Founded in 1883 by a group of Dutchmen, Savannah's Forest City Gun Club is the oldest and largest continuously operated skeet, trap and sporting clays club in America. Not only is the club old but it is also large. Boasting twenty-six fields, a forty acre lake, a grand club house, dining hall, shooter registration facility and an assortment of other amenities, the club covers over 537 acres.

The property, located on Ferguson Avenue, was purchased in 1951 through the magnanimity of Dr. Frank Cheatham Wilson, who died in July 1950 and named the Forest City Gun Club as chief beneficiary of his estate. Dr. Wilson was president of the club from 1899 - 1922 and an active member until his death.

Colonel Ormonde Hunter, the oldest man in the club and an honorary life member, was named trustee of the Wilson estate. He remembers Wilson as "a great shot; a man who loved to hunt and to shoot in competition." Dr. Wilson's wish, to be buried on any permanent home site that the club may acquire, was honored; and from Wilson's will, Colonel Hunter inscribed on the tombstone:

One of the greatest interests of my life, and one of my most pleasant moments, have been in the use of firearms and in association of gunners, both in the field and in competition. The Forest City Gun Club, of Savannah, has meant much to me in this respect. I wish to do what I may to make it possible to pass along this sport and the companionship which it forms, to the youth who may come after me.

Prior to the present location, the club had a variety of other locations. In the 1880's the founders shot on Hutchison Island. The targets were not today's clay pigeons, but glass balls. The club relocated to Ardsley Park, until the land was need for a temporary hospital during the Spanish-American War. Other temporary venues included a location on Bee Road, the German Country Club as well Hunter Field and Chatham Park.

Colonel Hunter bought what is now the Savannah Yacht Club. Because the property was not large enough, the club elected to sell the property. The club bought its permanent home in 1951.

Beginning with three fields, the club soon increased the number to six. Then, more than twenty years ago, when the club first hosted the World Skeet Shooting Championships, the old fields were torn up and twenty-six new ones were built.

At that time the Forest City Gun Club was the largest in the world. Today, San Antonio has more fields, but Savannah's club remains the largest privately-owned gun club in the world.

The Club contracted with the National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) to host the World Shoot Championships. In 1997, the Club hosted the first Buick Masters Skeet Shooting Championships, the 2001 US Open Skeet Championships were hosted by the club in September, and most recently the Club hosted the 2004 Georgia State Sporting Clays Championships and the 2005 Georgia State Skeet Championship.

In July of 2003, the FCGC hosted the International Skeet Shooting Competition. It was the fifth time that Savannah was chosen by the National Skeet Shooting Association as the host city. It was the largest world shoot since the inception of the World Championships over thirty years ago. The shoot brought competitors from as far away as Japan, Germany and Australia.

The club continues to strive for excellence in providing an ever-evolving world-class facility for shooting sports. Although the club has changed over the years, the one constant is the love of the sport which first caused the Forest City Gun Club to be organized.

Aside from hosting prestigious competitions, the Club is the ideal place for members and their guests to hone their skill or just relax with fellow shooting enthusiasts.

The Club is not only home to some of the world's top competitors, but we also have a host of opportunities for the beginning shooter.

The Club even has its own Youth Program aimed at providing our younger members with the equipment and training necessary to ensure their safety and enjoyment from the start.

Key to our strength are our members. Being a private club with a self-imposed cap on the number of member slots available, new members must be introduced to the club by invitation.

New members are invited only once per year as existing members pass on or relinquish their memberships voluntarily. Typically, there is an extensive waiting list for available membership slots and prospective members may have to wait for years to join our ranks.

This system is in place for one very practical reason. Too few members and we could not maintain the revenues necessary to meet the club's financial obligations. Too many and we face crowding of our shooting venues to the point that we would have to decline paying members access to their own club.

It is a delicate balance to be sure, but we feel that it is vital to maintaining the casual and comfortable atmosphere that we have carefully fostered over the decades.

Additionally, our members are constantly scrutinized as community citizens and role models. We have a zero-tolerance policy for criminal activity that would cast the club's reputation in a poor light.  We are quick to discipline members who do not uphold the standards which we view as central to our society.

As a shooting facility, we are strident supporters of our shared Second Amendment rights under the US Constitution. Because of this, we take safety, education and fostering the next generation very seriously. Although we do not impose political views on our members, we do strongly believe that our rights as Americans are under siege, and we are vocal in our support of causes that will protect those rights.

Our members are drawn from all walks of life and across all income levels. We are parents, business owners, civil servants, philanthropists and veterans. We are all of these and more.

If there is a common thread at all, it is in our belief that the shooting sports foster teamwork, sportsmanship, camaraderie, discipline and pride. We are Forest City.

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