The First Nine
Belmont opened as a nine-
The day to day challenges of running a business from a distance, aggravated by a break-
Despite these early challenges George reflects upon his luck, "well it wasn't easy, but then I look at kids today, I think we were luckier than people are today. We didn't make enough money to spoil our kids and they went on the bus in the morning and came home at night… I think Jan and I grew up in the best of times".
George and Jan proudly speak of their course being "a working man's golf course". As George notes, "we always wanted to make it affordable for the working man. We tried to keep the rates reasonably cheap to allow the regular player to come out and have a good time". Even today, George is in disbelief that they managed to keep afloat; he often wonders how they "were ever going to make a living". He said in the good old days when they first opened, green fees were $2 to play a round of golf and memberships were $25 a year. Founding members remember paying $25 for their first membership. We, "heard about this little hick course in the country that some guy was building; so we came out to see it, met George, liked him and decided to join and have never left."
The New Nine
George had been interested in purchasing the farm next door for quite some time. Their neighbour recalled: "years ago, I remember George asking about buying the land but, no sale. When George was almost 60 years old, he figured he had been patient enough, and tried one last time, this time with success. In 1987 George and Jan bought the property next to the clubhouse to build a second nine.
George worked hard during the summer of 1987 to get the course ready for the following year. Members remember the bulldozer shaping the course while and George planted trees. The bulldozer operator called George, "quite a guy".
Despite mother nature's uncooperative spirit. George and Jan never wavered from their intended opening day. One long standing member recalls the summer of 1987 as being hot and very dry and "the grass wasn't coming along too well". He adds, "George brought in boxes and boxes of tobacco grinding's that were left over from the Imperial Tobacco and he spread the tobacco all over the golf course to make the grass grow-
All You Do Here Is Play Golf
Some say the club is really a throwback to the old days when golfers walked and showed up at the club only to play a game of golf. When you want to play the course, you don't phone the Pro shop and book a tee time. Instead, you show up and drop money on the counter and then drop a ball in the rack next to the 1st tee and wait your turn. When your ball reaches the bottom of the rack, it's your turn to tee off. It's one of the last courses using a ball rack on the first tee to determine the order of play.
Even though you may have to get up bright and early to have your ball in the rack first, George is still fine with the fact that anyone can play golf there at the last minute. George said, "you can always play at our course. Even if it takes you an hour wait, you will still get to play that day". In fact, you can arrive at 7 AM and find people sleeping in their cars, reading the paper, having a coffee and just waiting for the clock to strike 7 so they can hit the course.