Homes in the Polo Fields are sold every week, and families come and go. But one family has seen it all, having moved in when the roads weren’t even paved. Now, after 31 years, Bobby and Lynn Mashburn have decided to sell their home and move to a nearby retirement community.
Donna Murphy, of Sotheby’s Atlanta Fine Homes, is their agent as well as a neighbor and friend of many years. She says this move is an end of an era.
“Bobby and Lynn have in many ways been the heart and soul of this community,” Murphy said. “They have seen it all, and helped make Polo what it is today.”
Recently the couple took time to recall their wonderful time that has spanned the entire history of the large golf club development.
“I would do it all over again,” Bobby said. “We made some good friends up here.”
Bobby and Lynn had just seen their last child leave home in 1986 and were facing the question many empty nesters face.
“We had this big three-story house in Roswell,” Lynn says, “and me and Bobby are wandering around in the den and the bedroom and the kitchen. It was like, ‘what in the world are we doing in this big old house?’”
To make matters worse, Roswell was growing and congestion was hindering their quality of life. They made the decision to move to a new golf community in Forsyth County called the Polo Fields. In those days, south Forsyth truly was a respite from the growth of Roswell.
“You didn’t see anything but cows,” Lynn said, “cows and horses. This was way out. Even Alpharetta was just a little bitty town then.”
Their friends in Roswell thought they were crazy, Bobby said. One neighbor who was a real estate agent told the couple they would lose their investment, but then just a few short years later that same former neighbor made his own move north.
For the Mashburns, moving to Polo was a little bit of a leap of faith.
“We were the fifth family in,” Bobby said. At the time there were only three streets, and their cul de sac had not even been paved. The Atlanta telephone exchange ended at Vickery Creek. “If you had children in Midway,” Bobby said, “it was a long distance call.”
To avoid saddling them with long distance charges, Lynn said her children who were living in Roswell would call and let it ring one or two times and then she or Bobby would call them back.
But being early has its rewards. Selecting what many in the area agree is the best lot in Polo, Bobby and Lynn’s home site backs up to the Bagley property, an expanse of farm land then used for grazing cattle and currently occupied by horses. Beyond the pasture is a picturesque view of Sawnee Mountain.
The Mashburns moved in in August of 1987, and it wasn’t until the following year that Polo Golf and Country Club opened its golf course. To call them pioneers would not be inaccurate. The Mashburns’ membership number at Polo is No. 1.
In the beginning there were just six holes. Bobby recalled that you had to play holes 1 thru 5 and then jump across the street to what is now hole 18; and then play that circuit two more times to get in a full round.
But golf was a big reason Bobby and Lynn moved to Polo. Without the club, Bobby says, there is no way they would have moved there.
“We both played golf constantly,” Lynn said. “Bobby played three or four times a week. We played every golf course in Georgia.”
“Except Augusta,” Bobby chimed in.
“Mr. Chatham was always the first group off (the tee on Saturdays)” Bobby recalled, “and we were second group off.” Bobby’s group also consisted of Jimmy Woods, Barry Hawkins and Dick Carlton who was the postmaster general for the area.
Bobby, who carried a low single digit handicap, recalled that they would almost always play 36 holes every Saturday and Sunday. And he has a special memory of a hole in one on 5. It was a cold and rainy day, and they always played the blue tees, he said. One swing with a 4 iron was all he needed though. In those days, the club kept a pot that everyone contributed to for the occasional hole in one. With his winnings, Bobby said, he was able to buy Lynn a new set of clubs.
Lynn was also an avid golfer, and while she says she didn’t play at Bobby’s level, she said Bobby would always play with her as long as she didn’t slow the group behind them. She has played at his pace ever since.
The Polo Fields was named for an actual polo field at the corner of Post Road and Majors Road developed by Pat Dominicone for use by his Atlanta polo club. In those days polo matches were held on the field that today houses multiple soccer fields. People in the area would often come watch the matches.
“We didn’t know what we were watching,” Bobby recalled. But it was an event nonetheless. Lynn enjoyed the tradition of letting the spectators stomp the field flat between periods, but Bobby recalls you had to be careful what you stomped on.
In the early years, Bobby and Lynn were witnesses to the beginnings of growth in south Forsyth. Those early days of Polo don’t much resemble the mega-community today.
Bobby says there was only one grocery store, the Ingles, which was located in the current Stars and Strikes shopping center in Cumming. He says Lynn used to drive to Bruno’s in Alpharetta to shop.
Lynn recalls that there was no cable television.
“We put a TV antenna in our attic, so if you wanted to watch Atlanta (stations),” she says. “Sometimes, I could go up there and turn it and we could get Chattanooga.”
They recalled the first baby born in the neighborhood to Alan and Deanna Armstrong, and they remembered the plan for the Outer Loop that never materialized.
Lynn also remembers the march in Cumming led by Oprah Winfrey. They had put money down on the lot just a week before the march. Lynn said they had heard most of the protesters weren’t even from the Cumming area having traveled from north Georgia and from out of state.
It was an unfortunate event, they both concede, giving Forsyth County a “black eye” that took 15 or 20 years to heal. Bobby worked in Atlanta, and said he was scared to display the Forsyth County license plate on his car for fear of it being keyed. Instead he opted for a University of Georgia plate, thus both concealing where he lived and supporting his beloved Bulldogs.
Life has been good for Bobby and Lynn at the Polo Fields. Even though the neighborhood in the early days was a bit of a “Peyton Place,” they recall the strong friendships and events.
In the early days, the Mashburns would team up with their neighbors, the Holbrooks, and block the street for a Fourth of July celebration complete with fireworks. At Christmas, the neighbors in the area would sing carols and always ended up at the Mashburn’s home.
“We had the smallest home in the subdivision,” Lynn said, “but this is where everyone came.”
Perhaps the best memories Bobby and Lynn have are the many family events they have hosted. Their son was married in the backyard with Sawnee Mountain presiding over the ceremony; and Lynn’s parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary there, as well as countless family reunions.
And now it is time for Bobby and Lynn to say goodbye to this wonderful home, and the community they saw grow from infancy to maturity. No doubt the Polo Fields will miss this special couple.