Virginia Golfer September / October 2014 | Page 22

The clubhouse at Army Navy Country Club features an American Federal-style stone design. VSGA Member Clubs HISTORY’S HOUSE New clubhouse at Army Navy continues to celebrate the club’s and country’s unique aura by LEONARD SHAPIRO Photography by VICKY MOON T he old golf clubs with the worn grips, steel shafts and persimmon woods are propped up next to a file cabinet in the office of Army Navy Country Club general manager Patrick King. On first glance, they look perfectly suitable for pricing and peddling at a neighborhood yard sale, but on further review that would be a grievous mistake. A closer inspection reveals a set of Bobby Jones signature irons and woods, once produced by Spalding, and all bearing another world-class signature as well. The name Dwight D. Eisenhower is engraved in script on each club. Soon, Ike’s presidential sticks will be mounted and displayed in a special case in a prominent place in the club’s spectacular and relatively new $40 million American Federal-style clubhouse. The 103,000-square-foot edifice opened in 2012 and is arguably one of the most impressive facilities of its kind in the D.C. area. Where else but at Army Navy can you walk out on a sprawling ballroom balcony overlooking the ninth hole of the club’s Red Course and be in the shadow of history? The green complex down below actually was built on the ruins of what was once Fort Richardson, constructed during the Civil War to help protect the nation’s capital from a possible invasion by a Confederate army. And oh yes, off in the distance, the Washington Monument is easily visible, standing proud and tall as the perfect backdrop for that memorable photograph for any bride and groom. 20 CAPITAL CONNECTIONS Army Navy was founded in 1924 on the site of an old Knights of Columbus property, with ground broken in 1927 on what are now 27 holes of golf. The club was initially formed to provide outdoor recreational facilities for military officers who had limited time and modest budgets that precluded them from joining Dwight Eisenhower became a member of the Army Navy Country Club as a young officer. His portrait now hangs in the Eisenhower lounge. Eisenhower’s Bobby Jones signature irons, once produced by Spalding, will be put on display. His persimmon driver is one of the many pieces of memorabilia at the club. VIRGINIA GOLFER | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 other private clubs in the area, all of them with high initiation fees and long waiting lists. The club draws most of its membership from active duty and retired commissioned U.S. military and warrant officers from all the branches of the military. A number of civilian members, including many former government workers, also belong to the club. According to its mission statement, the club’s purpose is “to provide, at moderate expense, recreational facilities at or near the National Capital for, and to promote social intercourse among those citizens, military and civilian, who are bound together by the fraternal and patriotic spirit of serving the best interests and efficiency of the National Defense.” Over the years, the membership rolls have included Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz, Army General Omar Bradley and Marine General John A. Lejeune, as well as presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and William J. Clinton. As expected, there is a military motif in the new Arlington clubhouse, filled with paintings and photographs of famous battles and war heroes, as well as old battle flags and other memorabilia. There are four stories in a facility that includes staff offices, restaurants, lounges, ballrooms, locker rooms, a fitness area and pro shops for golf and tennis. There are 32 courts and 27 holes of golf—quite appropriately the red, white and blue nines—on the property. And on a