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Doublegate Country Club celebrates 50th anniversary

Eight original members honored

Doublegate Country Club celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday, and eight founding members were present, including, from left, Charlie Jenkins, Curt Hall, Melvyn Murphy and Willa Inman. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

Doublegate Country Club celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday, and eight founding members were present, including, from left, Charlie Jenkins, Curt Hall, Melvyn Murphy and Willa Inman. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

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Children of current Doublegate members were surprised Saturday with exploding golf balls during ceremonial tee shots before the Throwback Golf Tournament. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

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Charlie Jenkins, left, and Curt Hall — both 91 years old and original members at Doublegate Country Club — swap stories during Saturday’s 50th anniversary celebration. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

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Original members of Doublegate Country Club present during Saturday’s 50th anniversary celebration included, from left, Peggy Guillebeau, Bill Lowery, Charlie Jenkins, Curt Hall, Melvyn Murphy, Willa Inman and John Inman Not pictured but present was Carol Kirkland. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

ALBANY — Charlie Jenkins clutched the 35-year-old framed photograph as he told stories about the first days of Doublegate Country Club.

He held the image with pride, pointing to himself in the middle of the front row of Doublegate’s original 10-and-under handicap team

“Those were the roots of Doublegate,” said Jenkins, one of eight original members in attendance Saturday as the country club celebrated its 50th anniversary.

As he sat the photograph down, Melvyn Murphy walked into the lounge, causing the 91-year-old Jenkins to peer over his shoulder.

“Uh oh, here comes another one,” Jenkins said with a laugh.

It was a reunion 50 years in the making for Jenkins, Murphy and many other longtime members, who gathered at Doublegate to celebrate the club’s anniversary and swap decades-old stories as current members played in a Throwback Golf Tournament.

There are 19 original members from the club’s August 1964 founding who are still alive. Those in attendance on Saturday were Jenkins, Murphy, Carol Kirkland, Peggy Guillebeau, Bill Lowery, Curt Hall, John Inman and Willa Inman.

“It’s been a long trip, and a lot of people have contributed to this,” Jenkins said. “But this is one of the best clubs around.”

The dimensions of the course have barely changed since the original members played their first rounds 50 years ago, but the area around the club and its amenities have grown. Once surrounded by farm land and dotted with young trees, the course is now outlined with subdivisions and stocked with giant oaks and pines.

Back in August 1964, the only building on the property was a temporary trailer next to the first tee. Now the grounds hold tennis courts, a swimming pool, eight dining areas in the clubhouse and many more luxuries for its members.

The memories of Doublegate’s infancy are still tucked away in the minds of the original members.

“It was $150 to join back in ’64,” Murphy, 84, said. “I still have my scorecard from opening day. I shot a 119.”

Jenkins chuckled when he heard the score.

“The problem with that is he was keeping his own score,” Jenkins said as he smiled.

It was an afternoon full of laughs and fellowship for Doublegate’s oldest members, who were honored before the tournament during a brief ceremony beside the putting green.

The tournament featured members playing with persimmon woods, non-cavity back irons and blata golf balls — equipment that was replaced long ago with modern clubs and balls.

“We hunted and scraped together the old clubs that are now phased out and went on the internet and found the golf balls,” Everett said.

Everett has been Doublegate’s head pro since 1973, and Murphy said he has been the “glue that has held this place together.”

“Ed is one of the finest pros in the world,” Jenkins said. “We are fortunate to have him at Doublegate.”

For Everett, it was an honor to have so many original members back.

“They were the ones who started this, and they are the ones who had the vision to join,” Everett said.