Williams Golf and Country Club has a story to tell, and it begins in 1931.
How the Course Began
“If these walls could talk,” comes to mind when sitting in the Grand Ballroom. One can imagine stately dinners and festive galas where women in fancy hats and sleek dresses danced the night away with gentlemen in tailored suits to the sounds of big band music. The Great Depression, brought about by the stock market crash of 1929 was beginning to take effect. Few companies were thriving, but a man by the name of John C. Williams had hope, and the company for which he was president, Weirton Steel, was still turning a profit. Weirton Steel purchased 150 picturesque acres above the Ohio River, and J.C. Williams reserved it with visions of creating a civic center and a golf course. Plans were set into motion when Emil “Dutch” Loeffler and John McGlynn were hired to design the 9-hole golf course which eventually grew to 18 holes and was named Williams Country Club after its founder.
Ernest T. Weir was one of the most significant figures in the history of the American steel industry. He and J.C. Williams became business associates in 1905, and along with others turned a small rural community north of Holliday’s Cove in Hancock County, West Virginia into a thriving industrial steel complex that became the world’s largest tin plate producer; the quickly growing town surrounding the mill became known as Weirton.
Weir and Williams commissioned a stone mansion to be built for their families in 1931; The Lodge, which was built on the property of Williams Country Club, became their summer and weekend home. Many important political meetings and events ensued at the Lodge in the years to come; Time Magazine featured an article in an 1937 edition that highlighted the wedding of Margaret Weir, niece of Ernest Weir, held on the home’s front lawn. “The bride, a pretty girl gowned in white marquisette with French orange blossoms around her waist, carried a white prayer book and a spray of white orchids.”
Construction began in 1932 for a large stone clubhouse; the site would be on the edge of the golf course with grand views of the Ohio River. The Lodge and the Clubhouse were composed of sandstone transported by barge from Isabella, Pennsylvania via the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers and was skip hoisted up the steep hillside to the two sites.
Weirton Steel survived the Great Depression and prospered during World War II and the post-war era, but its slow decline began in the1960s when foreign competition entered the market. Ownership of Williams Country Club and Weirton Steel was transferred to its employees in 1984 in an attempt to save the struggling steel mill, but it inevitably entered into bankruptcy in 2003.
In May of 2015, James C. Markovitz, a Pennsylvania businessman with his own impressive history in steel manufacturing, and long-standing member of Williams Country Club made the decision to purchase the club with hopes of restoring it to its former glory for the members and the community. “It’s really all about the people in this life,” says J.C., “and we want to provide them with a beautiful place to make their own memories and add to the history of this wonderful club.”
Williams Country Club was renamed to Williams Golf and Country Club in 2015.
Since Markovitz obtained ownership, several renovations were completed, and continue to be worked on, to restore and improve the Club’s conditions, including:
Updated chandeliers & paint (2016)
New fleet of golf carts (Spring of 2017)
Green-side bunker renovation (Spring of 2017)
Clubhouse renovations: New ballroom floors, brand-new updated & expanded bar, new carpets (Beginning of 2018)
Fairway bunker renovations (Spring of 2018)
300+ trees have been removed (Ongoing since 2016)
2,000+ square foot deck on the back of the Pro Shop with new awnings (forthcoming) to create a nice outdoor space (Summer 2018)
New carpeting in the Grille Room (Winter of 2018)
Throughout the years, Williams has been noted for being one of the best maintained and beautiful golf courses in the region and these renovations have only contributed to its fabulous condition.
The golf course has always provided an excellent challenge for the expert golfer as many notable events have been staged here throughout the years by the United States Golf Association, West Virginia Golf Association, Tri-State PGA and the Ohio Golf Association. More importantly, the golf course has appealed to the masses because it has always been a very user-friendly golf course that is a joy to play on a daily basis.
In addition, the Clubhouse and River views offer breathtaking backdrops for weddings and all types of celebrations, complete with delicious world-class cuisine and top-notch service.
We hope you will visit our beautiful, historic Country Club soon!