Iris Wolstein, wife and business partner of Bert Wolstein for more than 57 years, recalls when her
late husband viewed Brunnerdale Seminary and saw a vision for Glenmoor Country Club. Wolstein, who often visited relatives in Stark County, toured the Gothic-style structure after hearing it was for sale.
“He had the vision that the chapel would make a great restaurant,” said Mrs. Wolstein.
The 167,000-square-foot seminary had been built early in the 1930s on a site donated by the bachelor brothers who owned the farm surrounding it. The brothers made a bequest of that farm to the Catholic Church’s Society of Precious Blood, which ran the school for young men preparing for the priesthood.
“When he realized there were well over 300 acres surrounding the seminary, he thought, ‘If I could purchase this property, I could make a country club out of it and build a golf course,’ ” recalled Mrs. Wolstein.
All he had to do was get the pope to sign off on the deal.
“Being in real estate, he was accustomed to tough deals, but having to deal with the pope … ,” began Mrs. Wolstein, who with her husband purchased the property in 1989. “The only stipulation was that we remove the religious items from the chapel. We gutted the chapel and donated the religious items to churches in the area.”
The Wolsteins hired four architects before finding an individual who shared their dreams for Glenmoor’s clubhouse.
“We wanted to maintain the integrity of the building,” said Mrs. Wolstein. “We kept the chapel as much intact as possible, but windows and fixtures were broken. What we did was have replicas made. The floor, walls, ceiling and woodwork are all original.”
Mrs. Wolstein had a fireplace built in the former chapel, where the altar had been.
“It fit in so well that people thought it was always there,” she recalled.
The European-style spa — The Spa at Glenmoor — opened in December 1991. In July 1992, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course began operation.
“He (Bert Wolstein) contacted Jack Nicklaus to design the golf course and they became fast friends,” said Mrs. Wolstein. “Jack came out at least a dozen times to see if everything was going according to their plans.”
The grand opening of the main clubhouse followed in April 1993.
“Upon entering the main clubhouse, guests see the beautifully refinished tile floors and the high stone archways, and they can immediately feel the history of Glenmoor,” it reads in the club’s history information.
The small rooms used by those who resided at the seminary were removed to make the Black Heath Grille, the upscale dining room. On the lower level is Scot’s Grille and Patio. The chapel that Bert Wolstein had viewed with such vision now indeed is seen by diners.
“For a fine dining experience in a truly unique and historical setting,” says the club’s history, “we offer the magnificence of the Chapel, which served as just that for the students attending the seminary.”
Apartments were built in the remainder of the building, noted Mrs. Wolstein. Some of those apartments have been turned into condominiums in the 20 years Glenmoor has existed and “we’re continually building homes.”
Seventy-four rooms for guests — including the 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suite — also are part of Glenmoor and have served as the away-from-home lodging of celebrities, athletes and entertainers during the club’s two decades of history.
“The thing we’re proud of is that at a time when so many country clubs are in dire straits, we are holding our own,” said Mrs. Wolstein. “We are doing fantastic.”
Glenmoor employs more than 170 people year-round and the number jumps up more than 200 during the summer.
The Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles is a recognized national event held at the club each fall.
There are more than 300 home sites within the community.
More than 500 people are members of the country club — you don’t have to live within Glenmoor to be a member or use some of the services.
The clubhouse building, built in 1930-31 as a seminary, contains Belden Brick, East Canton Tile and Republic Steel.
The 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and sports 7,018 yards of golf.
Through The Spa at Glenmoor, the Executive Chef Brendan Meeker, went from 521 pounds to 260 pounds over the last 2 1/2 years.
8 of the last 10 winners of the PGA Bridgestone Firestone Tournament have stayed at Glenmoor. Over the years, The Bertram Inn has hosted Greg Norman,Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Troy Aikman, Howie Long and many other pro athletes and celebrities.
The Chefs at Glenmoor make homemade croutons … last year 2,100 loaves of bread were used in the making of these.
Each year Glenmoor Members and guests hit approximately 900,000 golf balls from the driving range.
Glenmoor hosts open houses periodically to introduce the public to the facilities there. The club is planning a big event this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the club. The open house event is scheduled for 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7. For more information, call 330-966-3600, ext. 251.