House in Harbor Club is the architectural twin of the Augusta National clubhouse.
The exact moment someone first lays eyes on it – they know. Almost as if the knowledge is somehow innate. The thought immediately pops into their head. And then the words come out of their mouth – “This looks like the Augusta National clubhouse.”
Dean and Merrell Turpin hear that a lot. Heck, they thought the same thing when they first saw the lakefront house in Harbor Club back in 2012. It was one of the main reasons they just had to have it.
“When I looked at that home, it immediately brought memories back about the clubhouse,” recalls Dean, who has had the privilege of playing Augusta National Golf Club as a guest and has spent time inside its historic clubhouse.
Dean and Merrell both have personal ties to the city of Augusta. Dean lived there for more than a decade, worked there and still has family there. Merrell was born in Augusta and also has family members who live in the hometown of the Masters.
Naturally, the couple is quite familiar with the world-famous golf course and its iconic clubhouse. So when they were searching for a second home and stumbled upon the house on Lake Oconee in Harbor Club – their minds instantly went to Augusta.
It’s no accident that the Harbor Club house is an architectural dead ringer for the Augusta National Golf Club clubhouse. The original owner purposely used the clubhouse as the design inspiration and style template for the house when it was built in 2000.
Small wonder when you stop to consider that the Augusta National Golf Club clubhouse has become as well-known and iconic as the club’s famous green jackets worn by members and Masters Tournament champions. The clubhouse is bound to have its own fans and enthusiasts. It’s also full of history that is inextricably linked to the city of Augusta.
The Augusta National clubhouse was originally built in the 1850s as the antebellum plantation home of Irish horticulturist Dennis Redmond. The home was constructed with two-story, wraparound verandas supported by twenty square pillars. It was topped with a hip roof and a square cupola, now often referred to as the “crow’s nest.”
By 1858, the house and adjacent property were sold to Belgian horticulturist Louis E.M. Berckmans and his son Prosper J.A. Berckmans, who both owned and operated Fruitland Nurseries. In 1930, the Berckmans sold it to golf legend Bobby Jones and Augusta National Inc. to be transformed from fruit tree and ornamental landscape business into a winter haven for golf and the site of a major golf tournament – the Masters.
Over the years, the private golf club has made changes to the former plantation home that include adding a golf pro shop, kitchen, trophy room and locker room.
The Turpins’ home at Harbor Club has a number of the same structural and architectural design features as the Augusta National clubhouse. It has the two-story, wraparound verandas. And it, too, is topped with a hip roof and a square cupola. The house also has large windows flanked with black shutters and French doors with transom windows similar to those on the clubhouse.
Although they’re pretty darn close, the lake house and the clubhouse aren’t exact mirror images of each other. There are a few exterior differences between the structures. For example, the verandas surrounding the Turpins’ home are supported by a total of thirty-two square pillars, instead of twenty. And the house’s cupola, or crow’s nest, has a four-sided balcony that provides “quite a spectacular view,” overlooking Lake Oconee, Dean says.
That’s another thing the Augusta National Golf Club clubhouse doesn’t have – Lake Oconee. Instead, the historic structure looks out onto Magnolia Lane lined with sixty majestic magnolia trees planted by the Berckmans back in the late 1850s. The clubhouse also has a grand view of the elaborately landscaped, well-manicured and world-famous links of Augusta National.
At least one horticultural element of the Augusta National Golf Club – bent grass, which stays green during the winter months – can be found on the grounds surrounding the Turpins’ home at Harbor Club. The layout of the interior of the Turpins’ lakefront home also resembles that of the clubhouse, Dean says. Most of us will have to take his word for it. Few guests are granted the opportunity, like Dean, to spend time inside the storied Augusta National clubhouse.
Although it’s not nearly as famous as the Augusta National Golf Club clubhouse, the Turpins’ lakefront home has garnered them a bit of fame over the past five years. The couple has been contacted several times by members of the media interested in writing about their lookalike lake home. And family members, friends, neighbors, golfing buddies and other guests continue to be wowed by the striking resemblance it has to the famous clubhouse in Augusta. They are instantly smitten. “Everybody just falls in love with that house,” Merrell Turpin says.
--Article by Beverly Harvey