Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another landmark, down the tube

Even before my first sip of coffee, I got mad, and sad, and resigned to the speed of the changing world. The City of Columbus wants to sell the Champion Golf Course. The course is too difficult, it is losing money, and zoning would permit single family housing.

In an earlier and happier time, that property was The Winding Hollow Country Club. It opened with a nine hole course in 1921, and it was there I learned to swing a three-wood, my favorite club. Sometime, when I have trouble falling asleep, those nine holes are the "sheep" I count.  I can follow myself from one to nine, envisioning every tree, every little creek, every, every rough.

 The course grew to eighteen holes, designed by Robert Trent Jones, in 1948. Bob, my husband, was Club President , and in his official capacity, we drove Robert Trent to the airport after a meeting. Wanting to be gracious and interested, I asked him when he had first decided to become a golf course architect. The "you idiot" look he gave me--it chilled me to the bone.

Public housing was, eventually, built just north, and above, the long 16th hole, far away from the Clubhouse.  A few times, members were robbed at gun point.  The three-C highway was no longer a prime location. Lock, stock and barrel, a new Winding Hollow was built on Babbitt Road, a better address. Beautiful building, tennis courts, snack bar, all the amenities. And then members began to disappear, for even more desirable places. It morphed into a few other incarnations, and I lost complete interest in what was going on.

So why does this news about the sale of the old WHCC bother me?  I truly did not care;  after Bob served as President, we remained members only until after my brother, Al Harmon, had served his term.

But I feel the ground shifting under me with the loss of each landmark. Change is progress, I know, I know. But could just a few places remain a little longer?  My roots grow deep and wide, at ninety. Please don't pull them out any faster than you have to.  Whoever "you" are.


  1. WHCC was also where Bob Greene emceed the annual 4th of July kiddee parade and where I discovered Russian Coffee, thanks to Aunt Frannie and her obsession for chocolate long before chocoholicism became fashionable.

  2. She hooked us all on Russian coffee. I remember drinking it with her in the Chintz Room. I wouldn't have thought of it, if you hadn't mentioned it. Thanks.

  3. Some of the change is our failure to value and preserve that which is, rather than shopping off to the next new thing. It is our shallowness and our no longer feeling so connected like the memories that Pete shared.
    Of course, the robberies on the curse were a real problem.