Blue Ridge Country Club zeros in on 100 years
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS John Rehus, Blue Ridge Country Club manager, displays a golf club that was forged by the club's first professional, Tom Black, while at the New Jersey Zinc Company, over 90 years ago.
It boasts a perfectly maintained golf course, beautiful club house with spectacular views, and various family activities.
With so many amenities, it's no wonder Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton is such an attractive destination point for not only golfers, but nongolfers as well.
John Rehus, club manager, provided an overview of the club to Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce members earlier this week.
Rehus noted that the club, located at 2230 Fireline Road, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2015.
The club was established in 1915, Rehus said. From there, a farmhouse was rented, and the first nine holes were laid out as the club started with 52 active members, he said.
In 1928, the club purchased 138 acres of land from the Palmer Land Company. Then, in 1958, it purchased 169 acres from the New Jersey Zinc Company.
Around 1957-58, the old farmhouse was renovated, said Rehus, who added it served as the main part of the club until 2003.
In 1986, a fire damaged much of the forestland surrounding the golf course, Rehus said. Later that year, he said it was decided to spend $40,000 to start clearing and grading the fairways.
Then, in 1987, it was decided to construct nine more holes, to take it to its current 18-hole setup, Rehus said. That project was completed in 1990, and cost about $600,000, he said.
"It was the single biggest undertaking of the club since 1915," Rehus said. "Membership basically doubled."
In 2002, a new club house and maintenance building were constructed at a cost of $3 million, and moved into by 2003.
Since it's been said the future of golf rests with women and children, Rehus said the club hired PGA Professional Rich Conwell to help promote the game of golf to make it more family fun. Also, a practice area is being built, and a gazebo has been built, he said.
Rehus cited several reasons for the club's popularity: It's open year-round; is affordable; the consistency of the golf course; better course conditions; unlimited play for their fee; tournament play; excellent dining, complete with their own chef; a great club house with social membership; social activities, and so on.
In addition, Rehus said the club is an excellent venue to host weddings, banquets, and golf outings.
"Years ago, there were more golfers then golf courses," he said. "Golfers are on the decline, and a lot of the clubs around have closed."
Peter Kern, chamber president, added "a social member has all of the opportunities to take advantage of social functions that a [golf] member has."
Kern then told Rehus to let the Chamber know if it can be of any assistance to the club as it prepares for its upcoming 100th anniversary.
Golf and social memberships are available, Rehus said.
To become a member, or for more information, call (610) 826-2504, or visit www.blueridgecountryclub.net.