Sunday, July 30, 2006

A short history of The Golf Club

Originally posted on July 30, 2006

Final ace

Dwaine Roney, 60, will be remembered at The Golf Club as the last to get a hole in one. It happened May 25 during Thursday night league play.

He hit a 5-iron into the hole on the par-3, 175-yard fourth. He never saw it go in.

"I was just happy I hit it right at the flag," said the Fort Myers resident who plays to a 2 handicap. "But when you execute the shot right, you are always happy."

The ace was Roney's ninth.

The odds of an ace for an amateur are 12,500 to 1, according to The amateur record belongs to Norman Mankey of Long Beach, Calif. He has 59.

As far as getting the final ace at the club?

"That will be more trivia," Roney said. "Something for the memoirs."

Club champions

The women's club championship started in the early 1960s, and Doris Casserly won it seven times.

The 2006 and final champ was Eunice Macy.

Most of the records for the men's champions are missing.

Tim Shaw won the final match play title this year; Marty Howard was the stroke play winner.

Member's memories

For Ned Axtel, 84, Monday will be a sad day.

He has been a member since July 1975, playing faithfully three times a week, probably more than 4,000 rounds.

He learned the game at the course when he was 53 and watched his handicap drop from a 22 to an 11.

"It's been the primary enjoyment of my retirement life," Axtel said. "Upstairs at the club, we used to have parties and dinners, and there was dancing on Friday nights. There was tennis, a swimming pool and boccie. I had it made."

On his 65th birthday, the former men's association president had his only hole in one on the par-3 eighth. He also shot his career low round that day — a 77.

"I think I speak for 15 to 20 guys when I say: Where are we going to go? My kids said 'Dad, you have to keep playing golf.' "

Axtel will tee off Monday sometime after 8 a.m. for his final round after 31 years.

"It will be a tough day," he said.

By the numbers

35,000: Rounds played in 2005

6,763: Yardage from the back tees

1961: Year the course opened with nine holes

547: The distance of the par-5 10th, the longest hole on the course (from the back tees)

200: Approximate number of members

175: Course acreage

115: The distance of the shortest hole, par-3 seventh from the women's tees.

90: Green and fairway sand bunkers

63: Course record, by Marc St. Martin

50: Full- and part-time employees at the course

9: Number of ponds that come into play on the course


• 1961: H.D. "Andy" Anderson, Clarence "Butch" Duffala, Browning Wharton and Monte Hodo play first nine holes at Cape Coral Country Club

• 1963: Opened by Gulf American Corp. as the Cape Coral Golf & Tennis Resort

• 1972: Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite tie for NCAA individual national title, leading Texas to second straight team title. It was the first time in the 75-year history of the NCAA men's golf championship that it was played in Florida.

• 1974: Southwest Florida Junior Golf Association formed there.

• 2000: Sold for $5.5 million to Cape Coral Country Club Inc. (owners Gary Fluharty, Ron Davis, Bob D'Andrea), hotel demolished for Banyan Trace condos.

• 2001: Course sold for $3.6 million to Scott Siler; course and clubhouse renovations begin.

• 2002: $4 million renovation complete; Banyan Trace condominiums open.

• July 2005: Possible $26 million deal with Lee County School District, which wants to build five schools there, falls through.

• July 31, 2006: Course to close at 6 p.m..