History of The Atlantic City Country Club: 1897 to The Present
The history of the Atlantic City Country club is rich in a deep, great tradition since it opened in 1897.
The local legendary Fraser Family owned it from 1945 to 1998. This was a time of exciting growth.
In 1998, The Fraser Family sold The Atlantic City Country Club to Bally’s Hotel and Casino.
The Fraser Family continued to own and operate The Mays Landing Golf and Country Club for decades to follow.
Here’s how the legendary local golf icon Jim Fraser put it:
“The Atlantic City Country Club is an icon in the world of golf. Golfers from all over the world, who love the-history of-the-game have made their Pilgrimage to the club … not only to play, but also to ensconce themselves in the history and tradition which is told and displayed so well on around the clubhouse,” said Fraser.
Jim Fraser is a second generation ACCC owner, along with his Brother, Doug and sister, Bonnie.
The history of the Atlantic City Country Club begins long before the Fraser family, when in 1897 a group of community minded people wanted to create another attraction for the many thousands of visitors each year.
Golf was just beginning to grow in America and the brand new Atlantic City country club created national and international buzz.
The story of how Jim’s Dad - the golfing legend Leo Fraser - purchased the Atlantic City Country Club is a truly incredible underdog story.
The Atlantic City Country Club was is in disrepair. Leo Fraser had offers to manage it and other opportunities. He didn’t want to run it for someone else … he wanted to own it.
“In 1945, My dad and mom, Leo and Doris, bought the club with literally no money. They borrowed $ 2,500 from 50 local business people, said Jim Fraser.
”My dad was a World War II hero, the club was in disrepair and the hotel owners were happy to get rid of it and at the same time get some good PR through their generosity to a well known golfer and war hero (Leo Fraser).
Leo Fraser advanced through the ranks from Private to Major during his military service.
Jim Fraser still has the original cancelled notes from this creative financial transaction in his office.
Leo Fraser made big changes from the beginning of his ownership:
“There was another 9 holes when my dad bought the club called the blue nine,” said Jim Fraser. (He turned it into country club acres). It was the 3rd hole, which is now the practice green, where I put the headstone with the plaque (1993),” said Jim Fraser.
“Since the opening in 1897 through the 1930s, ACCC prospered along with the tremendous growth of the game in America,” said Jim Fraser.
“As the war drums began to beat, the Federal Government saw the club as a good place to train and house army troops.”
“At the end of the war, the clubhouse was in disrepair and the course was barely playable.”
The clubs growth after the war coincided with my dad becoming one of the most respected and liked administrators in the game.
“Holding National and international events plus the everyday very popular happenings made the club a place people wanted to be.”
I’m proud to say that after Dad’s death in 1986, the Fraser and (Don) Siok family continued the tradition and the club saw its greatest growth in its history.”
”Today, the Ottinger family has continued to upgrade and at the same time, preserve the fantastic history of ACCC,” concluded Jim Fraser.
Here is a list of just some of the mega celebrities who have played at The Atlantic City Country Club:
- Bob Hope
- Mickey Mantle
- Johnny Mathis
- Dean Martin
- Jerry Lewis
- Sammy Davis, Jr.
- Smokey Robinson
- Bobby Rigg’s, who took $ 20 from Jim Fraser in a gentleman’s wager.
- Babe Didriksen Zaharias
And, so many more.
Zaharias won the 1948 WPGA Open, which was held at The Atlantic City Country Club.
At the time of The Atlantic City Country Club’s Centennial (100 years) … 1897 to 1997, here is an ordinal letter from the legendary Bob Hope.
Here is the biggest name in Major League Baseball, the incomparable Mickey Mantle , who loved the game of golf and played many rounds at The Atlantic City Country.
Roger Wagner, President of The Claridge Hotel and Casino hired Mantle as a Casino Sports Marketing Host. Mantle spent quite a bit of time in Atlantic City.
Arnold Palmer In 1953, playing at The Atlantic City Club. He did so many times while serving in The United States Coast Guard, stationed in Cape May, New Jersey.
Here is the legendary Sam Sneed with Jim Fraser’s niece, Shannon.
This is Leo Fraser and Bobby Jones, who just happens to be the greatest amateur player in golf history.
Sonny Fraser and Bob Hope at The Atlantic City Race Track.
Nancy Lopez finished 2nd at the women’s 1975 women’s open at The Atlantic City Country Club, as an amateur.
Then New Jersey Assembly Speaker Sonny Fraser and New Jersey State Senator Frank “Hap” Farley
Doug Fraser, Tony Scarcia and Arnold Palmer at The Atlantic City Country Club in 1986.
“Goodfellas” Ray Liota, Joe Pesci, Tony Darrow, Robert DeNiro & Martin Scorsese at The Atlantic City Country Club.
And, last, but, not least … here’s the original marker where the term “Birdie” was created for the game of golf. Yes, this term was coined at The Atlantic City Country Club in 1903 on the 3rd hole.
Atlantic City's Firsts Throughout History
Original Atlantic City Golden Nugget Blueprints - Charlie's Steakhouse - 1982