Linwood Country Club, one of the finest private country clubs in South Jersey for 97 years, will now be owned and operated by the Dougherty family, which has long and historic ties to the area, particularly as the owners of Dock’s Oyster House, which opened in 1897.
In this exclusive, Brothers Frank and Joe Dougherty announced the sale in conjunction with the Linwood Country Club Board of Directors. The sale of the private club, which originally opened in 1920 and has been owned directly by its members since the 1940s, will be completed by the end of the year.
The Doughertys lead a small group of investors who intend to keep the course private, but the membership structure will likely change to attract new golf and social members. Investments will be made to improve the grounds and clubhouse, and the Doughertys' restaurant experience could immediately make Linwood Country Club one of the best restaurants on the mainland.
“Linwood Country Club has the potential to be the premier private golf club in the area,” says Frank Dougherty, an avid golfer himself, who adds that the name will not change. “The club already offers a first-rate golf course with spectacular views of the Atlantic City skyline. Real opportunity for change, however, exists within the food and beverage program, which is our specialty.”
Dougherty added that the entire facility will be private, including the club’s restaurant, which will boast similar cuisine that has made the Dougherty family name famous in the South Jersey culinary scene.
The Doughertys, including Frank Dougherty’s wife Maureen Shay, reopened Dock’s Oyster House last year after more than doubling its size and totally renovating the landmark restaurant. Frank and Joe are the fourth generation owners of Dock’s, which was founded by their great grandfather. They also own the Knife & Fork Inn — another historic site that opened in 1912 — and Harry’s Oyster Bar, a more casual spin off of Dock’s in the Dennis Courtyard at Bally’s Atlantic City. This will be the first Dougherty business on the mainland.
Linwood Country Club President David Gardner says the board chose the Doughertys because of their “highly successful experience in the restaurant industry, respect for the history and traditions of the club, and clear vision for the club’s future.”
“The goal of the Board of Directors has always been to elevate Linwood County Club to be the most spectacular golf club and event facility in the area,” said Gardner. “We are very excited about the Doughertys' plans for the property and look forward to working together to write the next chapter for this historic club.”
Interior redesign will begin in January and limit access to the ballroom for a couple of months, according to Frank Dougherty, and existing memberships will continue to March 31. The course will also receive some improvements, as well, but nothing that would hinder play. Other than the banquet room, future plans include a bridal suite, adding a bar to the outdoor patio and other physical improvements.
“We are going to make it as smooth a transition as possible,” Dougherty says. “Although the memberships expire March 31, we hope that members stay on to see what we have planned for Linwood Country Club. We are locals with strong ties to the community and a vested interest in seeing Linwood Country Club succeed. Our vision is to enhance the experience for existing members, attract new members and provide unparalleled event space to make Linwood Country Club the top event destination in the area.”