By Susan Jenior
A gathering of former members and current golfers recently enjoyed a night to remember at the Fairways at Twin Lakes, the former Twin Lakes Country Club as a time capsule, buried 50 years ago, was unearthed.
The gathering, planned by Bryan Harvey, current manager of the Fairways of Twin Lakes, invited everyone to bring their memorabilia to share for the evening.
Once a premier private club in Northeast Ohio, the current Fairways at Twin Lakes is now a thriving public, nine-hole golf course and home to the successful Kent Roosevelt girls golf team.
The nine-hole tract opened 100 years ago as a private country club.
Built in 1923, the club was designed by Sandy Alves, a construction manager for Donald Ross.
The duo, Alves and Ross, designed several golf courses in Northeast Ohio including Acacia Country Club, Ridgewood Golf Course in Parma and two courses at Highland Park.
The golfers and visitors, interested in the history of the club, included golf professionals that had previously called Twin Lakes home, community members and current staff of the public course now called the Fairways at Twin Lakes.
As the club reached its 50-year mark, a time capsule was buried on Oct. 27, 1973.
A letter to members in the time capsule by club president at the time, Loris Troyer, explained the reason for the capsule.
“This time capsule you have unearthed this day contains treasures of another era, which saw man’s final walk on the moon, world peace was at best an uncertain condition, years marked by robust industrial production and an unbelievable progress in the conquest of disease.”
This capsule was buried on Oct. 27 in a ceremony that concluded Twin Lakes Country Club’s Golden Anniversary celebration. The capsule was to be unearthed 50 years later “if the club is still in existence,” offered Troyer.
Members added, “We can only hope, as you open this capsule, that the world in 2023 is graced by a lasting peace, that the United States remains a strong and vibrant nation, that its people are happy and filled with the promise of tomorrow.”
The contents of the capsule, members hoped, preserved them for their true historical significance.
The capsule was buried as the culmination of two years celebrating the 50th anniversary of Twin Lakes. Burying the capsule was Troyer, along with Dick Wiland, Alexander Smith and Mrs. Wiland. Mr. and Mrs. Wiland were co-chairmen of the Golden Anniversary Committee and Smith was the son of Roy H. Smith, club founder and first president.
Unfortunately, the capsule was not completely sealed, and documents had water damage but the members present brought their own historical artifacts for everyone present to see. Golf professionals talked about their time leading the club.
Butch Morrette, son of the longtime pro, Howard Morrette, a PGA professional, talked about growing up at the golf course.
Morrette showed documents, the letter from Troyer, and a pic of his 1-year-old self on the practice putting green in front of the original clubhouse in 1951.
A document from 1922 detailed the beginnings of the club, including a July 15, 1922 afternoon meeting at Twin Lakes to study the best layout for the golf grounds and a March 1922 meeting with George Alves, directors of the Associated Land Company and Ohio Twin Lakes Golf Club.
On Labor Day, 1923, after numerous meetings, the formal opening of The Twin Lakes Country Club was achieved. Smith noted in his diary that the afternoon and evening included heavy rain.
After a memorable history of golf tournaments, social events and leagues, Twin Lakes Country Club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as they sought to boost membership in April of 2009.
The country club closed on Halloween in 2009.
It was purchased by the Beck family of Ravenna and reopened in 2011 as The Fairways at Twin Lakes, a public golf course maintained by longtime superintendent Howard Burns and managed by Bryan Harvey, former Kent Roosevelt educator and current golf coach for the Rough Riders. Harvey runs a successful “Little Lady Riders” Instructional Golf Summer League, alongside junior varsity coach Larry Picicco at the Fairways.
Butch Morrette noted, as he talked about the country club, that the current staff and owner have been successful at maintaining the popularity of the club he loves.
Clearly emotional standing in the newly built log cabin clubhouse on the grounds of the golf club, Morrette had fond memories of the past that are merging with the current course. Many former members of the club continue to play the public course and enjoy the many events that continue to thrive at The Fairways at Twin Lakes.
Anyone may call for a tee time at The Fairways at Twin Lakes and enjoy the memorabilia that grace the walls of the log cabin clubhouse.
The Fairways at Twin Lakes is located at 1540 Overlook Road in Kent. Call 330-673-7888 for additional information.