Monday, June 11, 2001

Big Blue, tee times a match

Golf club adopts UK emblems, teams

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — Developers believe green and Big Blue pride make for a perfect match at the University Club of Kentucky.

        The private golf course on Leestown Road is licensed to use UK trademarks and is also the new home to UK's men's and women's golf teams.

        “If you love UK, this is the place to be,” said Johnna Lanter, the club's membership director.

        The club, formerly known as the Players Club, marked its grand opening this weekend by honoring C.M. Newton for his six-decade career at the university, including 12 years as athletics director. “C.M. Newton stands for what the university and inter-collegiate athletics are about,” said UK associate athletics director Kyle Moats.

        Wildcat blue dominates the clubhouse, where a stained-glass picture of legendary basketball coach Adolph Rupp will eventually greet visitors. Trophies, spanning different eras of several sports, fill cases in the entryway. Members can rest on a wildcat-print couch.

        Although the university does not have a financial investment in the club, it receives a 5 percent royalty from memberships.

        Ms. Lanter said the club is limiting its sales to 700 local memberships. Additional national and regional members who live farther from Lexington can also join. So far, the club has sold 300 memberships.

        Local members pay $8,000 for initiation fees and $185 a month. Fees and dues are less for UK faculty, staff and students, as well as regional and national members. All members have to donate $250 annually to UK.

        “One of the key elements is the tie with the university,” said Tim Tierney, president of Arnold Palmer Golf Management, which is developing the club as a joint venture with University Clubs of America. “Yes, you want to have a quality private club, but you get the social atmosphere with UK activities.”

        The club has two 18-hole courses and on-site teaching. The Wildcat course is open, while the Big Blue course is being renovated. The club will also feature two practice facilities for members and the university's golf teams.

        UCA opened a similar course in South Carolina in 1995 and has two under construction — one in Shelby County for the University of Louisville and one in Alabama scheduled to open later this month. University Club of Kentucky members receive reciprocal privileges at these clubs.

        People identify with where they attended college and that creates a community, UCA managing director Paul Degenhart said.


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