The McMullin-Jones family has run Yankee Run Golf Course for 90 years, but there was never any
guarantee that it would stay in the family this long.
“We had an offer, I want to say, 10 years ago, substantial offer,” said Gary McMullin, who owns the
course with his son, Garrett.
At the time of the offer, Garrett was an employee of the course, not a co-owner.
“He expressed to me, he said, ‘Dad, this is what I want to do,’” Gary said in a recent interview. “I said,
well, that’s all I need to know,” and he turned down the proposal.
The course is made up of what used to be the McMullin and Jones farms on Warren Sharon Road in
Brookfield, with Yankee Run flowing on the property. The farms had cows, chickens and horses, and
grew corn and wheat.
Bill Jones was studying mechanical engineering at Cornell University in 1929 when he suggested to his
sister Alice Jones McMullin the idea of building a golf course.
“One day, (Bill) said to (Alice), ‘You know, sis, they play a game in Ithaca called golf. Maybe you should
consider combining the Jones farm and the McMullin farm and build a golf course,” former course coowner Paul McMullin said in 2018, at the induction of his father, Ben Jr., into the Brookfield Warrior
Hall of Fame.
“Alice talked to her husband, Ben Sr., and one thing led to another, and lo and behold, two years later, on
July 4, 1931, Yankee Run opened as a nine-hole public golf course.”
Bill Jones designed the course, and the horse barn was renovated to become the clubhouse, Gary said.
Ben Sr. and Alice operated the course, and their sons, Ben Jr. and Bill became excellent golfers, with Ben Jr. playing on the Ohio State golf team and becoming a PGA professional.
Paul said his dad’s life “revolved around golf. He worked at it from sunup to sundown. When he had a rare day off, he would play golf. When he took an off-season vacation, it was to go golfing. Most all of his friends were golfers, and if golf was on TV, he watched it. Being a golf professional was not only his profession but his life-long passion.”
In 1946 and 1947, Ben Jr. and Bill McMullin built the second nine holes of the golf course. They took
over ownership until 1983, when they sold it to Paul and Gary, who is Bill’s son.
In 2019, at the golf course’s induction into the Warrior Hall of Fame, Bill said he was proud of the legacy
started by his parents.
“We do feel we’ve served our community well over the years,” he said.
Bill died in 2019, Ben Jr. in 2007, and Ben Sr. in 1941.
Gary said he worked at the golf course “from the time I could virtually walk,” but had picked a different
career path: teaching health and physical education and coaching.
“I was pretty content doing that,” he said.
However, when his father started talking about retiring, Gary reconsidered his future.
“I gave it a lot of thought and, ‘Oh, geez. I can’t let this go,’” he said.
Gary said he does not regret coming back to the golf course.
“To me, this is my life,” he said. “It’s not work. It’s my life.”
A life where the costs of running the business have continually gone up, and Gary and Garrett have taken
on more of the work that used to be handled by others.
“We try to do more ourselves, as far as doing irrigation projects, drainage projects, any construction out
there, we do pretty much in-house,” Gary said. “We have a much smaller labor force than we did before.
It’s hard to get youth labor. We used to have 10, 12 kids apply, from the schools, primarily Brookfield,
and nearby areas. It’s virtually nothing, now.”
The customer base is strong, dedicated and opinionated.
“It’s almost like they’re part of the family,” Gary said. “They’ve seen the changes we’ve gone through
here. It’s kind of neat because they’ll look and say, do you have any projects going on this year? They’ll
offer their ideas, too, which is kind of neat. We always listen to folks and see what they have to say. A lot
of the people that play here have been coming for 25, 30, 40 years.”
They keep coming back because the course has a “great track,” Gary said.
“It’s a good layout,” he said. “My ancestors who put it together knew what they were doing. They used a
lot of the natural terrain, but they just had a lot of good vision and what the game of golf should offer as
far as a challenge. It’s a very challenging course. We have some tough greens – sometimes, maybe, they’re
too tough. They create a lot of conversation and people that play here keep coming back. If it was an easy
thing and it was, like, sort of blasé, I don’t think we would be nearly as busy.”
At age 70, Gary has had thoughts of slowing down. He would like to spend more time visiting family members who have moved out of state, including some of his kids, grandkids and Dena’s mom. He said he is not terribly ambitious to take on big projects.
Garrett, who said his dad probably did more to steer him away from the course as a profession than he did
in trying to bring him on, said he was moved by his grandfather’s love of the course, and an appreciation
of the blood, sweat and tears that his ancestors have poured into its creation and maintenance.
“It’s like you can kind of see a timeline of what all they’ve done, my grandfather, what he’s done, my dad,
what he’s done, what I’m trying to do,” Garrett said. “It all kind of blends into one kind of dream, I
Garrett said he’s not so much interested in physical changes to the course or making money as he is in
setting a certain standard.
“We’re a public course,” he said. “Public courses, they’re portrayed as a not-as-nice-as-a-country-club
kind of condition. My goal is to be better than a country club. I’ll do my damnedest to get to where I want