BEREA -- The new owners of the Berea Country Club had some ambitious plans heading into 2020.

Substantial upgrades to the golf course, the addition of amenities and a complete re-branding of the property were all in the works.

Things, however, didn't exactly go as planned.

A wet late winter and early spring dampened some of those plans.

Then, of course, COVID-19 changed the world.

"I'm a firm believer that things happen when they are supposed to happen," said Mary Anne West. "We are still moving forward. It's just going to take us a little longer."

Despite those setbacks, the golf course opened on May 1 under a brand new name -- The Greens at Churchill.

And so far, the members and golfers in the community have embraced the changes at the historic club.

"I think word is starting to get around and I think people are excited about the changes," said Whitney Maupin, manager of the Greens at Churchill.

Mary Anne and her husband, Bill, bought the Churchill Weaver Building in 2013. That facility plays host to events year-round, including weddings, proms and galas.

That building sits just behind the golf course.

Bill and Mary Ann admittedly aren't big golfers, but saw a business opportunity and a chance to reunite two properties that have a connection.

"For us, it just made good sense," Mary Ann West said.

The property has a rich history.

"All of this used to be owned by the Churchill Family," Maupin said of the land the golf course and Churchill building sits on. "I did some research at the Berea College library back over the summer to try to get a storyline behind the Berea Country Club."

The Berea Country Club opened in 1951, making it the second-oldest golf club in Madison County.

Several families who belonged to the Madison Country Club (which opened in 1922) were instrumental to the formation of the BCC, including the Davidsons, Marcums, Walkers, Olivers and Rogers.

"We want to include that history going forward," Maupin said.

The nine-hole course has an incredible view of the East Pinnacles and is popular with golfers from across the area.

World Golf Hall of Fame member Sam Snead and Masters champion Gay Brewer have both played at the Berea Country Club.

"There are great things to come here," Maupin said. "We are working on some great amenities."

Things have already started to change at the 70-year-old course.

The staff has added 75 trees and done extensive work to the bunkers. Additional water hazards are planned as well.

The biggest changes are still to come, though.

The pro shop is set to be moved to the Churchill Weaver building, which will soon also be home to a restaurant and bar/lounge.

That facility could also feature a fitness center and locker room in the future.

"This is a good place," Maupin said. "This is a fun place. We gotta let people know what is going on here."

The re-branding is still a work in progress at this point.

Most of the signs around the course still say Berea Country Club, but that too will change soon.

"We've redesigned the scorecards and we will eventually get everything updated," Maupin said.

It's a challenge Maupin is eager to take on.

He recently retired after serving with the Richmond Police Department for 11 years. Maupin spent most of the past two decades in law enforcement.

Now, he gets to spend most days on the golf course.

"I told my girlfriend that I had missed a lot of stuff when I was wearing that uniform and that I wasn't going to let this get past me," Maupin said of being offered the job by Bill West. "It's been fun."

The Greens at Churchill offers yearly memberships ($1,200 -- which includes carts), but is also open to the public.

Greens fees for non-members are $25 during the week and $35 on weekends.

The club offers discounts for veterans, active-duty military and first responders. Seniors can play at a reduced rate Monday through Thursday.

After just a month of being open, the course is taking shape and interest in the newly re-named club continues to grow.

"It has been busy," Maupin said. "We had a little cool weather and that hurt the fairways a little bit, but they are finally starting to come in," Maupin said. "They are getting some water, which is what they like."

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