BILLINGS – When golf courses offer a demo, the term is usually short for demonstration. Not demolition.
But clubhouse demolition is exactly what’s under way at Yellowstone Country Club in Billings.
“The clubhouse has lasted for 60 years,” said YCC Head Professional Bob Eames on Wednesday standing just outside the wreckage. “It was built in 1957, so 60 years and it’s time for it to be replaced.”
And Eames has been at Yellowstone through most of those six decades.
“I started here as an assistant pro in 1969, and there’s a little bit of tear in the eye when you see the crane knocking down the clubhouse,” he said, “because there’s so many fond memories. Not only for me but for a lot of our membership.”
That nostalgia includes weddings, receptions, baptism parties, Christmas parties, and even a handful of celebrities lounging after a golf round — from Chris LeDoux to President Clinton to PGA great Billy Casper.
“I can remember when Casper was here and it was really a neat experience to see him come,” Eames recalled. “He was very complimentary about our golf course, and that’s back when most of the trees were just twigs.”
With the demolition golfers also bid farewell to the legendary Alibi Room.
“There are a lot of them (stories) that happened on a Thursday afternoon that I can’t tell you about,” Eames laughed. “I guess one of my favorite memories was when I first started here, I was in my 20s … we hosted the Montana State Senior’s Tournament. And in the course of about four minutes, I heard every medical term known to man as the seniors talked about not only their three putts, but their aches, their pains.”
Eames was quick to admit, now that he’s a senior, those stories aren’t so funny anymore.
For the next year and change, members will utilize a trailer as the pro shop. A giant white tent has become the make-shift restaurant/bar, sitting atop a recently-poured concrete pad to handle traffic. Eames estimates the tent handles about 120 people.
“When they said our clubhouse was going to be a tent, I kind of went, ‘Oh boy, that’ll be fun,'” said Eames. “I walked into that tent, and my gosh, almighty. It’s going to turn out to be … it’s an adventure.”
It figures to be just over a year-long adventure with the new clubhouse projected to open in June of next summer.