By Jim Workman
Assistant Managing Editor
In his lifetime, there have been a lot of highlights, a lot of projects and a lot of accomplishments for Jim Justice.
But for him, few can compare to the restoration of Black Knight Country Club.
Justice, owner of The Greenbrier and The Resort at Glade Springs, is bringing the same type of elegance and fine dining as those resorts — along with a revamped golf course — to Beckley.
Black Knight, which opened in 1929, holds a special place in Justice’s heart.
He basically grew up playing golf on the property.
“Maybe of all of the things that I’ve done, this could very well be the most special,” said Justice. “Cathy and I had our wedding reception here. Jay and Jill learned to play tennis here and they learned to swim here — and I learned to swim here.
“I owe so much to this institution here and to this community. There couldn’t be a better place to grow up in the world than Beckley, W.Va. It was like growing up in a Norman Rockwell painting.
“I appreciate all of the great memories here and all the folks here that helped shape my family. I played a million rounds of golf here with my dad. Honestly, from 8 to 15 feet, to win The Masters or to win the U.S. Open, if I could pick anyone in the world to putt the ball, I would pick my dad. There wasn’t anyone better from that range, in my opinion.”
The reopening ceremonies on Friday commemorated the completion of the first phase of renovations to Black Knight Country Club after eight months of construction.
“Sometimes things fall on hard economic times; it was sad for me,” Justice said. “We’ve taken a step, a leap and we are refurbishing the course and redoing the building. We have a plan.
“It used to be ‘the place to be.’ And that’s what we want it to be again.”
Completely new to Black Knight Country Club is Jimmy’s Steakhouse, a 70-seat restaurant and bar. Its interior design includes a fireplace, three windows of streaming water bubbles and photos and memorabilia depicting the life and contributions of Justice.
The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner and is available for use only by members of Glade Springs Golf and Country Club and their guests.
“It’s great that we are reopening Black Knight,” said Elmer Coppoolse of The Resort at Glade Springs, who will operate Black Knight.
“It’s looking beautiful. We’ll also have another phase of renovations, which will include the first floor and the exterior. We hope it will bring back a lot of Beckley to re-join, and with it would come membership at Glade Springs, because they’re under one umbrella now. Everybody wins here. We’ve managed to create more value now. We love to have new members.
“Restoring the local landmark country club was important to Jim Justice, who purchased the property in 2011. Along with countless families over the course of Black Knight’s 90 year history, Jim grew up playing on the club’s links, swimming and dining with family and friends.
“The restoration of the club by Jim Justice means a great deal to many members of the community and it is a great gift to our region and addition to the amenities of Glade Springs Golf and Country Club,” Coppoolse added.
Members of Glade Springs Golf and Country Club have access to all club amenities, including golf on the three nationally ranked 18-hole courses, an indoor leisure center with indoor pool, bowling, arcade, fitness, spa and tennis as well as access to Glade’s Italian Grill and Bar and Bunkers sports bar.
The Black Knight renovations also included a complete restoration of the second floor ballroom and patio.
Although the renovations of the ballroom are undoubtedly modern, original designs were retained, including eight crystal chandeliers, as well as original ornate ceilings. The new features include a state-of-the-art high definition giant screen and video projector.
While the restaurant is open to members only, the ballroom is available to the public. Corporations and organizations may hold private parties and events on a rental basis.
For more information on membership at Glade Springs Golf and Country Club, contact Rebecca Blaine at 304-763-0828.
Black Knight Country Club is located at 2400 S. Kanawha St., Beckley; The Resort at Glade Springs is located at 255 Resort Drive, Daniels.
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