GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Great Southern Golf Club in Gulfport looks very different these days. Hurricane Katrina severely damaged the oldest course in the state.
For eight years, the clubhouse was a trailer. Now, investors have poured almost $700,000 into the property in the past 12 months. There's a new clubhouse, 50 new golf carts, and a new fairway irrigation system in place. That has led to a lot more play.
Eddie Miller is on the Great Southern Board of Directors.
"We've gone from eight members to close to 115 or 120 members in less than six months," Miller said. "And this is a coast landmark, the oldest course in Mississippi."
Long time members say the changes score well with them. One of them is Jim Hom.
"The clubhouse, just being open now, it's a great convenience," Hom said. "We've all had lunch there at least once to get started, and hey, it's a whole lot better than that trailer."
Another member is Jim Shotts.
"I've played here for probably 15 or 20 years and they've really improved it. The new carts are fantastic. The fairways, and the greens are improving," Shotts said.
For the people who work here, like Austin Gillis, the transformation has not only changed the look of the course, but attitudes as well.
"Since we have new golf carts now, it's easier to maintain them and keep them clean. Everybody enjoys coming out to a building, and not going out to a trailer," Gillis explained.
While the long time members, the golf pro, and the employees at the Great Southern Club rave about the new amenities, the new feel of this place, even first timers, people who have never been here before are quite impressed. That includes Chuck Clark, blasting a drive down the first fairway.
"I can't want to get this round underway here. I think it's going to be a great day. I just really think it's in great condition compared to some of the other ones around," Clark said.
Those words mean this storied golf course has a lot more birdies in its future.
The Great Southern Golf Club was founded in 1908. Some of the all-time greats in the history of the game have played the course over the years, including Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan.