Belleair Country Club near Tampa, FL. in is celebrating its 125th anniversary with the publishing of “Florida’s First Golf Course,’’ 185-page picture-laden coffee table book written by Hal Bodley, dean of American baseball writers jand a founder of USA TODAY.
Bodley, a former president of Belleair CC, presents a comprehensive narrative and visual presentation of what has made this club so intriguing since it was founded in 1897 by Henry Plant in 1897.
Gleaned from two years of research, including hundreds of interviews, Bodley tells the stories of the club’s first three golf professionals (U.S. Open winners) and of how important legendary golf course architect Donald Ross was to Belleair.
The book also tells the story of Plant’s sprawling Belleview Hotel – the “Great White Queen of the Gulf’’ – without which there would not be the two Ross-designed courses. Yet without the golf courses, the hotel and resort would not have been so renowned.
One of the oldest golf clubs in Florida, Belleair plans to re-open in mid-November following a massive restoration of its historic West Course by Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design.
Photo Courtesy of Belleair Country Club