Standard Club celebrates sesquicentennial - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM

Standard Club celebrates sesquicentennial

Historic club remains member-owned

The Standard Club President Mark Elgart is inviting residents to The Club’s sesquicentennial party May 6.
Photo Courtesy Dave Sansom
Photo Courtesy Dave Sansom

What: Celebrate Standard Club’s rich heritage, music, food, events, golf & tennis events, membership tours. Open to the public.
When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, May 6
Cost: $24.95; Under 12: $11.95 Under 4: free

The club covers more than 300 acres off Abbotts Bridge Road with a 125,000-square-foot clubhouse that includes:

• Formal and casual dining rooms

• Private dining room

• Banquet ballroom

• Half-size basketball court

• Nautilus weight room

• Two racquet ball courts

• Squash court

• Four indoor tennis courts

In addition, the club has 12 outdoor tennis courts, eight of which are clay.

The golf course is an 18-hole championship course and was designed by Arthur Hills and has been recognized as one of the top 25 golf courses in Georgia.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – In 1867, Atlanta was still rising out of the ashes of the Civil war, when the fourth-oldest social club in the country was founded – then known as the Concordia Club.

It was reorganized in 1904 as The Standard Club and has carried that name since and is Georgia’s oldest country club.

So it is with no little fanfare that The Standard Club, now in Johns Creek, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding.

Like Atlanta, The Standard Club has seen a great deal of change.

Originally it was founded as the Jewish social club in Atlanta because Jews were barred from memberships in Atlanta’s gentile society in those days. But The Standard Club has never been exclusively Jewish and is an open-membership club with 390 members today and room to grow membership to a maximum of 450 members.

At that time the Atlanta Journal noted its reorganization under that name and predicted great things for The Standard Club.

The Journal wrote:

“The auspices under which The Standard Club starts make it certain that the new Club will at once take high rank among the social organizations of the city.”

As The Club continued to grow in the 20th Century, it moved into more generous quarters four times over the intervening years – first in 1904, then 1922 with a membership of 100.

It moved again in 1929, following the city’s expansion northward building a new Georgian club on Ponce de Leon Avenue as membership had doubled.

In 1946 The Standard Club had swelled in numbers (300) and stature when it was decided to truly expand acquiring some 165 acres on lovely Roxboro Road.

The Club expected to need more room to grow and wanted many additional facilities, including an 18-hole golf course and tennis facilities.

That sufficed until 1983 when the board of directors negotiated a land swap with Technology Park/Atlanta for an exchange of property.

In the agreement Technology Park would build a new club, golf course, swimming pool, and other facilities to The Club’s specifications, and would then exchange the Johns Creek property for the Roxboro Road acreage.

The land-swap deal was completed in 1987 which brought The Standard Club to its current Johns Creek location on Abbotts Bridge Road.

The club now sits on a pristine 300 acres.

Mark Elgart is club president of the seven-member board. He said today the club’s major activities are golf, tennis and swim facilities as well as parties and catered affairs.

“But we have recently remodeled the club,” he said. “So in addition to having one of the top 20 golf courses in Georgia, we have indoor basketball, racquetball and fitness center.”

That is on top of the $5 million renovation to the course greens that included a sub-air system and cooling coils that warms the greens in cold weather and cools them during the summer.

It is similar to the system installed at Augusta National Golf Club.

Other recent improvements include:

A double-sided driving range

Indoor hitting bay

Completely refurbished banquet facility and ballroom

Revamped both family and casual dining rooms

Redecorated men’s locker room

Refurbished golf and tennis pro shops.

It has a relatively small membership, but that means members can play any weekend they want. There are no lotteries or sign-up lists for play dates.

“We are getting to be a younger club as well. The average age for members has dropped 10 years,” Elgart said. “That was a goal of the board. We have increased the number of younger families – in part because we have remained affordable.

“We have always been a family-centered club so we are focused on family-centered experiences.”

This includes wedding, receptions, reunions, bar and bas mitzvahs and holidays.

The club is in a sound financial position heading into its fourth decade in Johns Creek.

“That alone almost makes us unique. But we continue to reinvest in the club to ensure that,” Elgart said. “That is an advantage of being member-owned.”

The 300-plus acres are kept as a pristine habitat. There are no homes on the property nor will there ever be.

“The focus of the club is on relaxation,” Elgart said. “It has a premier setting. No car is going to drive by and interrupt what you’re doing.”

It was the first country club in the Southeast to be certified a wildlife habitat by the Audubon Society, Elgart noted.

The Standard Club’s certified golf course superintendent Mark Brown is also charged to maintain its wildlife habitat. Brown has increased the wildlife population to include large snapping turtles, herons, hawks, beaver, deer, red fox even a coyote and some 37 species of birds.

“What I have enjoyed here has been the opportunity to have a place where I can come and just relax in this environment and just get away and have quality time with my family,” Elgart said.

“And the friendships you make here last a lifetime.”

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