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The Richmond-area's oldest public golf course prepares for its final round

Glenwood Golf 2.png
Posted at 1:59 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-16 09:44:17-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Maurice Angel and Ben Hoskyns will not be mistaken for Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, but the competition between the friends remains fierce.

On this particular day, the self-described duffers find a new course.

“Man, this is a blast,” said Maurice. “It is challenging, but not too difficult.”

“You get yourself behind one of these oak trees so it is challenging. You got to stay on your game,” added Ben.

Glenwood Golf Club on Creighton Road is the oldest public course in the Richmond area and has attracted new and old golfers since opening in 1927.

The course is older than Augusta National.

Harry Johnson’s love affair with Glenwood stretches back 70 years. The Church Hill native started honing his skills here in the 1950s.

The 90-year-old embraces the no-frills of Glenwood.

“It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. I’m telling you,” Harry said. “We just love it here. It's just great that’s all.”

If you’re looking for a country club atmosphere, Frank Adams will tell you that you’ve come to the wrong place.

“It was a dairy farm and before that, it was a plantation,” Frank said. “It is retro. It has been my clubhouse and my home for 50 years, so I like it.”

Frank started working here in 1969, when he was 15 years old and never left.

In a half-century, Frank has learned every blade of grass and bunker.

Frank said the fraternity at his course remains unmatched.

“We have a very diverse clientele now. We treat everyone the same. It is a good feeling,” said Frank.

Twenty-five years ago he and partner Harry Griffin bought Glenwood. The late-John Cook sold his interest in the course after retiring in 2008. For Frank Adams owning Glenwood has been a true labor of love ever since. 

“This is a seven days a week job, from sun up to sun down every day,” said Frank.

But sitting on their own back nine, the owners are loosening their grip forever.

“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely it is hard,” said Frank. “This is my life. This is Glenwood Golf Course as I know it.”

A developer is buying the 125-acre property. Fairways and greens will give way to nearly 300 homes.

“The people. I’m going to miss the people the most,” said Frank. “You know, it is hard to get over and get rid of something you felt like it was your child for the last 52 years.”

For Glenwood’s faithful, the course’s demise ranks worse than a triple bogie.

“I’m going to miss it a lot. Going to miss it a lot,” said Willie Koger. ”A lot of other people feel the same way.”

All agree though solid rounds eventually run their course.

“Each shot matters to us because each hole, each green each everything is a special place within the place,” said golfer Mac Wilson.

Frank Adams final approach is filled with nostalgia.

“It is heart-wrenching,” described Frank. “I want to be the last guy to hit a golf shot out here for sure. I want to hit a good one for sure.”

Golfers Ben Haskyns and Maurice Angel wish they discovered Glenwood sooner.

“It hurts,” said Maurice. “Because this is a treasure in Richmond, right?”

“It is tough to see a course like this go away,” said Ben.

For Harry Johnson, the thought of saying goodbye is rough. The senior golfer will swing away as much as he can while teeing up a golf bag full of memories.

“You just getting out and have a lot of fun,” said Harry. “I cherish each and every shot. I hate to see it go. I will say that 10 million times. I really will.”

If you want to play one more round, Glenwood will be open through next summer.

Adams and Griffin will hold one final birthday tournament at the golf course next April when Glenwood turns 95 years old.

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