Over half a century ago, a young, visionary couple took a chance to fulfill some of their hopes and dreams when they bought an old, abandoned golf course. Charles “Doc” Walters, an optometrist, and his wife, Doris, bought the property just south of Highway 70 and near Highway 94. They wanted to build something that would provide socialization and recreation for theirs and other families in the area. It was the early 1960’s, and a little over fifty-thousand people claimed St. Charles County as their home.
At the time of the purchase, the grounds were simple but adequate; the golf course, for example, consisted of nine holes and was a previously public course. The clubhouse was a mere 1,200 square feet, but it was satisfactory. At this time, the building, which was built in 1926, was just a dance floor with a screened-in porch. It included a fireplace, which was a focal point, and which remained throughout future renovations. There was a small pro shop and food and beverage area on the lower level, but the club was not yet allowed to serve alcohol. Instead, they operated as a bottle service, allowing members to bring their own alcohol.
However, despite the property’s humble beginnings, Charles and Doris were determined to work hard to make their dream of providing a private club a reality. Within a year or so of purchasing the grounds, in May of 1962, the club had reopened and over the course of the next decade, they began offering semi-private memberships.
During this time, the population in St. Charles County exploded, nearly doubling by the end of the decade. Entire families and individual golfers continued to frequent the club, and about ten years after their first tee time in the early sixties, the course was expanded to eighteen holes. The 1972 renovation also included the addition of locker rooms, a swimming pool, dining areas, and a lounge. Food and beverage dining areas were added upstairs. In another ten years, the club membership would become fully private, although there were some areas of the clubhouse that remained open to the public for weddings, banquets, and meetings. The final expansion was in 1989-90, replacing the pool with a larger one in place of the tennis courts., and replacing the older, dark, Spanish-like interiors with a more traditional club feel. The exterior went from Spanish style to the Cedar shingles everyone remembers.
Although the membership has been fully private since about 1980, the club has maintained an open and inviting relationship with the community. There are dining areas, both casual and more formal. Community groups and corporation are all welcome to rent areas for their events and business meetings. Wedding receptions and other like gatherings can find beauty and hospitality in the clubhouse, and the food is top quality.
President and General Manager Angel Walters Likens describe their facilities as a unique offering to the community.
Angel isn’t the only Walters to continue the family tradition of working at the country club. While it was her grandparents that purchased and began the establishment, her father, Dennis Walters, and brother Dennis Walters Jr. both have a hand in the operations. While the elder Walters serves as chairman of the board, the younger is the Head Teaching Professional. This truly is a family operation. Whole families are invited to enjoy all activities from baby to parents to grandparents.
While the Walters’ commitment to the community is unwavering, it has never been put the to the test like it was over the past year. In February of 2017, tragedy struck. A roaring blaze, with flames fifty feet high at times, tore through the clubhouse, ravaging nearly the entire structure. Firefighters from four separate companies responded, working over three hours to put out the main fire, and then continuing well into the night to curb hotspots. Gratefully, while the response was quick and professional, unfortunately, the building was a total loss. Many memories were turned to ash that night as well, but the Walters family and the board of directors were determined to build an even better clubhouse for their members and the community.
Even before the first nail was placed, they applied their tradition of family-driven quality into the process. Angel recalls the “extensive research” that she and the board undertook, regarding the whole design process. For example, they closely studied the trends in the golf club industry and took into account both the members’ needs and the community’s needs. Based on their findings, the actual building project commenced a few months later.
One thing they decided to do was to split the clubhouse into two parts. This divide allows for greater privacy for members, who now have a section that is more separate from the areas designed for community gatherings. Also, their research indicated that casual and outdoor dining were some features that would be popular, and so areas designated for those functions were added. In keeping with their family-friendly theme, the kids room was enhanced. The pool was upgraded to add a pool bar and a kitchen. While the banquet ballroom is visually stunning, it also boasts state-of-the-art audio and video systems to satisfy other senses.
The renovations also include a fitness center for members and a golf simulator that helps golfers improve their game. You can adjust the wind and elevation to offer an endless quantity of playing conditions. You use the same clubs as you would on the actual golf course.
This new clubhouse, which opened in May, is something for the Walters family, the board, club members, and the community to be proud of. While the fire may have temporarily slowed operations,the redesign has resulted in an even better experience for all attendees. Usually, a project of this magnitude would require 18-24 months to complete. Angel and her team, along with Brinkmann Constructors, rallied together to reduce the timeframe by well under half, taking only nine months from groundbreaking to ribbon cutting. While the golf course was still open during construction and the members utilized a temporary clubhouse, they will be able to once again use their beloved clubhouse.
“The Walters family is really pleased to have done this for the community,” says the elder Dennis, “and I am thankful to my parents for starting the club and giving me this opportunity. I am proud to have run the club for 20 years, and am confident in handing the torch off to my daughter Angel and my son Dennis Jr. to continue our family legacy for the next 40-50 years.” The family would like to thank the members for their patience and the community for their support during the construction. And the staff for helping to create a new state-of-the-art facility that everyone can be proud of.
While non-members are welcome to reserve banquet space, those interested in membership have several options available. From packages covering all amenities for the entire family, to just the social amenities, or something in between. There is an option suitable for everyone!
Bogey Hills Country Club is glad to be fully back in the swing of things, and looks forward to seeing members and guests once again enjoying the Club.