In the 1890s — long before Jacksonville’s Southside area was filled with subdivisions, shopping centers, and multi-lane highways — a man named Richard Greene Skinner purchased 50,000 pristine acres of North Florida’s finest land. In 1960, Richard’s grandson partnered with his brother and sister to turn 900 acres of that land into an exclusive residential community with stately homes and luxurious amenities. Thus, Deerwood Country Club was born.
Over the next few decades, Deerwood became a destination for golfers and tennis professionals the world over. George Cobb, a legendary golf architect, was commissioned to design the club’s course, while Jim McNair was hired to develop the program. By 1967, the club had earned the right to host the Greater Jacksonville Open (which later became THE PLAYERS Championship), a prestigious event that the club hosted from 1967-1969 and 1972-1975. As the club continued to grow, new programs were added. Soon, members were signing up for the Deerwood Riding and Hunt Club, Deerwood Swim Club and Deerwood Tennis Club. A private school (known today as Jacksonville Country Day School) was added to provide an extra incentive to families.
In 1970, Deerwood Country Club was sold to Stockton, Whatley & Davin; just 10 years later, it changed hands again, this time to Gate Petroleum. Under the ownership of Gate, the club added a fitness center in 1989. In 1999, the club’s members banded together to purchase the club from Gate, making Deerwood an equity club. Thanks to a $10 million renovation in 2004 that included a brand-new clubhouse, golf course and fitness center, Deerwood Country Club remains a leader among Jacksonville’s private clubs.
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