Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The First "Pelham Country Club" Established in 1898 Built a Nine-Hole Golf Course in Pelham in 1898

There once was another "Pelham Country Club" that pre-dated the club now known by that name.  The first Pelham Country Club was organized during a meeting held on May 12, 1898.  It quickly developed a small nine-hole golf course on land it leased in Pelham.  In 1904, the Pelham Country Club secured land to open a larger course in New Rochelle.  The Club subsequently evolved into The Wykagyl Country Club.

To read a little more about the Club, see:  Thursday, October 1, 2009:  Pelham Country Club Secures Land for New Golf Course in 1904.

A wonderful article about the Club's efforts to construct its initial nine-hole course in Pelham appeared in the July 11, 1898 issue of the New-York Daily Tribune.  The text of that article appears below.


Of the many country clubs about New-York that owe their existence to golf none have sprung into more rapid popularity than the Pelham Country Club, organized some two months ago among the prominent summer residents of Pelham, Pelham Manor and New-Rochelle.  Already the first limit of membership has been reached, and before the season closes the club should rank as one of the most successful in Westchester County.  A delightful and picturesque situation, exceptional opportunities for the game and an enthusiastic coterie of players are the elements which have combined toward its present success.  The course is laid out upon the estate of Benjamin Corlies, who is himself an active worker in preparing it for play.  The ground comprises about fifty acres of rolling meadowland, and upon this a nine-hole course of two thousand yards is to be built.  So far only four of the holes have been completed, but the other five are already under way, and judging by the present rate of progress, should be ready for play by the first of September.  The club has had the benefit of trained professional advice in the work, and according to some of its members it will soon possess one of the sportiest links in the vicinity of this city.  Time and judicious care will, of course, be necessary to bring this about, but, as one of the members put it, 'the possibilities are there, there is no lack of money, and the thing is going through.'

The task before the club was one at which many would shrink.  Trees had to be cut down, rocks blasted, marshes drained and a large amount of labor expended in order to prepare the way for a course.  Much of this is already accomplished, and the proof of its success is that the scoffers who refused to believe a links could be made are now among the most enthusiastic members of the club.  There are both highlands and lowlands in the property selected, but the higher portions are reached by easy incline, and throughout there is no difficult approach.  The course extends from the old Boston Post Road on the north to the Boston Turnpike on the south.  At present the members are using a temporary clubhouse, but a new building is shortly to be erected.  It is to contain every requisite for golfers' needs.  The membership rolls include more than one hundred members.  The officers are:  President, Howard Scribner; vice-president, Frederick Wilson; secretary, George K. Perry; treasurer, John Butler, and captain, Harlan V. Gause.  The Board of Governors includes the above-named officers and John K. Muir, Lincoln Pierce, William H. Webster, Ralph K. Hubbard, Jablish Holmes, Jr., W. B. Randall and C. W. Colton.

To give an adequate idea of the course is difficult, owing to the unfinished state of many of the holes.  But as a charming bit of inland scenery, and aside from its golfing possibilities, it is well worth a visit.  Ample provision has been made for each hole, and at no time is it necessary to cross a previous line of play.  Artificial water hazards are to be constructed in order to lend additional interest to the game, and hedges and cop-bunkers will further provide the necessary difficulties.  The grounds are easily accessible from this city, and may be reached from Pelham, Pelham Manor, New-Rochelle or Woodside."

Source:  Golf - Pelham Country Club and Its Sporty Course, New-York Daily Tribune, Jul. 11, 1898, p. 8, col. 1.


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