In 1948, the BILTMORE WOMEN'S GOLF ASSOCIATION was founded. In 1954, Grace DeMoss Smith, a member of the BWGA, won the Doherty when the tourney was played at the Miami Shores Country Club. In 1980, the Biltmore was rated as one of the ten outstanding Municipal courses in the U.S. Members of the BWGA feel privileged to call the Biltmore our "home" course.
We hope that all of our members continue to exercise respect and consideration for our greens, fairways and facilities. In so doing, we will be rewarded with endless hours of golfing pleasure, and the Biltmore Country Club complex will endure as an exciting cultural and recreational core of Coral Gables, Florida, "The City Beautiful. "
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The original Biltmore Country Club was the dream come true of its creator, George Merrick. The gala opening took place the evening of January 14, 1926. Special trains from New York's Penn Station made the 38-hour trip to Coral Gables, bringing financiers, socialites and celebrities. Champagne flowed as guests danced to the music of Paul Whiteman in he grand ballroom. An Olympic-size swimming pool with a covered section seating 2000 boasted the perfect touch: Johnny Weismuller, movieland's Tarzan, as the lifeguard. The majestic hotel replicated in detail the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. The country club flanked the tower building, overlooking 36 holes of lush fairways and greens designed by Donald Ross. On January 15, 1 926, golfers began swinging away on the course, which, in its heyday, was to be the scene of world championship tournaments with the likes of Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen.
The original front 18 holes of the Biltmore Country Club now comprise the present Golf Club; the back 18 holes are the site of the Riviera Country Club. After the 1929 stock market Crash, the complex was leased to John J. Raskob, campaign manager for Gov. Al Smith of New York. The "Little White House" was sold in 1931 by Merrick to Henry L. Doherty after Gov. Smith failed to win the Presidential election. Doherty resold it to George McDonald, who continued to run the financially troubled operation until the Army bought the Biltmore in 1942 for use as a Military Hospital. During Doherty's ownership, the Biltmore became a sports Mecca with organized programs of golf, swimming, diving and deep-sea fishing. Doherty's wife, Grace, an avid golfer, and her daughter Helen Lee, founded the Doherty Challenge Cup in 1933. The Doherty ranked second only to the U.S. Women's Amateur in the quality and prestige of its fields, and was a fixture at the Biltmore for the first 10 years of its existence. Patty Berg won it in 1936 and four successive years thereafter.