In 1904, the Atlanta Athletic Club acquired property in the “suburbs” of Atlanta to create a country club at East Lake, engaging golf architect Tom Bendelow to lay out the course. The grand opening of the Bendelow course took place on July 4, 1908. East Lake is home to the oldest golf course in the city of Atlanta.
East Lake is the home course of Bobby Jones. Bobby’s father, “Colonel” Robert P. Jones was an active member of the Club and both he and Bobby werepresent when the course first opened in 1908. The elder Jones, later served as president of the club from 1937 – 1942 and as a director for 38 years. Bob himself later also served as president from 1946-47.
AERIAL VIEW OF EAST LAKE GOLF CLUB
In 1913, famed golf course architect Donald Ross redesigned the Bendelow course at East Lake. The remodeled course featured a routing plan that provided each nine holes to conclude at the clubhouse. Previously the original course had nine holes that oddly finished across the lake from theclubhouse. Ross also designed the “new” No. 2 course in 1928.
1930 BOBBY JONES CELEBRATION AT EAST LAKE CLUBHOUSE
From 1923 to 1930, Bobby Jones won 13 national golf titles: four U.S. Opens, five U.S. Amateurs, three British Opens, and one British Amateur. In 1930, at age 28, Jones won all 4major golf competitions: the British Amateur, the British Open, the United States Amateur and the United States Open; a feat that has never been repeated. That same year Jones retired from competitive golf. In 1948, he played his final round of golf at East Lake, his home course.
EAST LAKE CLUBHOUSE AND BOATHOUSE
East Lake’s two-story Tudor Clubhouse was commissioned in 1926 when a fire destroyed the original clubhouse in 1925. The club hired noted architect Philip Shutze to rebuild the clubhouse. Shutze designed some of Atlanta’s most elegant homes and buildings and ushered in the golden age of architecture in Atlanta. His most notable building is the Swan House located in Buckhead.
Alexa was born in Atlanta, Ga., on September 5, 1897. As Bobby Jones' childhood golfing partner, she was dubbed "The First Lady of East Lake" and "The Empress of Golf" to match Mr. Jones' "Emperor" nickname. Quiet and competitive, she won her first title at East Lake at the age of 12. In 1916, three days before her 19th birthday, she wonthe first of her three U.S. Women's Amateur Championships. When the tournament resumed after World War I, she successfully defended her crown in 1919 and 1920. In 1920 and 1934 she won the Canadian Women's Open.
Charlie Yates was born in Atlanta on September 9, 1913 and was raised in a home near East Lake's 4th green. This Georgia Tech star became an international name in golf in 1938 when he won the coveted British Amateur. In 1936 and 1938, he played on the U.S. Walker Cup Team. In 1953, hewas captain of the Walker Cup Team, and was named honorary captain in 1985. Five times in his competitive career, Mr. Yates, secretary of the Augusta National Golf Club, was the low scoring amateur in the Masters Tournament.
BOBBY JONES AND WATTS GUNN
Watts Gunnbecame a member of the Atlanta Athletic Club in the mid 1920's while a student at Georgia Tech. He made golf history in 1925 in the U.S. Amateur, played at Oakmont CC, setting the world record for international championship golf by winning 15 straight holes in the first round of the 36-hole match. In that tournament, he went to the finals against friend and rival Bobby Jones, marking the only time two players from the same city ever met for the U.S. Amateur crown.
Atlanta native Charlie Harrison won the Atlanta Athletic Club Junior Championship in 1945 and the Atlanta City Junior Tournament in 1947. He went on to win the Atlanta Athletic Club and the Atlanta City Amateur tournament nine times and the Atlanta Country Club Championship six times during his golf career. Harrison also triumphed at the 1955 Southern Amateur and the 1959 Georgia State Amateur tournaments
1963 RYDER CUP
In 1963 the 15th Biennial Ryder Cup Matches were held at East Lake. The United States Team, led by playing captain ArnoldPalmer, won the tournament.
In the early 1990s a local family foundation purchased East Lake with the intent to restore it as a tribute to Bobby Jones and the club’s other great amateur golfers. The Club had fallen into disrepair after theAtlanta Athletic Club sold East Lake in the 60s and moved to the north side of Atlanta. In 1995 the Club reopened with the intent of serving as a catalyst for the revitalization of the surrounding community.
THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
East Lake Golf Club has beenthe permanent home of the TOUR Championship since 2005. The tournament was first played at East Lake in 1998 and has been held at East Lake 15 times since then. The TOUR Championship is the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup, with only the top 30 players on the points list qualifying each year.