Helping present the life of a man who went from chipping putts at Cedartown’s Cedar Valley Golf Club to walking the greens with presidents and celebrities has been an exciting experience for Daniel Morris and his family.
Now they are ready to share their labors with the community and the world to help the public know more about the person referred to as the “Peacock of the Fairways”.
The Doug Sanders Golf Museum, located on Sterling Holloway Place just off of Main Street in Cedartown, will hold its grand opening Saturday with free admission for all who come, according to Morris, one of the directors of the museum.
Sanders, who died in April at the age of 86, grew up in Cedartown and went on to become a favorite on the PGA Tour, winning 20 events and finishing runner-up at four majors, the most memorable at St. Andrews in the 1970 British Open against Jack Nicklaus.
Aside from his hits and near-misses on the Tour, Sanders was known for his flamboyant fashion sense and colorful personality, hosting tournaments with his celebrity friends and distinguished guests.
“Sanders’ collection is pretty eclectic and he’s got several items from different presidents, astronauts and celebrities,” Morris said. “It should be a good place to visit, and hopefully it will draw a good crowd to Cedartown.”
The museum will showcase a large collection of golf memorabilia that Sanders collected over decades of playing on the professional stage, from golf bags to trophies to paintings.
Much of that collection was turned over to the Morris family to help it be preserved and shared with his hometown in Cedartown after Sanders came to take part in the Ayers-Beck Celebrity Golf Tournament several years ago. The Morris family flew out in years past to discuss taking over the items and establishing a museum and bringing the idea to life.
Morris and his family, which owns Cedarstream screen printing, also own and operate the Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia just around the corner in the 200-block of Main Street. Both projects have revitalized an older building to be used for new tourism opportunities.
“Just like with the Coke museum, we’re excited first and foremost to be able to rehabilitate a property and continue to see the growth of downtown Cedartown,” Morris said.
“This is not a museum about the history of golf. This is a museum about the life that Doug lived. When people come to see the exhibits they are going to be surprised that someone who grew up on the south side of Cedartown grew up to fly in Air Force One, be friends with presidents and celebrities like Willie Nelson and Frank Sinatra. I think Cedartown is lucky to have Doug’s legacy.”
Sanders’ statue that was originally displayed on the grounds of Polk County Courthouse No. 2 as part of the Polk County Sports Walk of Fame was recently moved to the museum, where it is set amid a special landscaped area and floodlights.
The museum will open to the public at 1 p.m. on Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 1:30 p.m. A private memorial service will be held earlier in the day for Sanders’ family and close friends who are attending the grand opening.
The memorial service will not be open to the public.
Morris said he has heard from some of Sanders’ friends, some of which are hoping to attend the opening of the museum. A few others, like Nicklaus and Nelson, have sent their regards and hope to stop by one day but are not traveling at this time.
Sanders lived in Houston, Texas, prior to his death and had also lived in California for a time. Morris said the guests for the private memorial are almost exclusively from out of state.
After Saturday, admission to the museum will be $5 or $10 for both the Doug Sanders museum and the Coke museum.
Morris said he and his family will continue to find ways to enhance downtown Cedartown. Now with the two museums in place, they hope to find a way to connect the two, whether thematically or physically.
“It’s been four years since we opened the Coke museum and now this,” Morris said. “Who knows what will be next. We had no idea about this until Doug came to town and started that ball rolling.”