Located in Tifton, Georgia, Spring Hill Country Club’s growth and development came from the grand traditions of the Deep South. Its heritage is uniquely entwined with the cultural growth and the turf development of the Tift County area. The land originally owned by Jack Wright, contained a natural spring behind the Number 5 green and was a gathering place for local families in the early 1900’s. It was here at Murrow Springs, where people would gather to picnic, swim and socialize. The story of how this evolved into Spring Hill Country Club is steeped in southern traditions of how things were done “back in the day”. It is also an integral part of the historical development of turf and turf management that has become a major focus both educationally and industrially in the Tifton and Tift County area. Spring Hill’s part in this history is what creates much of its uniqueness.
In the early 1940’s a group of people with an interest in golf and having a local golf facility organized themselves as “The Tifton Country Club”. They incorporated in June of 1941 for the purposes of developing a recreational facility available to private members. This facility was developed off Kaletown Road that now holds the Church of God Campground, State Offices and retirement homes.
In the early 1960’s interest was developing amongst a number of members of “The Tifton Country Club” to have an expanded facility with 18 holes for golf and other improved features. From 1963 until 1965 many developmental meetings were held and much excitement was generated to undertake this seemingly impossible task. The enthusiasm generated caused one person to comment that “it was like a group of young southern gentleman in 1860 getting ready to head north and whoop up on the Yankees”.
Approximately 135 acres of grazing land was procured and an additional 15 acres acquired later to hold the golf course, clubhouse, parking lot and other amenities. Under the supervision and direction of Ray Jensen, the present 18-hole course was designed and built. Many other people took an active part in the planning and design of the course. In fact, the back nine is a hodge podge of ideas that came from Ray Jenson, Osie Jones, Robert Trent Jones, Willard Byrd, Arthur Davis, and George Cobb. Mr. Jensen was quoted as saying “mob rule prevailed and creative financing ideas flowed freely”. These men should be credited for their bold ideas and innovative approaches that allowed Spring Hill Country Club to come into existence and also to be historically unique. Its first uniqueness was being built as a beautiful complete 18 hole country club at such a fraction of the cost normally assigned to such a high quality facility. Elston Johnson is acknowledged for the construction and design of the clubhouse.
Spring Hill’s course was designed with narrow fairways that wind through woodland with small sand traps strategically placed to test the golfers control off the tees and through the fairways. The greens are purposefully small to require pinpoint accuracy in the approach game and their exceptional surface will challenge even the most seasoned putter. Ray Jensen was also the owner of Southern Turf Nurseries and was at the forefront of turf development, having built and seeded courses not only in the U.S. but also in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Japan. At Spring Hill he created the first 18 hole course to be completely seeded, both fairways and greens with the best grasses available at the time. These grasses came to be known as the Dwarf mutant Tifton 419 and 328 strains.
Spring Hill Country Club was officially formed out of the old “Tifton Country Club” in 1965. The name originated from the Murrow Springs and the fact that the clubhouse was built on the highest point in Tifton. In its charter it states that it was formed to provide facilities and functions for the recreation and pleasure of the members and their guests. It also states its commitment to encouraging and promoting athletics to its members and to the high school and college teams in the area. Lastly, it declared a commitment to be a supporter of the Sheriff’s Boys Ranch and other charitable organizations.
Spring Hill Country Club has a wonderful history full of small town southern tradition and heritage. It is the home course of Nancy Bowen, winner of the 1995 Dinah Shore LPGA Open.
The club recognizes its heritage and small town southern traditions while also being conscious of its legacy. To insure this, we will continue to support the local youth and school teams, host competitive high school and junior tournaments and continue our tradition of charitable tournaments like the “Mark Richt Bulldog Classic.” Spring Hill assures that it will deliver the highest quality to the members while reaching into the community in the most positive of ways to continue growing.