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The Golf Course

A key component of Kilgore’s vision for Fripp Island was a first class golf course. He envisioned it as the centerpiece of a country club. Again limited by funding, Kilgore’s plan was to create a club that would then have responsibility for the care of the golf course. On December 7, 1962, bylaws were adopted for the Fripp Island Country club, a nonprofit corporation, with membership limited to property owners and stockholders of the Fripp Island Resort. Under the leadership of the resort, the new corporation was capitalized for $350,000. This represented 350 charter memberships at $1,000 each. In 1963 the resort deeded to the country club the golf course but retained the land around the fairways from which they hoped to realize $3 million for the sale of four hundred lots. George Cobb, a nationally renewed golf course architect, designed the course with lagoons and traps to add to the beauty of the scenic location. It had over a mile of oceanfront and three fourths of a mile fronting on the Fripp Inlet. Some of the course was built on what was marsh that flooded at high tide. The dredging of lagoons provided dirt to fill in the marshland and to supply an over flow area for storm water.

On September 26, 1964, the first nine holes of the course opened for play and by Thanksgiving weekend, all eighteen holes were ready. At first it was simply called the Fripp Island Golf Course but in 1981 the name changed to Ocean Point Golf Links. From the beginning, the financial operation of the golf course proved to be a critical problem. Kilgore’s plan for the club to operate the course was not viable. Construction loans needed to be repaid and the income from greens fees was insufficient for funding the required maintenance. But Kilgore proceeded with the construction of a golf clubhouse. Built in 1965 on a vantage point on the northeastern tip of the island, the contemporary clubhouse had an open patio connecting the pro shop and locker rooms with a snack bar. Patio seats offered a panoramic view. However, the future of this course with spectacular views was in financial jeopardy.