It is doubtful that too many of the 510 members that collectively own Ellendale Country Club know the total number of private associations that include a top quality 18-hole golf course, driving range, complete pro shop, comfortably-sized restaurant and full-scale banquet hall, swimming center, tennis courts and facilities for any number of in-house catered events from intimate weddings to corporate extravaganzas.
What those owners do know is that they have established one-of-a-kind center for the Tri-parish region. “I think over time, redesigning our golf course and rebuilding our facility will prove to be dead-on for the timing of everything,” Ellendale President Marshall Faulk (the vice president of operations at T. Baker Smith, not the NFL Hall of Fame running back) said.
Having been a member for more than 20 years, Faulk said Ellendale has as opportunity to offer a positive impression for the region at large. “We have a lot of members active [in community interests],” he said. “The facility accommodates a lot of things for [Terrebonne Parish] with various functions. We have gotten a lot of attention because it is a one-stop shop in addition to having the course for people wanting to play golf.”
The Ellendale Country Club opened in 1966. Golf architect and sports columnist, the late Joe Finger, designed the original facility, transforming swamp along La. Highway 311 into usable property that includes a 73.5-rated, 7,165 yards of playing area as an 18-hole par 72 course.
Ellendale’s golf course plays host to several corporate tournaments every year in addition to private groups. The Adams Pro Golf Tour, often the circuit played by what will one day be PGA athletes, makes a regular stop at the Houma facility.
Ellendale also holds a summer golf clinic for kids and, on occasion, the course is available to the public for open play during special events.
In March 2010, a new main building replaced the original clubhouse. This is home to Ellendale offices, a restaurant and complete banquet facilities. Although not yet two years old, the white antebellum-designed structure provides hospitable comfort with a sense of southern tradition.
“I guess one advantage to having a country club membership is year-round golf,” Membership Coordinator DeShone Pfister said. “Our membership is a family membership for use of the entire facility. We have guests of members, but they have to be invited by a member, or have the member call and say it is OK for them to come [unaccompanied]. Also, if you are a member of a different country club [in a distant city or state] you can come here and we reciprocate with them.”
In addition to golf, Ellendale is home to top tennis players and a heated pool serves as both training facility and tournament site for the Bayou Barracudas youth swim team. As for on-site catering, business has been booming with November and December dates booked months in advance, and special events offering culinary treats throughout the year.
Membership is professionally diverse. It includes the expected doctors and lawyers, plus a significant representation from the petroleum, offshore support and maritime industries. “It is pretty broad,” Pfister said.
Ellendale members maintain that they resist creating the stereotypical image of being elitist or snobby just because they belong to a country club.
“I can’t speak for other country clubs,” Pfister said. “We’re in south Louisiana. So, talking about us is totally different than talking about any other country club anywhere else in the country. South Louisiana people are very polite and hospitable and welcome others with open arms.”
“The membership here, it is a great atmosphere,” Faulk added. “What it offers for the price we charge is very affordable. We have a lot of activity going on with functions, the golf course and swimming and tennis programs. I think it is one of the finest facilities in the state of Louisiana.”
Ellendale Country Club golf pro Greg Crain says with the right amount of drive, the Terrebonne Parish facility has come to rival any in the state of Louisiana. MIKE NIXON