PGA to Oxford: A ‘Win-Win-Win’
Accidental golfer Larry Britt turns hobby into a career
BY JAKE THOMPSON
PHOTO BY BRUCE NEWMAN
When he picked up the game in high school, Larry Britt did not fully understand golf. But, decades later, Britt has helped bring the first PGA tour even to Oxford this April.
Britt, the owner of the Country Club of Oxford, has only been in charge of the property for a little over five years and has turned the area located just south of Oxford on Highway 7, into a thriving community.
A native of Minter City, Mississippi, located 32 miles east of Cleveland, Britt moved to Oxford from Atlanta in 1975 to open an office for the company he was employed with at the time. Britt eventually joined with Tom Elliott in 1979 to create Elliott & Britt Engineering, which was the stepping stone to acquiring the country club.
Britt had been a member of the golf course for years and had wondered why someone had not bought the course and developed it. He discovered the property was still tied up in a foreclosure and his wife, Mary Ann, noticed it was going to be put up for auction in the fall of 2012.
With an opportunity to do something with the land presenting itself, Britt spoke with three others who became his partners in the country club, Tom Crowson, Thomas Crowson, and Britt’s son, Lee.
In December 2012 Britt and his partners closed on the property and in August 2013, the Country Club of Oxford opened for business.
Mary Ann introduced Britt to golf when they were teenagers, and he took up the sport as a way to both impress his future wife and to earn her father’s approval.
“I knew nothing about golf,” Britt said. “Her daddy was a really good golfer and he talked about it and asked me if I played golf. I said ‘no, I don’t play golf.’ So, I just started kind of learning how to play golf. … She probably didn’t see (my first golf swing), thank goodness.”
Britt has loved playing the game ever since.
A graduate of Mississippi State University, Britt holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering. It was the ‘only reason’ he attended the school, Britt said.
When Britt and his partners purchased the golf course, the intention had been to lure a state amateur championship. But fate had other ideas. The PGA called Britt to say they were looking for new towns and venues to add to the Web.com Tour.
The organization was looking for three key things: a golf course, a college town and a great community.
“I thought that was a win-win-win for us. We had all three,” Britt said. “They had already kind of made the decision because we had asked them why us? They said they just wanted to be in Oxford.”
Britt and the PGA ultimately came to a three-year agreement, bringing the North Mississippi Classic to Oxford each spring from 2018-20. The deal makes Mississippi one of only five states to hold events from all three PGA Tours. Currently, Jackson hosts the Sanderson Farms Championship in October and the Champions tour makes a stop on the Gulf Coast.
“It’s great for the country club and it’s great for Oxford,” Britt said.