The country club is a social institution that has spread around the world. Originally developed in Scotland, country clubs give upper class people a place to play golf and other forms of recreation.
The first country club in America was founded outside Boston in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1882. It quickly became known as The Country Club and was integral to the development of golf in America.
The Origins of the Country Club
In the late nineteenth century, affluent families began to relocate in new suburban areas. As they grew in wealth, they embraced country club lifestyles that reflected their new-found wealth and social status.
They combined elite equestrian activities with outdoor leisure pursuits such as lawn bowling and tennis. Eventually, golf also grew to dominate the club’s activities.
Many clubs also discriminated on the basis of class, gender, race and religion. This tradition continued into the twentieth century, and is still in effect today.
One of the most important contributions to the game came from The Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio, which was founded in 1889. It is often credited with the creation of the Haskell ball, which was the first rubber-cored ball and revolutionized the game.
During the Great Depression, The Country Club had to struggle, but with prudent leadership, it was able to keep its doors open and maintain its membership. Today, TCC is a family-oriented, first-class country club that offers exceptional golf, athletic and social experiences.
The First Country Club
In 1882, a group of Boston-area gentlemen formed the first country club in America. They were seeking a club where they could enjoy picnics, parties and weekly horseback rides into the countryside without having to travel far from their homes in the city.
They soon realized that golf would be their primary sport of choice. Having acquired land in Brookline, they began construction on the first three holes of a course and hired famed Scottish prodigy Willie Campbell to become their head professional.
He expanded the course to nine holes and by 1899, The Country Club had established an 18-hole course. It was also one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association, which began running national championships.
In addition to their extensive golf program, TCC also offered members tennis and skeet shooting as well as family activities. They continued to improve their facilities and services in response to changing member interests.
The Second Country Club
In Chambersburg, PA, a group of business men decided to form a country club in 1920. They leased land from one Mr. Burgner and began construction on a six-hole golf course. Originally, the name of the club was Race Brook, as a small brook flows through the course. However, this name did not last long as it was soon shortened to the more familiar term country club. The members voted to expand the course, and in 1959, it was approved to build a second nine-hole layout. This addition would give the club twenty-seven holes and three separate eighteen-hole courses. The second nine-hole layout opened for play in July 1960, and the third nine-hole course was opened a year later. It is believed that the name of the second nine-hole layout, called the Oakwood Course, was inspired by the trees along the course. The golfers of Race Brook have enjoyed the beauty and challenge of the golf course for over a century.
The Third Country Club
A group of business men in Chambersburg decided that the area needed a course and they got it done. A board was formed and membership was solicited. The first six holes were constructed in 1921 and the country club was born. The name, of course, came about later. One of the most interesting holes is the par-4 third, a sand-flagged, sloping fairway that pinches down between outcroppings and creates a wasp-waist hole to fire a second shot from. The green is a work of art, with its external contours and elevated position allowing for some seriously big breaking putts to roll in. It’s one of the most fun holes to play at ACC. It’s also the hole that has given a few US Open competitors a round of applause.