Thursday, December 9, 2021

Island Country Club

The spacious Club House overlooking the manicured grounds of the Island Country Club. PHOTOS BY VINCENT GIANNONE

The spacious Club House overlooking the manicured grounds of the Island Country Club. PHOTOS BY VINCENT GIANNONE

By Vincent Giannone 

The Island Country Club celebrated its 25th Anniversary in November with a dinner dance for 266 of its members. The club was celebrating the anniversary of the members’ purchase of the club from the Deltona Corporation, making it a private organization. More so than any other event, this particular one stands out considering eleven past presidents were in attendance. The evening offered not only a lovely dinner dance, but provided a history lesson for all who attended.

Placed along the entrance to the ballroom, were carefully designed poster boards explaining the club’s history, past philanthropic events and the history of Marco Island’s development. Melody A. Kappauf, Director of Member Services, planned the dinner dance, compiled the City and Club’s history and put together the poster board display.

Her own history is quite interesting as well. She has served in her position for fifteen years and met her husband while employed at the Club. Wayne was and still is, the Golf Course Superintendant. The couple is dedicated to the best interests of the Island Country Club.

Some of the highlights of the historical



events presented on the poster boards included information not only pertinent to the Club’s background, but also Marco Island in its growth and development from a small fishing community to an internationally known beach resort.

The founders of the Club, during the original Deltona Corporation administration, included Emil O. Sommer, Jr., David Guerrant, who was president from 1986-1987, and John Lauritzen, who was president from 1987-1988.

The golf course was renovated in 1978/1979. The club house opened with a new look after its reconstruction in 1994/1995. Final renovations took place from 2005 to 2006. The Grand Reopening Party for the club house was held on Saturday, January 2, 2006.

When the Deltona Corporation owned the Island Country Club, golfing professionals, Tony Lema, Gene Sarazen and Bob Greise served as resident golf professionals and drew many prominent players, professional and amateur, to the course. Tony Lema taught the members of the club how to improve their golf game and also started a foundation which bore his name, the Tony Lema Charity Event.

The charity golf events drew many international golfers and public figures to Marco Island



including sports figures like Billy Martin, Stan Musial and Joe Garagiola. The great Gene Sarazen, who made his home on Marco Island, contributed much to the prestige of the Island Country Club. There is a fine statue of Mr. Sarazen on the grounds of the club commemorating his contributions to the quality of golf and sportsmanship that are the hallmarks of the club.

The members of the club are known to this day for their great generosity to the island and to the needs of the many charities they support. One recent fund raising event raised $38,521 which was donated to various local charities.

Rudiger Loose, General Manager, commented that the club is a great place to work. He has been in his position for eight seasons. He explained that “my relationships with the members has gone far beyond the formal sense and has given me the opportunity to meet some great individuals. All of the members are very social and are always willing to meet new members of the Club. This event is one of those situations which allows our members to meet one another for the first time or reconnect with old friends.”


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