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Golfers warm up on the putting green at the Lookout Mountain Club on Monday, July 17, in Lookout Mountain, Ga.

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Merging Lookout Mountain historyGolf, Fairyland clubs combine to create new entity

Two private clubs on Lookout Mountain with 180 years of history between them have merged.

The Lookout Mountain Golf Club has joined with the Fairyland Club to create The Lookout Mountain Club, crafting what its leaders said is a more complete facility that will better meet the needs of members.

"Given the clubs' close proximity to each other and our complementary amenities, it just made sense to combine the two into one," said Will Kline, the merged entity's co-president. "We want to grow new members."

Andy Pippenger, also co-president, said that rather than competing for members, Lookout Mountain Club "can now offer something for every member to enjoy, all within one club."

Pippenger said the Fairyland Club was "a country club without a golf course." The merger, he said, "makes it a total club. It was an obvious next step."

Both the golf club and Fairyland Club, about two miles from one another, were part of a tract of land in Lookout Mountain, Ga., developed in the 1920s by Rock City Gardens founders Garnet and Frieda Carter as a resort community known as "Fairyland."

The 18-hole golf course was designed by well-known architect Seth Raynor in 1925. The last course he designed before his death in 1926, it's the only one he crafted that sits on a mountain, according to the club.

The Fairyland Club opened its doors in 1926 as The Fairyland Inn. It, too, at one time held a golfing attraction as the site of the original Tom Thumb golf course, which is known today as miniature golf.

Charlotte Lindeman, the club's membership director, said the combination of the two Lookout Mountain entities was talked about through the years. A merger committee was formed and a vote was taken, with more than 75 percent of both clubs approving the union.

Clubs are looking to evolve to stay relevant, Lindeman said, as people search for a more casual environment to socialize, dine and recreate.

Golf club membership dropped during the Great Recession as at other private clubs, she said. While the number of members has rebounded, the game of golf is experiencing a downturn.

Lindeman said that "people don't want a stuffy country club anymore," adding they want a place where the whole family can recreate together.

"We're providing that kind of atmosphere," she said. "We can offer those full-scale amenities."

Now, the combined club has about 710 members. The club offers two levels of membership. Full members have entire club privileges including golf, while regular is for all amenities except golf, said Lindeman, who wouldn't give rates but urged people to call for dues information.

Within those levels, there are sub-categories of membership with dues and fees based on age and place of residence, she said.

Kline, who was president of the golf club, said both assets have been rolled into one with new bylaws.

"It's a true merger," he said, adding that it creates one full-service country club with golf, tennis courts, a pool, fitness facility, outdoor venues and other amenities.

Pippenger said members at each of the clubs did their due diligence in relation to the merger.

"We were making sure it was the right thing to do," he said.

Kline said the club has a strategic planning panel to look at ideas for the future.

"The focus has got to be producing the best possible product," he said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

 

The Lookout Mountain Club

About the golf club

› The Lookout Mountain Golf Club was originally the Fairyland Golf Club and part of Garnet Carter’s dream for an exclusive resort community called Fairyland.

› Famous golf course architect Seth Raynor designed the 18-hole course in 1925. It was the second most costly to build, trailing only Yale University’s.

› The course was voted a “top 125 classical golf course” by Golfweek Magazine in 2013.

About the Fairyland Club

› The club also was part of Carter’s vision for a resort. When it opened in 1926, it was known as The Fairyland Inn.

› The club’s landscape, featuring large and unusual rock formations reminiscent of fairy and elf grottos of mythical times, inspired the name “Fairyland.” Among the more prominent are the tall rock sentinels, the “Twin Sisters,” that guard the main entrance to the club.

› The Fairyland Inn was the site of the original Tom Thumb golf course, which today is known as miniature golf. Source: Lookout Mountain Club

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