2013-11-14 / Top News

Imperial Golf Club celebrates 40 years

Sam Snead, Ara Parseghian among early VIP guests

The back of the clubhouse The back of the clubhouse Imperial Golf Club celebrates its 40th anniversary this season by reflecting on its past while looking to the future.

In 1969, developer Lloyd Sheehan purchased 1,000 contiguous acres of remote, undeveloped land in North Naples from several area property owners. By 1972, an agreement had been made by Mr. Sheehan, a young businessman by the name of Jim Murphy and a relatively unknown golf course architect named Arthur Hills. (Mr. Hills has since built dozens of courses throughout Naples and is one of the world’s leading golf course architects).

Construction began in January 1973 on what is now known as Imperial’s East Course, and just 14 months after the initial discussion, the course was completed with 18 holes on 160 acres of wooded land. The 10,000-square-foot clubhouse opened shortly thereafter with a dining room with seating for 120, men’s and ladies’ locker rooms, a pro shop, golf bag storage and club offices. A second course was opened in 1976, and clubhouse additions followed that.

The entry to Imperial Golf Club The entry to Imperial Golf Club A Naples Daily News article from February 1974 reported that Imperial Golf Club’s founding group “read like a Who’s Who snatched from the New York Stock Exchange.” One of the more famous visitors was legendary golfer Sam Snead, who golfed at Imperial at the urging of his former primary assistant, Buddy Cook, who was one of Imperial’s first members. Other notable guests over the years include golf greats Byron Nelson and Lighthorse Harry Cooper, former Notre Dame Football coach Ara Parseghian and LPGA players Jane Blalock, Sandra Palmer and JoAnne Carner.

Today’s Imperial Golf Club is not content to rest on its laurels. Recent improvements include significant renovations to the East Course that added TifEagle greens, nine forward tees and golf-cart GPS systems. The clubhouse recently underwent a comprehensive interior renovation as well.

The East Course The East Course Club members will begin the 40th anniversary season with a golf tournament and dinner dance Friday, Nov. 15. A formal gala is planned for January. For more information, call 597-8165, e-mail MMDirector@imperialgolfclub.org or visit www.imperialgolfclub.org. ¦

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