Metro Detroit residents share photos, memories of 'irreplaceable' Oakland Hills as the building burns
Golfers and Metro Detroit residents shared memories of the beloved Oakland Hills Country Club on Thursday as a major blaze engulfed the clubhouse.
The historic Bloomfield Township club has hosted six U.S. Opens, three PGA championships and a Ryder Cup and had recently been awarded U.S. Women's Opens in 2031 and 2042.
The blaze started Thursday morning and was contained by early afternoon. There were no injuries, club officials said in an email to members.
"I am truly devastated to learn of this fire at Oakland Hills (where I worked as a hostess the summer after high school)," U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Waterford Township, tweeted Thursday. "My heart goes out our amazing Bloomfield Hills community and my prayers are for everyone’s safety as we try and salvage history."
Patrick McCarthy of Bloomfield Hills said he golfed at the club in high school in the 1990s.
“I’m hoping they’ll be able to restore it,” McCarthy said as he stood in the parking lot of a shopping center about a half-mile from the club. “It’s tragic. I was hoping they would be able to contain (the fire).”
McCarthy said Oakland Hills was his home course when he golfed at Brother Rice High School.
“It’s devastating,” said McCarthy, who added he had been back with his wife to watch the Ryder Cup and PGA tournaments at the iconic golf course.
“All the history, the tradition…,” said McCarthy.
Bloomfield Township resident Ron Ross said while the building can be rebuilt, “You can’t rebuild history.”
“A hundred years of history gone up in flames,” Ross said. “The tragedy of it all is the archives from the last 100 years. You’re talking about 100 years gone.”
Kris Thibert, a receptionist at Quenlyn & Company Salon on Maple and Lahser, said she’s attended luncheons and wedding receptions at the club.
“It was beautiful,” Thibert said.
The memories reverberated beyond the region.
Amanda Spurlock of Austin, Texas, tweeted that "one of my core memories" of her grandparents was going with them "for Sunday brunch."
Scott Taylor of Winnipeg in Canada had his own reminiscences.
"As a teenager in Sarnia, I had a friend I'd play regional tournament golf against who was a member at Oakland Hills and I got to play there once or twice a summer. It was a privilege. This is so sad," Taylor tweeted.
Here are some of the memories and reactions shared: