The idea to build West Lake began on a hot July Saturday on the 12th tee at a local private course where an impatient foursome waited 45 minutes to play their next tee shot. One of the players said jokingly, "Let's build our own golf course!" So, they did.

As it happened, one of the players, along with two partners, had been accumulating land for development near the intersection of Stevens Creek and Evans-to-Locks Road in a largely undeveloped area of Columbia County. In 1963, they owned about 350 to become the core of the future golf course holes 4 thru 17 and part of 18. The tract was not occupied except for a historic black church whose title was obscured in legalities and could not be obtained. The church and graveyard still rest in a small area next to the golf course maintenance area between the 7th tee and the 12th green.

Study of the project clearly indicated that building and maintaining a golf course could not be financed without attachment to a real estate development. The plan was so outlined. With this, established additional tracts of 150 acres and 212 acres (including a 43 acre lake as a source of water for the sprinklers) were obtained, bringing the total to 717 acres. They now had enough land and believed the proposal was feasible.

A corporation, West Lake Development Company, was created with fifty participants owning equal shares of stock. James G. Swift, a local engineer (and one of the fifty) was engaged to design the project. In mid 1966, Donald Ross protégé Ellis Maples from Pinehurst, NC, was chosen to design the 18-hole golf course. Maples had designed the outstanding Pinehurst No. 5. His chief assistant on the job was Ed Seay, who later became the principal architect for Arnold Palmer's Company.

With the guidance of Maples, a contractor was hired to start in April 1967. Harry Crosby was hired as General Manager in that month and in May, Johnny Graves, Course Superintendent of the Augusta National, joined the group. Many were the cuts and bruises for Harry Crosby, Jim Swift and Johnny Graves, as they "walked" the undeveloped land prior to the clearing and rough outlining of the holes.

Construction, in the beginning, was funded by shareholders' equity and later augmented with bank loans. Maples' stated timetable was to have  nine holes ready for play in late Fall 1967. By June 1967, this plan was recognized as ridiculous and was quickly revised to have all 18 holes ready for play in Fall 1968.

From the start of construction, troubles and hidden problems arose. More earth movement occurred than planned and designated pond areas were too wet to be formed by bulldozers and had to be excavated by drag-line (dredge). Water for irrigation was adequate, but the lake channel had to be relocated to reach supply pipes. All of these took more time and more money.

The clearing and disposal of trees during this time period was a monumental task, which would have been almost cost prohibitive today. At that time, the trees were piled high and burned- probably not allowable under current environmental limits. There were a few interesting discoveries, such as a natural spring to the left of the sixth green leading to a wet area (now a pond) where a substantial moonshine still was found.

With all of the difficulties and delays, clearing and grading was sufficiently complete by Fall of 1967 to show the shape of things to come. During the winter, most work was slowed except for the laying of underground irrigation piping.

By late March 1968, there were visible signs of progress, such as the final grading of fairways, bunkers and tees. The greens were formed, sprinkler heads were connected to the sprinkler system and the pump house for the system was constructed on the big lake. In 1968, construction began on the early clubhouse which boasted only a small lunch area, a smaller kitchen, pro shop, cart maintenance area and men's and ladies' locker rooms. It is interesting to note that the men's locker room was beautifully appointed with carpeted floors, stained wooden lockers, and what many called the most comfortable chairs ever. This attention to detail rivaled many similar size finer clubs across the country. In early 1969, work began on building a 50-meter "L" shaped swimming pool with a deep diving well. Shortly thereafter, 4 latex tennis courts were built.

By mid-summer 1968, all phases of development were moving forward. Bermuda grass planted and growing, lot development underway, major utility installations in and clubhouse construction in progress. However, in August, a fierce rainstorm struck the area; fierce enough to drop 4 inches of rain in one hour and to collapse the roof of Whites Store at National Hills. At West Lake, water carried away the earthen dam holding the pond at the 18th green and, even worse, tore trenches across newly planted fairways in dozens of places washing young grass shoots and soil in its torrent. The dam was rebuilt and West Lake's small maintenance crew replanted over 100,000 square feet of sod to repair the damage. Plans to play the course in Fall 1968 were postponed until Spring, 1969.

In October 1968, Mark Darnell was selected as Golf Professional and was drafted to help with the finishing of the golf course work. Finally, by March 1969, the golf course was playable and the Clubhouse available for basic use. Original access to the clubhouse was by dirt road from Evans-Lock Road behind the 8th green and along the right side of the 9th fairway. Any serious rain meant no golf since players could not get to the clubhouse! In May, the paving of Pebble Beach Drive was accomplished and access became less of a challenge. At this time, West Lake Country Club was incorporated as a wholly subsidiary of the Development Company and control was vested in the Board of that company.

In the early months, players were enthusiastic in their praise of the layout and the greens unhampered by age and helped by minimal play were highly praised and declared superior to most local courses. At first, few roughs had been cleared. A ball was either in the fairway or lost--a great challenge to most. Largely due to the Master's Tournament, the first few months brought many people from the golf world to play- Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazan (later a non-resident member), Tony Jacklin and officials from the Royal and Ancient in Scotland. This fortunate exposure was priceless.

An arrangement with Sports Illustrated brought over 100 business people to Augusta for Masters Week, allowed them to play the course and thus gaining additional exposure and income for the club. By mid-1969, lots of homes were ready and the first house (built for Mark Darnell) was started in November of that year. However, the growth of real estate sales was very disappointing. Local people thought it was too far from the city and believed it could not succeed. Fortunately, people moving from other parts of the country often said it was great to have this facility so close to town!

At the end of 1973, nearly 100 homes were established in the first two developed sections. The West Lake board, with courage and great optimism, decided to undertake a number of expansion projects concurrently---development of a third section of homesites along what is now West Lake Drive, large expansion of the Clubhouse, automation of the golf course irrigation system and construction of eight composition clay tennis courts.

These improvements, completed in 1974, were largely financed with bank loans and by the assessment of members who, by then, numbered 275. The rapid increase in operating costs of the club, along with the explosive increase of interest rates, created substantial losses in 1975 and 1976 which could not be offset by the moderate increase in real estate sales and club income. By late 1975, the need for additional lot inventory required developing a new section beyond the clubhouse on Pebble Beach Drive. The struggle through 1976 and 1977 with moderate growth in sales failed to offset the higher operating costs of the club. Even an aggressive, successful drive for the new members was not enough to solve this continuing problem which was compounded by the explosive rise in interest rates by now at 23 percent. In mid-1977, bankers were pressing for payments of interest and principal. At the same time, some West Lake officers were in difficulties with other investments and had reduced leverage with bankers.

By late 1977, something had to be done. A sale of the club facilities to the club members was negotiated between the banks, West Lake Development Company, and West Lake Members, Inc. In effect, the banks lent members funds to buy the club facilities at a favorable price leaving the development company with the balance of the land and the larger portion of the debt. This deal was formally concluded in December 1977.

Concert Golf Partners purchased West Lake Country Club in May, 2015. Westlake Market Report 


Newest Homes in Westlake Country Club

5 Beds 4 Baths 520711 MLS
Nestled in the prestigious Estates section of the gated West Lake neighborhood, this sprawling 6,338 square foot gem offers the perfect canvas for your inner Joanna Gaines to flourish. If you've been searching for a spacious home with endless potential, look no further! The exterior boasts timeless architectural details, including a grand entrance, gorgeous .595 acre yard, circular drive and a three-car garage. The two-story foyer welcomes you in to the expansive layout that offers multiple rooms that can be transformed into your ideal home office, gym, or entertainment area. This home features 10' ceilings and holds the stately details that you've been searching for. Hardwoods through the main living areas and kitchen. The kitchen features ample counter space, oak cabinets, breakfast room which makes it a truly spectacular place to cook and dine in. The heated sunroom allows natural lighting to enter the great room that is complete with gas-log fireplace and built ins. The owner's suite, located on the main level, is a sanctuary in the making, with its oversized dimensions, huge closets and en-suite bathroom that includes a jetted tub and a separate shower that you get to redesign to be your dream shower. All additional bedrooms and loft are are located on the 2nd level along with a total of 6 walk-in attic storage locations. 3 additional full bathrooms are located upstairs along with a 2nd laundry room in the 5th bedroom/bonus room. Large, fenced backyard with plenty of room for a private pool and while making repairs to the deck you can create the outdoor space to be the outdoor living you've been searching for. This home presents a rare opportunity to create your dream living space. West Lake Estates is known for its upscale living, top-rated schools, and proximity to medical district, shopping, dining, and recreational opportunities. Home is priced to reflect current condition. Home is being sold as-is, seller to make no repairs. Please contact your agent or the listing agent for the full inspection report.

4010 FIRETHORN Court, Martinez

5 Beds 4 Baths 520598 MLS
This spectacular executive West Lake home sits in a beautiful setting and boasts the quality and custom upgrades that buyers dream of finding. The property makes an immediate statement, both outside and in. Whether you're looking for an elegant setting for your formal gatherings or a more comfortable atmosphere for relaxing with those closest to you, this home can accommodate your every need. If spacious and flexible living spaces, an abundance of storage, and lots of natural light are important features, this home is calling to you! You'll find hardwood floors throughout the main living spaces that set the tone for the architectural features to include beautiful moldings, built-ins, hidden wet bars, fireplace, exquisite lighting fixtures, and Galaxy Black Quartz counters—to name a few. There are formal and informal living and dining spaces, a chef's kitchen, and a large composite deck that overlooks your private yard and pond. This home offers two Suites, one downstairs and the other on the 2nd floor. Bedrooms 3 and 4 are connected by a spacious jack and jill bathroom. There is a 5th bedroom and 5th full bath upstairs as well. The finish it off, there is a huge bonus room that could be used as a movie/media room, playroom, family room, or anything your heart desires. Please see the feature sheet for all upgrades and details about the home. There are also practical spaces to include a large laundry room with utility sink and cabinetry for storage, a 3-car attached garage with 8ft tall side entry, and even more storage underneath deck. The gently sloping backyard is hardscaped for easy access with plenty of garden space. Newly landscaped to include exterior lighting. Enjoy the gated community with social, golf, and sports amenities. Come experience a personalized tour of this well-loved home today!

580 FIRESTONE Court, Martinez

6 Beds 6 Baths 515895 MLS
Beautiful brick house in Estate Section of West Lake Division. Thís home sits on a large lot and has been very well maintained since built. Double door at main entrance opens in wide spaced foyer with formal dining hall. Either side of entrance are flex room and dining room. Further down is great room followed by formal living area with a mesmerizing view of back yard through large wide-open windows. As one proceeds further is a cozy space for meditation that leads onto wide open kitchen that has Lage island covered with Granite top. Commercial vent hood that throws any smoke of the kitchen out in few seconds. Equipped with 2 dishwashers ,2 fridges and stainless-steel sink and art of the class gas cook stove. Most of the floors in house Natural Oak wood and tiles in bathrooms. The house has 4 bedrooms on first floor including master's and 2 bedrooms in basement. All bathrooms are updated with modern features, and couple of them have French bathtubs. The basement is fully finished nestles game room and a wet bar with built in cabinetry, Scotsman double door fridge and slider doors that leads to big yard nestling lush green grass. This house also has a backdoor entry that leads to basement and also to the kitchen by backstairs. Also, it has two hardwood stairs for first floor --one from entrance foyer and other from the kitchen. Very spacious closets and cupboards. Two and a half car garage along with ample space for 8 cars on parking pad. It's equipped with 5 HVAC units that were replaced 4 years ago. Also, this house never runs out of HOT water as it has 4 gas water heaters. The sprinkler system is WIFI enabled that saves a lot of gallons of water throughout the year. Zoned for high demand schools and nestled in highly secured gated community. HOA includes amenities like Country Club, swimming pool, Street Lights and golf ground. Last but not the least this house has a history of Master Rentals that fetches a good amount during master's Week every year.

3834 HONORS Way, Martinez

6 Beds 5 Baths 508473 MLS
How would you like to own a home that is not only an investment but also will pay you a huge dividend each year? This home currently has a Masters rental income for only 7 days from Sunday -Sunday in April at $60,000. 00 DOLLARS! A dream home for the entire family. This 3-story brick home has been completely updated and offers a back yard entertainment complex that is truly one of a kind. The gunite pool is nestled between a massive outdoor kitchen with the full range of appliances, plus (2) rotisserie gas grills, Viking commercial grade stove and commercial grade vent hood, plus bar seat dining at the center flame granite counter bar, dining under the covered trellis and fire pit under an open trellis. On the other side of the pool is a full back covered veranda with a fireplace and television, all decked out with fans, speakers, and lighting. The newly opened floorplan is a perfect entertainment and day to day living space. Front and back staircase plus elevator. All bedrooms are en-suite. The bonus room has an exercise space or game table area plus massive amounts of built-in cabinetry. There is also a very large game room accommodating a pool table, and many other indoor games for the entire family. The third floor is perfect for a hobby room and offers its own full bath. There is also a wine cellar in a small wing of the home which can accommodate 1600 bottles and has its own temperature control with alarm monitoring if the temperature is disrupted. All the windows have been upgraded and replaced 2 years ago. All the gutters in 2023 have been resealed at the joints with a 50-year sealant and the latest invisible leaf cap filter which has a lifetime clog free warranty which is transferrable to the new owner. The closet space and built-ins would cost a fortune today to duplicate, plus all the covered outdoor space, and the amount of parking and driveway space to entertain is exceptional. There is a separate guest house/Nanny or maids' quarters house above the outdoor kitchen that has a kitchenette, full bath, and balcony overlooking the pool. This home offers more quality features than our system has the space to input. If this is your price range you need to see this in person to truly appreciate all that this home has to offer your family.

618 BRAE BURN Drive, Martinez

Start Your Search