When Frank Gabriel decided to buy a piece of property at Reynolds, he did it for the same reasons most people do: One beautiful big lake and jaw-dropping golf courses. “There aren’t many places around the country with this,” Frank says. “My friends back in Michigan would ask what I found in Georgia that would make me want to move. I’d say, ‘Come take a look.’”

Some of those people are Members now. Back to 1996. Frank had taken early retirement after 33 years at Ford Motor Company, where he helped design automatic transmissions and would occasionally drop into local pool halls. His next design project was his home at Reynolds at the end of a long driveway among tall shade trees. He also had one “must.”
“The house had to have one room dedicated for a pool table,” Frank says, “because it’s something you can use no matter how old or how young you are.”

Soon enough, he had a finished home and a table trucked in from Macon. So did another Member, Bill Borst. Word spread like balls on a solid break, around the golf courses and tennis courts: These new guys, Bill and Frank? They have pool tables.

“It became a friend magnet,” Frank says. The tables drew into their homes guys from Illinois, New Jersey, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, and one, Ron Hazzard, who also retired from Ford. By accident, Bill and Frank had engineered the Reynolds Pool Club. They had another motive, which could prove valuable for anyone who might start a baking club or a TV-binging club.

“We were always looking for guys to share the hosting every month,” Frank says.
For the past 22 years, anywhere from six to 20 guys have shown up to play in a handful of homes. They keep coming for the camaraderie and for the chance to win a few quarters. Playing also comes with side benefits.

“We help each other fix things,” says Eric Silver, a transplant from Cincinnati. “It’s nice to have an air conditioning guy or a handyman around the table.”

There have also been wine connoisseurs, doctors, an Air Force colonel, and a guy who everyone appreciates for bringing a good bottle of bourbon.

“We once had a guy whose wife was a ringer at cooking,” Frank says. He pauses at the memory of strudels and apple pie. “We’re always open to new players joining us.”

Blair Northern was among the inaugural pool guys. He was also among the first Members to build a house at Reynolds.

“Blair, you’d tell us stories about the early days and claim you were going to put a pool table in your house,” Frank says, standing the length of a pool stick from Blair himself, who listens to the story and waits for a mistake that never comes. “We thought you were just leading us on so you wouldn’t feel guilty about using our tables. But when everything opened back up after the Covid shutdown, you invited us over to your place and here it was — a new pool table, with food on the counter and beer in the cooler.”

On this day, six of the pool guys have gathered around Blair’s table between their morning golf rounds and evening barbecues. Through the window, they see a seventh player walking quickly down the driveway with a new stick. A smattering of quarters have been tossed near the table like rice at a wedding. There’s no shark among them. In fact, the balls miss the pockets the way putts have ways of missing the hole when there’s money on the line — even spare change.

“It’s cheap entertainment,” says Mike Butler. “And the friendships are priceless.”
Frank interjects as he leans over his next shot. “But let’s tell it like it is. We all want bragging rights.”

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