Sunkist Country Club History

With the vision and diligence of William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley (1881-1963), Joseph V. Lawrence (1902-1975) and Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990), the Sunkist Country Club came to fruition shortly after the completion of the new Popp’s Ferry Bridge. This eighteen-hole golf links is situated north of Popp’s Ferry Road on 128-acres in Section 15, T7S-R10W. Sunkist Country Club was incorporated in Harrison County, Mississippi June 1953 by Ashton C. Barrett, William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley, Robert R. Buntin (1895-1966), and Victor B. Pringle (1909-1977).

Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990) and Virginia Anderson Barrett (1904-1997) sold two parcels of land totaling 128-acres in Section 15, T7S-R10W north of Popp’s Ferry Road to William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley (1881-1963), president of Golf Course Incorporated, in July 1953(Harrison Co., Ms. Land Deed Bk. 370, p. 428)

The Biloxi Country Club, which would shortly be renamed the Sunkist Country Club, announced plans to build its clubhouse in late December through the sale of bonds at $300 each.. The $90,000 structure was designed by John T. Collins, Biloxi architect. The dimensions of the building were planned as: 162 feet by 36 feet. Officers of the club at this time were: William E. Beasley, pres.; Robert R. Buntin, v. pres.; Giles Peresich, treas.; and Lee Kostmayer, sec. Board of Directors: Biloxi-Joseph V. Lawrence; Glen Swetman; Vernon B. Pringle; Earl C. Nolan; and Anson Holley Jr. Gulfport-Arthur V. Hays; Ashton Barrett; and H.C. Thompson.(The Daily Herald, December 23, 1952, p. 9)

In February 1954, Golf Course Incorporated sold the golf course situated on about 120-acres to Sunkist Country Club Incorporated. Mr. Beasley also gave a five-year lease to the Sunkist Country Club on 8.8-acres where the country club house was situated.( Harrison Co., Ms. Chattel Deed Bk. 149, p. 112, Harrison Co., Ms. Land Deed Bk. 378, p. 528, and Harrison Co., Ms. Land Deed Bk. 378, p. 525)

In May 1953, W.E. Beasley, the course developer, Marcel ‘Mickey’ Bellande (1909-1982), Joseph ‘Joe’ V. Lawrence (1902-1975), and Giles H. Peresich (1918-1985) were the first foursome to tee off on the Sunkist links. The formal opening came in late October 1953, when over six hundred members and guests were present at the culmination of four days of initial club activities. Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990) presented William E. Beasley, the Father of Sunkist Country Club, a plaque and portrait of himself to be hung in the clubhouse. Mr. Beasley conceived the idea for the private golf club and had worked the past two years for its completion. His portrait remains in the clubhouse bar & grill until this day.(The Daily Herald, May 16, 1953 and October 27, 1953, p. 1)

Frank I. Steidle (1915-2007), the first golf professional at the club shot a 64 in November 1957 to break the initial course record.(The Daily Herald, November 19, 1954, p. 27)

The Sunkist Country Club was reorganized in July 1967 by Elton Pitts, James B. Rouse, Charles A. Gillis, George Altbach, Fred Huebner, A.J. Ingrassia, Alton L. Bellande (1912-1970), James C. Brashier, Jennings Camet, Roswell Kimball, Robert Parrish, and Dr. James Smith.(502, p. 202)


The 2016-2017 Current Sunkist Country Club, Inc. Board of Directors:

Executive Board:

Jeff Elder, President

Ken Cook, Vice President

Jim Howarth, Treasurer

Mike Letort, Secretary

Committees:

House : Ken Holloway

Greens: Mike Bertucci

Tournaments: Ken Cook

Entertainment / Marketing: Matt Blaine

Pro Shop: Jim Howarth

Membership: Mike Murks

Stocks / ByLaws: Mike Letort

Long Term Plan: Ken Holloway

Social: Brenda Walker

Procurement: Jeff Elder

Director at Large: Ben Benoit