For the love of the game

E. B. Reese, 86, of South Hill, the last member of the 12 original charter founders of the South Hill Country Club, posed recently at the entrance sign to the club. The SHCC is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2021. (Dennis Smith)

SHCC Celebrates 60 Years

As the last member of the 12 original charter founders of the South Hill Country Club, E. B. Reese of South Hill took a few minutes recently to share the history of the club as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

The club opened in 1961 with 60 members after taking about two years to build the golf course. The property was purchased from Georgia Pacific.

“We picked up enough rocks to fill a swimming pool,” Reese said of the early days on the golf course.

Reese, who served in the U.S. Army and enjoyed a long career in the insurance business, said that the club has come a long way since the early days.

“The beautification of the course is better now and we have an ample water supply,” which he said has helped the club to prosper.

“(Superintendent) Dean Crutchfield and Doug Jackson have done a great job with the course,” said Reese. “Steve High has been a big help to the club and we have had good presidents through the years.”

The elder statesman for the club said that getting new golfers to have fun helps keep the sport growing.

“You have to make it enjoyable for people to play,” said Reese.

Junior golf has also helped get more youngsters interested in the game which has brought new members to the club over the years.

Reese has two granddaughters that played junior golf and high-school golf at Park View HS.

“Jeff Kidd has done a great job with the youth golfers,” said Reese. “Our youth are the future of the club. We have picked up some members from junior golf because the parents are playing.”

Women have taken up the game in larger numbers as well and a Ladies Club Championship was added to the tournament schedule a number of years ago.

“The husbands were playing and that helped get the wives out as well as the pool which has been a big asset to the club,” he said.

Reese said his family helped prepare the first meal in the SHCC Club House which opened in 1976.

“I cooked 90 steaks on the grill,” he said with a laugh.

Reese said the equipment for the game of golf has come a long way from the hickory club heads players used in the early days.

“The equipment has made people better,” said Reese. “It makes people want to play better and that makes them want to play more. If you enjoy it, you will come and play more.”

Reese, who won the SHCC Club Championship in 1986 over Cotton Watson, has served as the president of the club several times as well as the vice-president.

He was president when the club paved the cart paths about 26 years ago which added to the aesthetic appeal of the course.

Reese, 86, said he stays in shape by walking and working on his rental properties.

His good health has aided him in shooting his age or better probably 100 times or more, he estimated.

“I still enjoy playing,” he said.

Reese shot an 82 on September 6, 2020, to best his age once again on the day his son Bryant Reese, a 17-time SHCC Club Champion, shot a 59 to break his own course record and shoot his age for the first time.