Fieldstone’s Friday Nights Inspire – The Piper – Brand

Bagpipe Players at Fieldstone Golf ClubIt’s Friday night at Fieldstone Golf Club, and the sun begins to set upon the club’s frolicking, Scottish-style landscape. Members anxiously congregate on the patio overlooking the award-winning Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry design, waiting for the evening’s main entertainment.

Then the bagpipes erupt.

Since the club’s inception on June 15, 1999, the bagpiper has been there. And every Friday night during the golf season, sunsets at Fieldstone go hand-in-hand with the music of “The Piper.”

“The Friday night bagpiping tradition is something the membership looks forward to every single week. It’s one of the more popular seatings for our food and beverage team because everyone wants to come out and listen to the pipes,” said Jim Larkin, Fieldstone’s Director of Golf. “It’s an atmosphere unlike any other. It really does help make this place special.”

It makes it sound special, too.

For Fieldstone’s opening day in 1999, the Greenville, Del. venue rang in its existence with the musical lungs of Bob Waters, a decorated bagpiper who has been playing since he was 10 years old. While a clubhouse didn’t exist at the time — a temporary trailer was used as the club’s hub — the show went on. Waters started on the 16th green and marched his way up to the top of the hill, to where Fieldstone’s patio and clubhouse now stand. After that day, the club came to the realization that it would become a regular performance.

“Someone from the club had asked me, after the event, if I would like to keep playing Friday nights for the members. That’s what it kind of grew into. Although I was pretty busy at the time, I recruited a few other guys to play so that we could keep it going every single week,” said Waters, 73, of Kennett Square, Pa.

Waters, alongside a number of other talented performers, has kept the tradition playing since 1999. He recruited friend and fellow piper Jim Hunter to take the Friday night shifts he could not fulfill. On occasion, a few bagpipers will get together on Fieldstone’s patio, playing with championship chemistry like few can.

“When it became a regular thing, I was pretty busy and needed some others to join me. I recruited a fellow by the name of Jim Hunter, who had just retired at the time and was one of my students. My brother Dan then became Jim’s backup, plus we have a few other players in the rotation. My nephew Kevin will also join us sometimes when he’s in the area so that we are able to harmonize and play together as a trio,” said Waters.

The usual Friday night performance consists of a piper situated between Fieldstone’s 9th and 18th holes for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the wind. Next, a visit to the patio gives diners a front-row seat. Children have been known to join behind the pipers as they march the walkway. The famed song “Amazing Grace” traditionally makes a star appearance toward the end of the evening’s festivities.

It just kind of dawned on me that there’s nothing more iconic than the sunset at the piper

Fieldstone Golf Club Logo

The bagpipes have become such an integral part of Fieldstone’s brand that it’s literally now become the face of Fieldstone. In 2021, it was time to bring “The Piper” to the forefront of the club’s branding when Fieldstone introduced a new logo.

“The idea for logos is that it should always have links to the course’s traditions. It should be iconic. Over time, we had been playing with secondary logos. We’ve tried many different things,” said Larkin, 53, of Chadds Ford, Pa., who has been at the club since its inception. “It just kind of dawned on me four or five years ago that there’s nothing more iconic than the sunset and the piper.”

To put Larkin’s artistic vision on paper, the club sought out world-renowned golf artist Lee Wybranski, who has created drawings and paintings for many of the world’s finest facilities and major championships. The end product now glistens all over Fieldstone’s grounds and pro shop.

“Jim came to me already with the idea in mind. We knew we were going with the bagpiper. What we didn’t know is how we’d differentiate it and make it different from say a place like Spanish Bay, which has an internationally known bagpiper logo. We then started looking at different colorways and things like that,” said Wybranski, a 53-year-old Philadelphia, Pa. native.

Wybranski’s piper has been quite the hit in the GAP region. Last year, the newly-introduced design took top honors in the Delaware State Golf Association’s logo contest. Its navy and light blue colors give it an extremely appealing look to the eye, whether on a golf shirt or a yardage marker. However, it’s the subject’s powerful posture that really commands attention from observers.

“We started with the basic piper, and then started playing around with different postures. One of the important details in the logo itself is the marching posture. Historically, the instrument was one used in warfare, marching alongside soldiers. For that reason, we went with the mid-stride look rather than just standing still,” said Wybranski, artist of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club poster, in addition to countless others.

“Lee did a great job of bringing it to life. It’s been really well received by the members and everyone,” said Larkin. “It’s become the club’s primary logo, both for merchandising and [for the Fieldstone brand].”

The season’s sunlight begins to dwindle by the hour, and so will the air in the bagpipes. The tunes traditionally take a hiatus in the offseason. But when April comes, so, too, will the milestone music of Fieldstone’s newest brand.

“Life would be boring without the pipes. We always want to hand [the playing of the instrument down],” said Waters. “And hats off to Fieldstone for keeping the Friday night tradition alive. Now, with the new logo, it’s something I’m very proud to be a part of.”

As members keep reveling in the bagpipes’ sounds, Fieldstone’s Friday night tradition has evolved into an entirely new identity. And as long as the music keeps playing, it will continue for years to come.