The 797 Elks Golf Club

2593 Rombach Avenue
Wilmington, OH 45177


About Us:

The original golf course was built by Wayne F. Cox. Mr. Cox had built a motel on the southeast corner of his farm on route 22 & 3. His wife Mildred managed the motel and Mr. Cox built an 18 hole course mainly with his own labor. He had some professional architectural help in laying out the course. Two lakes were constructed and a two hundred foot steel machinery building erected with the east side open to serve as a covered driving range area. Cox purchased a large tree transplanting truck and moved several hundred evergreen trees from an old planting several miles from the course. These trees were as large as could be moved by the truck planter and soon gave the course a feeling of some maturity.

The first nine holes were opened to the public in 1960 and work continued on the other nine holes. The eighteen holes utilized most of the farm and covered about 145 acres. By 1980, business and housing development posed a threat to the golf course. Wayne Cox was ready to sell his properties and Robert Webster, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, was making plans to purchase. Webster was doing business as D’or International and had moved to have the major acreage rezoned for housing and business. His plans had been submitted in December 1980.

To save a public golf course for the community, the trustees of the Elks 797 Lodge, located adjacent to the golf course, decided to try to save the original nine hole course. When the trustees contacted the National Office of the Elks, the local trustees were discouraged from buying into the course because Elk lodges with golf courses generally had poor experiences in development and operation.

Reluctant to miss the opportunity to keep a community golf course, the Lodge asked local members to purchase the nine hole course and hold it until some Elks entity could raise funds for the purchase and operation. Two Elks families, Ernest and Wilda Wilson and Joseph and Naomi Shaw, purchased the nine holes from Wayne and Mildred Cox. The purchase included 82 plus acres and a fraction of the upper lake, the driving range and the 200 foot metal building and machinery on the course.

Since the National Office of the Elks was not favorable for the Lodge to add a golf course here, the Lodge decided to set up a separate corporation to purchase and operate the nine hole course. This stock corporation was planned as a closed corporation with stock sold only to Lodge members. The first pro shop in 1981 was a 12′ x 16′ green building. In 1983 a new pro shop was built being 20′ x 30′. In later years it was doubled to 20′ x 60′. In 1993 the Golf Club purchased an additional 32 acres of land from the old 18 hole course and in 1994 the Club gave a contract to Barry Serafin Golf Course Design to expand the course to 18 holes. Quality Golf Inc. was hired as the construction contractor who had previously done work at Glenview Country Club and Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati and numerous courses in the Pittsburgh, PA area. The new 18 hole course opened in 1995 with 2 ponds and the signature hole #12 being a partial island green. In 1998 a new maintenance building was constructed. A 80′ x 80′ cart barn and shelter were added later.

The original goal of the early proponents was to operate a golf course where anyone could play for a small fee. It would be an asset for the community. Management would develop a youth program that would appeal to boys and girls. Everyone could play golf. The 797 Elks Golf Club is one of the finest 18 hole courses in southwest Ohio.

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