Edmund B. Ault, a renowned golf course designer who resided in Maryland, was hired and construction began. He designed 6 of Delaware’s 53 current golf courses and was responsible for 92 others in the United States during his lifetime.
The first nine holes opened on June 1, 1963. The Ewing's promoted the game by giving free golf lessons at a makeshift driving range north of the golf course adjacent to Number 2 fairway. Well known in the community, they invited everyone they knew to attend. Many excited potential golfers came to these impromptu sessions and joined the club. Single memberships at the time were $100.00 a year and $120.00 for a family membership with unlimited golf privileges. Other income came from green fees, golf cart rentals, and pro shop purchases. The first year it was opened, Garrisons Lake Golf Club had Eighty (80) Memberships. Everyone was thrilled to have this championship course located in Smyrna, as there was just one other golf course in Kent County, but it was 9 hole course, not 18. There was no clubhouse at the opening, just a cargo container that housed vending machines, a port-a-potty, and a strategically placed restroom and water fountains on the course. Golf carts were kept in a shed next to the barn at the farm house, charged at night and shuttled back and forth every day. It was several years before an automated sprinkler system was installed. An intricate pipe and hose system was used to water the course. Thousands of feet of very large hoses and sprinklers were dragged across fairways and greens by hand and using tractors on an as-needed basis. The Clubhouse was built in 1964 and the putting green and driving range constructed. Mack met his future wife, Carol, that year. On their first date, he took her to Wilmington to pick up floor tile for the clubhouse, and on another to pick up shrubbery to surround the putting green. She quickly realized the golf business came first and foremost. The Olympic size pool was opened by July 4, 1964, with those family memberships costing $90.00 per year and decreased to $75.00 when federal excise tax was eliminated on club memberships. Being the honest person she was, Dot Ewing insisted on reducing the price. Swimming lessons were offered and classes were filled. There were a few times that year when some of the remaining dairy cows escaped. Mack and his friends would use golf carts to herd the dairy cows back to the barn. One time, late at night, several got out and destroyed #2 and #3 greens; Charlie Ewing sold them within hours of the discovery the next day.
Most of the farmers in the area joined the club when they didn't even know how to play golf. Joe & Lou Lamberta had a large potato farm on the north side of Brenford Road where all the houses are now, Willow Wood and Brenford Station was a farm owned by Walter and Esther Gibe before most of it was sold to Joe Wick, Frank & Hester Ryan's farm was on Ryan Road, and on and on. All of these wonderful people were so supportive of each other's endeavors as well as being good neighbors. Joe Lamberta was the only man that did play golf, Esther & Hester joined the Women Golfers; the others used the pool and they always showed up for all club functions. And, many times in the summer after Mack's dad got done playing golf he would invite everyone that was still at the club to stay to eat dinner. He would have us go buy crabs or steaks, sweet corn, watermelons, etc. He would get beer (before the bar and liquor license) get the very long grill going and there would be 20 to 40 people there eating and having a good time. He just loved all people and they felt the same about him.
Both Charlie and Dot took the game of golf very seriously. Dot became an expert on the rules and etiquette of golf and was asked to be a judge for most major Women’s tournaments held throughout Delaware. She also made winning or losing decisions for several Men’s tournaments. No one ever questioned or disputed her knowledge. Charlie maintained a 4-6 handicap, and played at least 5 times a week. Flowerbeds were put in at every tee and Pink Flags with black lace were used on the greens on Ladies’ Day every Wednesday. Charlie was not a fan of those flags! 1964 was a banner year for the Ewing’s, as Charlie was Men’s Club Champion, Dot was the Women’s Club Champion, and Mack was the Junior Club Champion. Sadly, Mack never again scored as well as he did then. In the 70’s Dot won the Delaware Women’s Golf Association Classic tournament held at Rock Manor Golf Club, giving her the title of #1 Woman Amateur in DE and also placed at top in the Sears Women’s Classic.
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