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History of Savannah Country Club


The story begins in the early 1920’s when Henry C. Walthour, one of Savannah’s wealthiest cotton brokers, acquired several hundred acres of land on Wilmington Island. Walthour’s goal was to develop a high quality, prestigious community on the acreage, with General Oglethorpe Hotel as the prime amenity.

Golf, a sport that was becoming more and more popular in the country, was a vital part of the General Oglethorpe from the beginning. The hotel’s major attraction was the golf course designed by Donald Ross, one of the nation’s leading golf course architects. Ross also designed the famous course at Pinehurst, North Carolina. Ross even referred to the General Oglethorpe Golf Course as his finest accomplishment.
 
Unfortunately, the hotel enjoyed only a brief period of success before the stock market crash of 1929. The hotel changed ownership many times between 1935 and 1965 and was even closed during some of these periods. The golf course continued to stay open and was full of players, as usual.
 
In 1965, William Lattimore, a Savannah realtor and developer purchased the property and renovated the golf course. He hired prominent architect, William C. Byrd, who brought the golf course up to PGA standards. He added underground watering systems, canals, lakes, and ponds.  In 1967, Lattimore changed the property’s name to the Savannah Inn and Country Club. It later became the Sheraton Hotel which it remained until it’s closing in the 1980s. After sitting vacant for many years it was converted into luxury condominiums and reopened as ‘Wilmington Plantation’.
 
It was at this point that the golf course became a separate entity known as the Wilmington Island Club, complete with a full service clubhouse, pool, and tennis courts.
 
Through the years, the one constant has been the golf course. Its remarkable design and rich history have kept the love alive for golf. 2018 brought new ownership under O.C. and Brianna Welch.  The name was changed to the Savannah Country Club to restore the sense of history, while adding a modern upscale approach to dining and events.