BENNINGTON — Around since 1897, the Mount Anthony Country Club is the oldest public golf course in the state of Vermont.
In December 2006, David and Maru Leon Griffin purchased the country club and have spent the past 10 years improving and renovating a place where David, a Bennington resident and native, played back when he was growing up.
"It was part of my husband's dream to own it and bring it back to the condition that it was when he played on it and used it," Griffin said. "The country club was a big deal back then."
As part of the 10th anniversary of the Griffins' owning the course, they are starting the season by offering complimentary greens fees on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., hoping that it will spur some interest.
"The part that's hard is that the golf industry is suffering, there's not the volume of people it used to have," Griffin said. "There's a lot of courses and the sport has changed as well."
Two demographics that have been growing is the women and juniors. The course hosts a 9-hole league on Wednesdays that has had nearly 30 competitors and the juniors have the sports academy and a Thursday night clinic.
"For me, that's a big deal, used to playing with good golfers," Griffin said.
While a good chunk of the business is the golf course, they also host weddings, proms, anniversary dinners and corporate events, along with monthly meetings for groups like the Bennington Rotary Club.
"It's very traditional, I've heard so many stories and anecdotes from people who said [a family member] had a wedding there, or a reception. So much happened here back in the day," Griffin said.
There are a handful of other anniversary events this year, including hosting the annual Black & White dance party (aka the Aurora Dance Party) on May 7 and an outdoor concert on the patio on Saturday, August 6.
They also have The Grille, a restaurant that stays open year round.
"We had to be open all year, we needed to be a community asset," Griffin said. "People see the words 'Country Club' and automatically associate it with stuffy, snobby or exclusive and we're none of these things. We're a public business and we want to be an inviting environment for people to come to."
Tee times are on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 11 a.m.
For more information or to register for Saturday's event, call the Pro Shop at 802-447-7079 or go to the website at www.mtanthonycc.com