Augusta is a city known worldwide thanks to the Augusta National Golf Club and its tournament, won this spring by Augusta University alumnus Patrick Reed. But, before there was an Augusta National, there was the Forest Hills-Ricker Hotel and golf course.
Founded in 1926, the Forest Hills-Ricker Hotel was designed by the acclaimed golf course architect Donald Ross. The hotel was to be a luxury golf resort for those aiming to flee the harsh winters of the North.
Similar to Augusta University, the course’s eventual proprietor, the resort property went through a number of changes from 1926 to now. The first change was during World War II, when the hotel was purchased by the U.S. government to be used as a rehabilitation hospital until 1952.
After that, the hotel watched as Fort Gordon built its own courses, and eventually, the hotel sat empty. Having been declared surplus in 1977, the government land was not available for purchase.
After a couple of members from the Augusta Golf Association (AGA) pleaded their case all the way to the nation’s capital, an arrangement was made in 1978 for Augusta College to assume ownership of the course with the AGA in charge of running it.
Eventually, the very course that Bobby Jones won the Southern Open on in 1930 became Forest Hills Golf Club, and its primary purpose was to serve the students of the golf programs at the university, as well as the public and members of the Augusta community.
The course has served the university well. The Jaguars are winners of two NCAA national championship titles and, most recently, an individual National Championship win with Broc Everett (BA, MBA ’18).
“When you think about history and tradition, we go back that far and the golf course has kept its shape; it’s kept its conditions,” said Dan Elliott, Forest Hills’ head golf professional and general manager. “We’re very happy here; we’re very proud of Forest Hills and we’re looking forward to the years to come.”