SGCC has been social center of area for the past 65 years

By Lynn R. Parks

Longtime member Charles Butler feels optimistic about the future of the Seaford Golf and Country Club. "We have broken even up to this point in the year," said Butler, who is president of the club's board of governors. "Our financial picture is looking better, much improved." The club, which includes a golf course, a swimming pool and a clubhouse and restaurant, is celebrating its 65th birthday. In honor of that anniversary, several events are planned for the 470 family members, said Tom Darby, in charge of the month-long celebration. Those events include a brewmaster's dinner on May 6 featuring six courses, each with a separate beer; the club's annual members' dinner on May 27 featuring music from the 1940s and 1950s performed by Baystar Productions, Lewes; and the club's annual Memorial Day weekend golf tournament. Men will play on Saturday and couples on Monday. In addition, during regular Wednesday- and Friday-night dinners, pianist Daryl Grant Lindsey will perform on the club's new piano. The bar will be open for karaoke May 13 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and May 27 after the annual dinner. Darby said that it is events such as these that are enabling the club to improve its finances. "We are making an effort to increase the number of activities that we have," he said. "All of the holidays throughout the year have celebrations that come with them," added Butler. The club also plans to hire a golf pro, hopefully before the start of the summer, said Butler. In addition, "we are looking for an additional chef, to upgrade the dining room to some degree," he said.

Butler, who has been a member of the club for 40 years, said that it is an invaluable facility for the citizens of Seaford. "The real purpose of the place is golf," he said. "But there is a huge social aspect here. Most days, there are two, three or four functions going on. Weddings, banquets, chamber meetings, business meetings, dances, proms; it is unbelievable what goes on in this place. Sometimes we don't have space for it all." Darby and his wife Christina joined the club three years ago. "We lived in Seaford a whole year, and didn't know anyone," he said. "Here, they just adopt you. Everybody is so friendly." Through May 15, the club is holding a special membership offer. The initiation fee will be discounted, down from $2,500 for full membership to $1,000, for example, and will not have to be paid in full until June 30, 2007. In addition, discounts on the monthly membership fee will apply for two years. Membership dues range from $71 for access to the clubhouse and dining room only to $169 for full membership. For information, call the club, 629-9064. The club is still pursuing permission from the courts to sell 3.35 acres at the southeast corner of the club's golf course. In December 2004, the Seaford City Council approved preliminary site plans for a townhouse development on the 3.35 acres. Those plans call for three three-story buildings, each with 10 units. But the DuPont Co. has blocked the sale of the land. A restriction in the country club deed limits the use of the club property to golf, country club and related purposes as long as DuPont, which opened the country club and owned it until 1996, owns the nylon plant, across Woodland Ferry Road from the club. The DuPont Co. sold its Invista nylon plant to Koch Industries in May 2004. But it still owns the land on which the plant sits, as well as the surrounding land. In an Oct. 5, 2004, letter to the country club, DuPont said that until it "actually sells the land, it is DuPont's position that the [land-use] restriction and right of refusal are still in effect." The country club is suing DuPont in court for the right to sell the land for development. Butler said that the case is set to be held in Superior Court in October.

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