Riverside Country Club
Jack Reid, an early businessman in Lake Jackson as well as an avid golfer, named his daughter Pala Ann Reid (initials “PAR”) – saying it would be the only “par” he would ever have! Jack loved the game of golf and was a charter member of Riverside Country Club.
Riverside had its beginnings in 1955, when three golfers, Dr. Alan Stewart, Dr. Gerald Perryman, and Ted Walker, decided that driving 30 minutes to the nearest golf course in Old Ocean was just a little too far! They gathered a group of about 100 interested people and developed a plan to start a golf course and recreational facility in Lake Jackson.
The plan was to have a membership of 500, an initiation fee of $500.00 and monthly dues of $20.00. The original cost of the clubhouse, golf course, swimming pool, and other facilities was $250,000. A lucky break came to the group when Dr. A. P. Beutel agreed to sell land owned by The Dow Chemical Company for $1.00 per acre – said to be the deal of the century. In June, 1957, the swimming pool was finished and the first nine holes shortly thereafter. The grand opening was October 3, 1957, and was quite the affair, with a big band coming down from Houston. Unfortunately, about 10 years following the opening, the clubhouse was destroyed by fire, but a larger one was built in its place and opened two years later.
Riverside flourished for close to 50 years, providing all types of recreation. The golf course attracted top golfers from the Houston area, who would come down to play in the Member-Guest and Club Championship tournaments, saying it was a “diamond in the rough”. A write-up of the course described its layout: “Riverside is flat with narrow, tree-lined fairways and average-sized greens. The highlight here is the spectacular, peaceful setting on the shores of Brazoria Lake and the Brazos River. Spanish moss covers the trees and the lake divides the course in half, coming into play on 10 holes. The course is loaded with bridges that enable golfers to traverse the lakes, jumping from tee to green hole after hole.”
Besides the golf course, there was a large ballroom for formal gatherings, and dining facilities supported by expert chefs named “Blue Bell” and “Johnnie Mae”. The teenage boys would bring them fish they had caught in the lake in exchange for a delicious Riverside hamburger, which gave the Dairy Bar hamburger a run for its money!
The tennis courts, swimming pool, lake with a dock and boats, and the bar which featured live music from local groups provided entertainment for all members of the family. A local resident, Marvin Rod, who enjoyed Riverside for over 25 years likened it to Bushwood Country Club from the movie “Caddyshack”, saying “it was an old traditional Country Club, with a golf course, locker rooms, a restaurant, lake, and delicious food – just an all-around great place with so much to do!”
The only drawback to the Riverside Country Club golf course, as Jack Reid would have told you, was that “It was closed on Mondays!”
by Frances Hammond