One of the world’s most famous golf courses should never have emerged from the once nursery grounds of Augusta. In fact, there was a huge hotel project that should have seen the light of day in 1927…
The story makes most golf lovers shiver:Augusta National Golf ClubThe Masters Theatre, it almost didn’t exist! Flaw of a pharaonic project for the hotel promoter J. Perry Stoltz. A visionary, he set his sights in 1925 on this pleasant part of Georgia, whose population he predicted would quadruple in a quarter century.
But really, what was there before?
As a preamble to this horror story, it is necessary to address the horticultural past of the earth. In 1854 Review Editor southern farmer Dennis Redmond The 148 hectare site is used for planting fruit trees. Later, a house was built there – one of the first in the south in cement – which today forms the central core of the Augusta Club.
A farm of fruit, azaleas and magnolias
The business collapsed and Redmond was forced to cede the land in 1857 to a Belgian baron, Louis Berkmans. With his son Prosper, a horticulturalist, he created this botanist Frutland Nurseries For the development of fruit species and ornamental trees. In particular, they planted an alley of magnolia that was to become famous magnolia lining… The business is successful: the arboretum is the most thriving in the southern United States, thanks in particular to the cultivation of peach trees and azaleas.
Prosper Berkmans death leads to sale
The successive deaths of Louis in 1883 and the death of his son Prosper in 1910 weakened the company. Inheritance plans to separate the land into two parts. One for his three sons who will gradually lose interest in the place and one for his second wife. This will turn the house into a large tea room. It left the arboretum in management from 1919 to 1925, and was finally sold to the concerned J. Perry Stoltz.
The Commodore wants to repeat its hotel in Miami
The land was left somewhat deserted for a few years, and was purchased in September 1925 by J. Perry Stoltz who liked to call himself “The Commodore”. This promoter made his entire fortune manufacturing the predecessor of the pinball machine before he built the majestic Fleetwood Hotel in Miami. ugly !
A 15-storey hotel with a tower of 30 meters
We’re in our roaring twenties, everything is exaggerated. Not only does Stoltz intend to invest in Augusta, but in Tennessee and North Carolina as well! Three hotel projects identical to the one already implemented in Miami: 15 floors with 300 rooms and a 30-meter tower To plant a radio antenna there. Larger!
The Fleetwood Hotel, estimated to cost $2 million, is slated to open in 1927. The house must have served as an office during the works before it was destroyed. Hello !
Hotel resort equipped with … a golf course!
Among the many recreational facilities planned, the construction of a golf course. But the Commodore does not plan to make it the flagship. For him, it is just simple additional equipment, the design of which is also entrusted to the hotel project manager. Let’s go well!
A project born dead due to the excessive ambition of Stoltz
If the first concrete slabs are poured into the hotel, then the work will not go further. Leading the construction of 3 hotels at the same time is a very daring task, especially without enough funds. In January 1926, he abandoned the project. And the hurricane that hit Miami in September, destroying his hotel, once and for all extinguished all hope. Phew!
The crisis of 1929 precluded any other project, even …
company land owner Washington Heights Development He tries to set up another, less ambitious hotel project, but the funds are few and the crisis of 1929 complicates matters further …
Two years later, in 1931, confirmed Bobby Jones and his partner Clifford Roberts Offering 60% less than the price set in 1925. The duo’s first deal was to put the Masters and Augusta tournament on the surface of the world. But this is another, less terrifying story.