Levi, the grandson of Eastern Shore Yacht & Country Club members John and Kate Morgan, signs a stud of the new clubhouse now under construction. Members held a reception Saturday to pen messages on the studs.

The fire that destroyed the ESYCC clubhouse in December of 2017 was a terrible tragedy that no one would have wished to happen, but new GM Monika Bridgforth said, “The silver lining is that we have new facilities that replace outdated buildings that were not equipped for modern times.”

The sports center that opened last fall will serve the tennis courts and swimming pool and house the pro shop for the golf course. It also has men’s and women’s lockers and will have a fitness room, a new feature at the club.

The new clubhouse, with a planned opening this summer, will include a members’ lounge, a larger bar area with casual dining, a separate and more formal dining area, a card room, a kids’ zone where youth can play games and relax, and a covered porch and outside patio. It also will include a large catering kitchen near the pool to better serve that area.

One of the exciting new developments at the club that Bridgforth planned and developed upon assuming her new position in January was to contract with Blake Johnson of the Island House Restaurant to handle all food services at the club. 

Beginning May 1, Johnson will be serving at the Boathouse Grill with a menu that caters to golfers, swimmers, and members who dine on the outdoor patio. There will be limited inside dining in the multi-use room in the new sports center. When the new clubhouse opens, Johnson will be responsible for planning a menu that works for the club and preparing all meals.

“Blake has been tremendous to work with,” said Bridgforth. “It is readily apparent he insists on quality throughout the entire process. He has been involved with ordering and installing new equipment at the Boathouse Grill. Everything at the grill is undergoing a thorough cleaning.”

The extensive cleaning at the grill was taking place before the coronavirus concern became so prevalent, but now that approach is being used at all club facilities. “We will be sanitizing golf carts after each use and allowing golfers to have their own cart if they wish. Everything inside will be wiped and cleaned on a regular basis. The one thing about a golf course is that it’s easy to practice social distancing out there,” said Bridgforth, who noted the coronavirus situation is changing daily, so conditions could change and the club would be following Centers for Disease Control guidelines

One of the first things Bridgforth did in her new job was to have lunch and a lengthy conversation with George McMath, who was the club’s first president and led the effort to establish the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club in 1960. “I wanted to understand the founding principles of the club,” said Bridgforth, “and that was to provide a place for families to enjoy a multitude of activities, but it was also an organization that provides a service to the community. With our new clubhouse, we once again can provide a place for wedding receptions, banquets and meetings. We have many activities open to the public, including summer youth camps, golf lessons, sailing lessons and holiday events.”

With a nod to Levin Johnson, who in 1960 sold his 125-acre farm bordered by two creeks for a price well below its value so he could enjoy his beloved game of golf, Bridgforth said, “We realize how fortunate we are to have this beautiful piece of property. It has been a place where Eastern Shoremen have gathered for 60 years now, and now with these new facilities, we look to start a new era with the same principles of serving our community.”

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