History behind Aiken's Palmetto Golf Club

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Thursday, April 11, 2019
News 12 at 11

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta National isn't the only course seeing some action this week. Aiken's Palmetto Golf Club has been going strong since 1892.

Tom Moore was hired at Aiken's Palmetto Golf Club in 1982 but he knows his history even further back.

"This club is responsible for Augusta National being built in Augusta and not in Atlanta," said Moore.

Many of Augusta National's founding members were once members here.

"Just about all the early champions at Augusta National used to play here at a one-day pro-am," said Moore.

Back in those days, the 1950s, there was more money to be won in a single day at the Palmetto pro-am than at Augusta.

"Bobby Jones used to play out here a lot. And the seventh hole he said was the best middle play par three he'd ever played," said Moore.

Legendary names like Crenshaw, Snead, and Demaret have all come through these gates.

"Byron Nelson, Bob Hogan, Bobby Jones, we've got people that have been coming for thirty-plus years," said Moore.

Today, the club is still thriving.

“This is the only week out of the year where we allow outside play," said Moore.

During the Masters, anyone can play here.

"From 7 o'clock until 4 o'clock there's someone out there on the tee every 10 minutes," said Moore.

In one long weekend, they can make a quarter of a million dollars and it all gets put right back into keeping the course pristine.

“This is as close as most of these people are ever going to get to playing Augusta National," said Moore.

But for Moore, it's bigger than just this week. It's this club's rich tradition and beauty that made him fall in love and kept him here all this time.

"Thirty-eight years later I'm still here," said Moore.

Moore says the club still has more history to make, especially with the expanding role golf week plays in the area.

The Palmetto Golf Club will stay open to the public through the Monday after the Masters. Right now they have a member waiting list that is five years long.