Home Away From Home
Everyone has those great childhood memories of growing up going to the beach, camping with family, that first drive you take after receiving your license, and the freedom of getting your first place to live away from home. These are often thought upon with fondness, admiration, and joy. Some people have even been fortunate enough to have memories of growing up at the club. Memories of teeing off on an early weekend morning with the sounds of birds chirping in the background and the fresh smell of morning mist in the air. Memories of staring at a mountain of food and hors d'oueuvres in a banquet room at holiday feasts spent with family and friends. Memories of summers on the swim team and outdoor patio parties. Memories are like a soft, warm blanket. They give us comfort. They give us inspiration. They remind us of the bigger picture in life, of what's important.
In Commerce Township, there is a place like this where many memories are made. For 93 years, Edgewood Country Club has been a large part of the surrounding community and its member's lives. This private club has provided people with some of the best golf in Oakland County. It has fed families and friends for generations. It has given freshly retired citizens the best years of their lives. It has hosted business gatherings, charity outings, and priceless moments of marriage. ECC has provided the simple luxuries and helped create a wonderful atmosphere of fulfillment and unity to countless families and friends since 1928.
ECC was originally just a golf club. When the Fuller family purchased the course in 1951, they started making changes that helped Edgewood get to where it is today. They bought the property where the main building is currently located and built a driving range and clubhouse. Pretty soon, fine dining and cocktails were part of the Edgewood culture. It had become more than just a wonderful golf course.
For almost a century, this golf course has been maturing gracefully with old school tree lined fairways and thick luscious rough. The fairways are so wonderful and dense that when you take the perfect divot you feel as if you just hit your shot of the purest Iowan tilled farm soil. At par 71 instead of your typical par 72, the 6400-yard course plays as a true test to the game of golf. The tree-lined fairways require accuracy off the tee and the sophisticated rough keeps any player honest. While accuracy is key, the course is extremely user-friendly. Most of the old school greens are not overly protected and have an open carpet of fringe leading you right up to the green. Anybody who hits it low will tell you how enjoyable this is. It is the perfect mix of golf test for all skill levels. The recently added US Kids tee markers provide a wonderful model for the games newest players.
The generations of players at ECC has enjoyed the course immensely and describes it as "full of character" and a "hidden gem." For the competitive golfer, ECC has plenty of tournaments to get those juices flowing. The different formats include best-ball, stroke play, and match play. There are a few different member-guest tournaments highlighted by the Men's or Women's Invitational. These red carpet tournaments allow you to be in an exceptional golf tournament while showing off your club to friends and family. They are showcase weeks here at the club, showing off ECC and making your guests feel at home. "During that whole week, my guests have come out and felt like a member," says Smith. "For four or five days, they are a member at Edgewood. They see the friendships, and they love that." Furthermore, ECC hosts tournaments for the Golf Association of Michigan every year for the best amateur players in the state. Not surprisingly, the tournaments hosted here fill up quicker than other courses in the area. People love to play this golf course.
One of the best parts of being at ECC isn't just the golf, but the envelope of comfort provided inside the clubhouse. When the golf round or practice session ends, the clubhouse provides the population with a stress-free reprieve. There are no urgencies inside, only amusement. The locker rooms allow for freshening up with wonderful amenities. Lunch is shared in the locker room grill, on the patio, or inside the beautiful dining room. Families and friends await you over at the pool. Muscles are relieved with the in-house masseuses. Congregations of friends are waiting to share laughter around every corner.
A seasoned staff awaits everyone who steps foot on the grounds. The years of experience from the staff here are second to none. Brent Kish, the Head Golf Professional, has been here 30 years. Brian Bach, the General Manager, has been there 29 years. There are golf staffers who have been with Edgewood Country Club over 20 years as well as dining room staff. They all create a warm feeling of comfort and familiarity.
The family atmosphere extends way beyond the staff into the membership. Generations of families have spent their lives and shared memories at ECC. Past Club President, Thad Smith, has been a member for 30 years. He watched his children grow up here and shared many wonderful occasions with them such as holidays, birthdays, and weddings. While family plays a big role here, so do friendships with other members. The camaraderie of the club has created many life-lasting friends.
"It is a neighborhood place," said Smith. "It's the place we all meet at every Friday. When the weekend comes, we can't all wait to meet here. We start the weekends with being here. And we like that. We like that aspect of it."
Tracy Ginster has been a member at the club for 17 years now and spends a lot of time there with her husband and four children. They really love spending time at the pool on those hot summer days. "My youngest daughter is on the swim team," explains Ginster. "We're there several times a week." Her kids are active golfers too. They play together in the afternoons and have also participated in the junior golf program. Her kids have made friends with other children from the golf and swim teams. "Were all friends, the adults. So to get the kids together, we can come up here and have dinner, and they can just do whatever. If they want to go swimming or hit some golf balls, they have those options. That's very fun for us, to have couples that have kids that are within the same age groups."
Edgewood Country Club has been a benefit to the surrounding community. It has supported local high school golf for generations. It has been home to the Walled Lake Central golf teams for decades. ECC has hosted banquets for local high school programs and charities. Also, it has worked with the hospitals and held luncheons and meetings for doctors.
The caddy program has given young people in the community a place to work, to develop communication skills, and earn college scholarships. Thad Smith supports the caddy program and recognizes its benefits to the club and the community. "The caddies walk away from here seeing what's out there for them," said Smith. "It's not just school anymore, they see what highly educated people here have made of themselves and the benefits of hard work. They see a different side of life."
Edgewood has a great lineup of golf and social events each year. The holiday events stand out. Easter, Mother's Day, 4th of July, and New Years are just a few to name. Hundreds of members with their families and friends flock here for the over-the-top food displays, kid's games and general atmosphere. The 4th of July fireworks event is an evening full of live music, games, more food, and a grand finale fireworks show that would rival most major cities. As many as one thousand people have come out for that event, showing just how popular and extraordinary it is.
ECC has the luxuries of a country club that you want to be a part of, but with a casual atmosphere. Everyone knows each other and nobody is ever on guard. Smith adds, "When people come here they fit right in. They are instantly comfortable." It's not an intense or rigid atmosphere. It's a relaxing place, more focused on the golf and the quality time spent with friends and family.
The memories created at Edgewood have lasted for generations of families. Looking at old photos of your children running around in their holiday dresses and ties are life's little bonuses. Looking over at your golf league trophy from when you won it with your best friend only strengthens your relationship. The family atmosphere at ECC truly makes it feel like a home away from home. At the end of the day, these feelings and the simple pleasures of a warm memory is what life is all about.
Brian Bach, PGA, CCM
General Manager Edgewood Country Club