West Point, MS Old Waverly Golf Club of Mississippi is celebrating its
silver anniversary this year. As the club reaches the 25-year benchmark, it
honors its beginnings and the milestones that have led to the acclaim it
In the early 1980s, the idea for a championship level golf course evolved in
founder George Bryan¹s mind first as a state park course that adjoined
Waverley Mansion in east Clay County. While legislators thought the idea
justified funding a feasibility study, they ultimately decided that
providing for a series of golf courses throughout Mississippi would be
beyond the scope of the state¹s budget.
It was at that point that Bryan turned his focus toward creating a private
course. He, along with several local community leaders, put together a
group of 30 founders who each bought a membership and a lot adjacent to what
would become the golf course. Bryan contracted with the highly acclaimed
team of Jerry Pate and Bob Cupp to design the course on a property located
just east of West Point that featured rolling, contoured hills and peaceful
lakes surrounded by age-old evergreens.
In a tribute to his Scottish heritage and his family¹s Southern roots, Bryan
named the course Old Waverly and hired architectural firm Pryor & Morrow to
design the Greek revival clubhouse and other amenities, as well as to lay
out the residential plan.
Bryan knew the club would need to reach beyond the small population base of
Mississippi¹s Golden Triangle in order to be successful.
³From the beginning, Old Waverly was developed as a regional club,² he says.
³We built cottages for groups to come stay and play golf for the weekend
before we built the clubhouse.²
His strategy paid off. While the majority of current members come from the
200-mile radius he targeted, it is impressive to note that the club boasts
members from 22 states and several foreign countries. Some of the more well
known members include NFL greats Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Reggie Kelly and
Highlights through the years include hosting the USGA¹s 2005 U.S. Women¹s
Mid-Amateur Championship, several Southeastern Conference Championships and
the internationally televised 1999 U.S. Women¹s Open Championship. Old
Waverly still holds the number two spot in all-time attendance for a U.S.
Women¹s Open with 126,000 fans.
³It couldn¹t have been a more successful tournament,² shares Kenny Dill,
mayor of West Point during the Open. ³Media were here from more than 100
came from all over to make the event happen. It still gives me chills when
I think about everybody¹s can do¹ attitude primarily George Bryan¹s.
After it was over, we received a number of letters from different
organizations commenting on the wonderful Southern hospitality. It really
made a difference in some people¹s attitudes about Mississippi.²
In addition to professional and high level amateur events, Old Waverly has
also been the site of a number of charity fundraisers including the
Governor¹s Cup an event hosted by then-governor Haley Barbour to raise
funds for rebuilding the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.
³Over the past 25 years, Old Waverly Golf Club has been a staple of
Mississippi as one of its premier courses,² says Barbour. ³Beyond providing
a championship quality venue for golfers everywhere, they¹ve also given back
to Mississippi. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Old Waverly offered
to host our inaugural Governor¹s Cup Golf Tournament which raised more than
$300,000 for the victims of the storm. Old Waverly is a shining example of
the beauty Mississippi has to offer.²
Old Waverly has been a tremendous benefit to the state in other ways as
well. Having a place to entertain and house industrial prospects has been a
factor in the development of over $4.6 billion in new area industry since
“Old Waverly has given us a world class facility to recruit and support
world class companies,” comments Joe Max Higgins, executive director of the
Golden Triangle Development LINK.
Although the strengths of the club are many, Bryan attributes most of its
success to the members, employees and the championship golf course.
³Our employees have a tremendous amount of experience. They treat our
members and guests with sincere hospitality,² states Bryan. ³Some have been
in managerial positions for 20 years or longer, and our family has been
involved in this, too.²
Bryan¹s son, Wilkes, serves as the club¹s general manager and has been a
part of the club¹s growth for over 20 years.
Wilkes comments on the course, ³Local members never tire of playing it. The
beauty of the design is in its diversity. Each hole provides a different
experience. Even the changing seasons mean the course is constantly
providing new looks and challenges.²
In addition to the world class golf course, many companies have found Old
ideal place for corporate retreats, making use of its conference rooms,
dining, tennis courts, swimming pool, hiking trails and more. The full
spectrum of amenities provided in such a scenic and quiet locale has been
the formula that brings groups back again and again.
So what is the club¹s focus now? The next generation of golfers. A
standout junior program has risen to prominence in a short period of time.
Pros V.J. Trolio and Tim Yelverton have become two of the most renowned
teachers in the country. Junior golfers come from all over the nation to
take instruction at this highly respected program. At present, a cottage is
under construction that will house young golfers for golf camps beginning
³Golf can teach those life skills to youngsters that are so important to
their development,² shares Bryan. ³Things like discipline, judgment,
character and patience are integral parts of the game that can translate to
all areas of their lives.²
It is fitting that Old Waverly and the Bryan family link the future of the
club to the golfers of tomorrow.
³Our own grandchildren are growing up on this course,² concludes Bryan.
³The game is a legacy we hope to pass on to them as well as to others.²