Kramer Road complex minutes south of downtown Dayton.
Of course, there’s the golf pro shop, practice facility and the golf course, a challenge for beginners and scratch players alike. There are two pools: one Olympic-sized and a small kiddie pool.
For tennis fans, the club has four clay courts and two platform tennis courts. There’s also a half-court basketball area and a full fitness center to help stay in shape during the winter months.
The club also offers four full-service dining areas. The main dinning room can seat up to 300 for a wide range of events from weddings to fundraisers to business meetings.
The club’s appeal is apparently resonating with Daytonians. Grant says memberships have grown 10 percent over the last couple years to 415, and that’s allowed the club to invest in the facilities.
This winter, a dining area and the men’s locker rooms were renovated, and there are plans in the works to upgrade the platform tennis courts. New carpet has been installed upstairs along with new windows and roofing.
“We’ve been doing a lot of updating,” adds Grant.
And that includes the staff. In December, the club hired new golf pro Rob Karnes, who was formerly with the Monroe, Mich., Golf and Country Club, and brought in well-known local chef David Glynn to oversee the kitchen.
Last summer the club hosted the Women’s Western Golf Open, featuring 144 of the nation’s best amateur female golfers. This year it will host the First Tee Pro-Am sponsored by Lexus of Dayton in May and the Play for Pink breast cancer research fundraiser in June.