The new owners of the Tri-City Country Club are working to shed the 79-year-old private club’s longtime reputation as a members-only golf course by making the greens public and overhauling the private restaurant into a high-end steakhouse and sports lounge.
Members of the Kennewick country club voted unanimously Oct. 3 to turn over the day-to-day operations of running the club and par-65 golf course to a group of 21 people.
The 128-0 vote in favor of transferring ownership to the newly formed Save the Club LLC, made up of current members, prevented it from going to bankruptcy court and then possibly having strangers snap it up.
Plans are for the steakhouse, called The Edge, to open Feb. 1 and be open Thursday through Saturday, and the sports lounge open seven days a week.
The new owners will rebrand the facility as Zintel Creek Golf Club, named for the meandering creek flowing from Zintel Canyon that sustains the old growth trees providing ample shade for golfers.
The Tri-City Country Club is the oldest golf course in the area and the unanimous vote didn’t come without some heartbreak.
“Some of the comments we received from longtime members was that this was the end of an era because the club originated in 1938, and now it’s gone as they wish to remember it,” said Randy Stemp, president of Save the Club, who works as an engineering projects manager at Lampson International LLC. “We are preferring to say that it is the start of a new era with time-honored traditions.”
It helps that Stemp and the other 19 members of Save the Club are members of the country club.
“The goal truly is to save the club that’s been there since 1938,” Stemp said. “We like the fact that it doesn’t take you five hours to play. We want to maintain it.”
Save the Club is made up of area business people, including current country club pro Clint Ables, Bill Lampson, Herb Coulter, Brad Bell, Brandon Mayfield, Craig Mayfield, Levi Bland, Laurie Winchel, Jesse Kadinger, Jason Lynch, Jim London, Jean Ruane, Bob Hamilton, Angela Johnson, Mike Evanson, Vera Berry, Marv Jones, Mitch Murphy, Jim Jacobsen and Bryan Pepin-Donat.