Once considered one of the finest golf courses in the United States, Laurel Country Club remains a respected course, enjoyed by all who walk its storied fairways.
From beginner to advanced, and from private lessons to group classes, tennis professional Bo Gard is focused on helping you get the most out of your tennis experience.
From grand weddings and receptions to charity galas and black-tie affairs Laurel Country Club has remained as the place to be.
The Laurel Country Club was founded in 1917 by a group of Laurel citizens with the purpose of "engagement in social and sporting activities that will accrue to the general welfare of community life in Laurel and surrounding areas". The Founding Fathers engaged Mr. Seymour Dunn, an outstanding professional golfer from the Lake Placid Club in New York State. Not only did Dunn lay out and supervise the construction of the first nine holes, he also became the Club's first golf professional. Although there was play on the course during late 1919, it was not officially open until February 14, 1920, when the first of many tournaments was held. On April 30, 1920 the membership sponsored the first official social gathering in the newly constructed 2 story clubhouse which was attended by 250 members and their guests.
The question for our story is, "How could these happenings, so far away in space and time, have anything to do with a nameless tract of some 160 acres in the dense Piney Woods of South Mississippi?" The answer is quite simple: these men were the golfing ancestors of Seymour Dunn who, beginning in 1917, designed and oversaw the construction of a golf course over these same pine hills. It became the Laurel Country Club. Dunn had a sound golfing background in America, too, for his uncle, "Young Willie" Dunn was the first United States Open Champion in 1894, and was the original designer of Shinnecock Hills, site of the 1986 US Open. Seymour sought to bring four centuries of family tradition and knowledge to bear on the cutting and shaping of a fine golf course out of the tough, dense South Mississippi pine forest.
After many months, with the big Scott sometimes wielding the plow himself, the outlines of a golf course could be dimly seen. With no drawn out plans, guided only by his golfing instincts, Seymour was discovering the course which had always been there, entangled in the pines and briars.
The unique quality of the layout was, and is, that it is a shotmaker's course. It can only be well played by a golfer who can execute every shot in the game, and at the same time it can provide enjoyment for every golfer at his own level. This is the master design that golf architects strive for, but rarely attain.
It has been in the playing that the course's true nature has emerged. Since its completion some thirty world class players have found their way here to play, and all have given it high praise. One of them, Leo Diegel, called the Laurel Country Club "the greatest course in America" in 1926. These master golfers constitute our other abiding connection with the long history of the game, for they were the winners of every great championship in the world: The British Open, The United States Open, The PGA Championship and The Masters. Among the early barnstormers to play Laurel Country Club were Jim Barnes, Jock Hutchinson, Arthur Havers and "Wild Bill" Mehlhorn, along with Bobby Locke, Sam Snead, Henry Picard, Cary Middlecoff, Jack Burke and Jimmy Demaret, just to name a few.
The greats of women’s professional golf also played here, including Babe Didrickson Zaharias, Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Carol Mann and Kathy Whitworth, as well as Mississippi's own National Open Champion, Mary Mills.
The golf course, now, does not just exist on its own, for it has been an important part of the lives, not just of its champions, but of its everyday players as well. It has indeed seen a lot of living; from rounds played by all time great golfers to exciting tournaments, from moments of high comedy to a pleasant afternoon's game. All of its background, its traditions and its people are a part of the course now, just like the hills and the pines.