Cedar Rapids Country Club
The best golf course logos you and Luke Donah know tell a story. They are sewn proudly on your polo shirt or your cap, and passers-by ask: Tell me more. Why the animal? Why vegetation? What is the meaning of all this?
Done well, they become a point of pride. You want to to answer these questions.
“If you have the opportunity to tell a story with a logo, why not seize it? Donah said. “I want people to ask, hey, what’s that logo on your shirt? And it’s not just, oh, it’s my members-only logo t-shirt because it sounds a little stuffy.
“I wanted it to be more of an opportunity for them to tell the story because I think it’s a great story to tell, and I don’t know anyone who’s going to hear that story and say, why did you just lose two minutes of my life tell you that?
He is right. My God, does Cedar Rapids Country Club and its members and its town have a history.
After all, the logo is that of a lifeboat from the Titanic.
It is a story, however, that needs to be told starting with today and ending with that luxury ship crash 110 years ago. So please trust us and hang in there. You see, Donah’s adopted hometown and golf club has seen a few days over the past decade. In 2008, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the eastern part of Hawkeye State on the Cedar River, was hit by a historic flood. In 2020, a violent storm.
Donah is CRCC’s new head pro. He and his wife, Kendra, are both originally from upstate New York, have lived in Cedar Rapids since 2015 and recently gave birth to a son, Beaux. As you listen to Donah’s description of the town’s recovery, don’t forget the logo.
“The 2008 flood the golf course didn’t necessarily receive – we flood several times a year, usually, so the club didn’t necessarily suffer any damage during that, but a lot of member businesses did. did downtown, and so downtown Cedar Rapids basically had to reinvent itself after the flood,” he said. “I wasn’t there at the time, but from from what i heard, downtown cedar rapids has since rebuilt much better.
“Then in 2020 we had just done an 18-hole course restoration, from 2011 and we finished that in 2015. And so the golf course, we went from kind of an obscure, haphazard private club to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ranked 67th on Golfweek’s Top 100 Classics, and Golf Magazine rated us one of the best restoration projects of the past decade. Our golf course received a ton of cheers for the changes we made and everyone was enjoying the golf course; he was in such good condition. 2019, we hosted our first USGA event; we had the US Senior Women’s Am.
“And then 2020, in August, we start right after Covid earlier in the year, and we have 160 mph wind for an hour straight. And it absolutely obliterates the golf course. We lost over 800 trees. And the trees that we left on the golf course were, those are the trees that we intentionally left there because we removed a lot of trees during the restoration. It took us a while to reopen. We are really beaten. Even now, we are working out the plan with our architect on what we are going to start this fall to get the golf course back to what we hope it can be. We have a great opportunity now. There are hardly any trees in the middle of the golf course, and it is a great property, large lot. So now it’s just a matter of determining how we can use this land.
“Every home in Cedar Rapids suffered damage in the derecho. And so everyone’s house was damaged, but there were still members here helping the staff clean up the golf course every day during the cleanup immediately after the storm. Members helped other members clean their homes. Everyone needed help. It’s not like back then you could just hire someone because all the houses in Cedar Rapids had been damaged and there was no one to hire. Our infrastructure was kind of wiped out for a few days. We didn’t have access to gas or electricity or anything immediately after the storm, so people kind of huddled together and helped each other. Here, it’s just the nature of people. Everyone helped everyone. And Cedar Rapids has really cleaned up. And the CRCC cleaned up.
To Donah, it all sounded a lot like Walter Douglas.
Here, it’s just the nature of people. Everyone helped everyone. And Cedar Rapids has really cleaned up. And the CRCC cleaned up.
Douglas and his two brothers, George and Will, were the sons of George Douglas and Margaret Boyd and, according to various reports, the patriarch was an oatmeal manufacturer whose business eventually merged with others to form the Quaker Oats Company. You’ve probably seen their product in your grocery store. Anyway, the three brothers, after George and Walter visited Scotland, organized the Cedar Rapids Country Club in 1904.
Eight years later, Walter, his wife, Mahala, and their maid, Berthe Leroy, embark on a luxury ship.
One hundred and ten years later to the day, the following note was sent to the members of Walter’s old club. Several reports told the same story. (Special thanks to the Society of Golf Historians for helping share the note on his Twitter account.)
“CRCC Members”, the note begins“Today we are thrilled to introduce the all new members-only logo of Cedar Rapids Country Club! On this date, 110 years ago, Walter Douglas, a founding member of the CRCC, tragically perished in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. On the night of the sinking, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas were in their cabin at the time of the collision, the shock of which was so slight that they paid little attention to it. Receiving no instructions to go to the upside down, the couple waited in their cabin, Walter reassuring his wife that there was no danger. Only the sight of other passengers congregating in the aisles dressed in life rings prompted them to do the same and they got dressed and walked to the deck of the boat where they waited for some time.
“Mr. Douglas saw his wife and maid in lifeboat 2, but refused to go until all the women and children had been accounted for, declaring sadly ‘No, I must be a gentleman.” According to later reports, Walter Douglas, dressed in his finery, helped lower the last lifeboat of Titanic survivors.
Donah, a self-proclaimed history buff, had heard the story while visiting the Cedar Rapids mansion where George lived, the Brucemore, and then passed it on to Ryan Gabel of Alternate Golf Logos, who designed the logo .
“What’s been good is that there have been a lot of members who have been members here their whole lives – like their parents were members here, had been in this club for a long time and had been in the community for a long time – and didn’t even know that story,” Donah said. “…I just thought that when I took over as head pro, it’s a story about our history or our club heritage that no one knew about and I really wanted to bring it to light. in the form of a members-only logo.”
And my God, does Cedar Rapids Country Club and its members and its town have a history.
I wanted it to tie into how I feel about the club, about Iowans, selfless people who care about each other.
After all, the logo is that of a lifeboat from the Titanic.
“It wasn’t necessarily about having a members-only logo or having a logo tied to a moment in history, but how I wanted it to tie to how I feel about the club, Iowans , selfless people who look out for each other,” Donah said. “That’s what I really felt, that’s what tied it all together for me. It’s a great story. It’s a story that few people didn’t know who were members of the club. But then it relates to what we’ve been through as a community and as a club, how everyone takes care of each other Even though Walter paid the biggest price – he ultimately gave his life – we still care each other in our own way.
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