The Country Club
President Taft at the club in 1913
|Designed by||Willie Campbell (1895)
Alex Campbell (1902)
The Country Club, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest country clubs in the United States. It holds an important place in golf history, as it is one of the five charter clubs that founded the United States Golf Association, and has hosted numerous USGA tournaments including the 1913 U.S. Open won by then-unknown Francis Ouimet. Today, the club has nearly 1300 members.
The club originally was founded in 1882, and is listed on the USGA's list of the first 100 clubs in America. The original club was focused on horseback-riding and other outdoor activities; the golf course was not built until 1893. For several years there were conflicts between golfers and other club members over land use; in fact the original golf course overlapped with the pre-existing race track.
The golf course itself grew in several stages, and so is not the result of any one architect. The first six holes were laid out by three club members in March 1893, and the following year the Scot, Willie Campbell, was brought in as club professional. He oversaw the expansion to nine holes that summer, and to a full 18 holes by 1899 following some land acquisition. Around 1902 the Haskell golf ball became widely used, necessitating a further lengthening of the course. After an additional land purchase, two club members designed three new holes which opened in 1908. Rees Jones renovated the course further in preparation for the 1988 U.S. Open.
In 1894 The Country Club was one of the five charter clubs which founded the United States Golf Association. The original purpose was to sponsor an undisputed national amateur championship, which was first held in 1895. The first U.S. Open (almost an afterthought) was held the following day. The first USGA championship held at the club was the 1902 U.S. Women's Amateur.
The 1913 U.S. Open was held at The Country Club. The heavy favorites were English legends Harry Vardon (1900 U.S. Open winner; four-time British Open winner) and Ted Ray (reigning British Open champion). After 72 holes the pair found themselves tied with 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet — who had grown up across the street from the course and was a former caddie at the club — forcing an 18-hole playoff the next day. In a shocking upset, Ouimet soundly defeated the two professional golfers in front of a large gallery, and the resulting newspaper stories captured the imagination of the American public. The number of golfers in the country at least tripled in the subsequent ten years, with a corresponding increase in golf courses (including many public courses, opening up the game to a larger segment of the population). The 1963 and 1988 U.S. Opens were also held at The Country Club, the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the Ouimet victory. However, the 2013 U.S. Open, marking the 100th anniversary of Ouimet's improbable win, was contested at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia. The Country Club instead hosted the 2013 U.S. Amateur.
The story of Francis Ouimet’s triumph at the 1913 US Open was commercialized by Mark Frost’s 2002 book, “ The Greatest Game Ever Played". Coincidentally, author, Mark Frost shares the same surname as the former 1976 President of “The Country Club”, Thomas B. Frost.
The club hosted the Ryder Cup in 1999. This intense match exploded into controversy following a competition-turning 45-foot putt on the 17th green by Justin Leonard (the same green where Ouimet effectively clinched his victory), as the other American players stormed the green in celebration before José María Olazábal had a chance to attempt his own difficult putt. Olazábal was forced to regain his focus after order was restored, and missed the shot.
2009 The Country Club violated the Wetlands Protection Act. The water in the drinking fountains that were placed throughout the golf course were deemed to be contaminated.  In response to contamination findings by the Environmental Protection Agency, The Country Club was ordered to repair its water and irrigation systems and remove drinking fountains from the course . As a result of the environmental issues The Country Club anachronistically established the “Issac/Childs Historic Trust” to purchase the bordering homes of Country Club Members who suffered injury due to contamination and overflow from The Country Club. Subsequently , Trusts established by The Country Club acquired the neighboring homes of Country Club Members, William Condinha, Esq, and William Claflin, IV. The Issac/Childs Historic Trust is named for club members John W. Childs and Jonathan Issac, who is the son in law of club president G. West Saltonstall.
The golf facilities have a total of 27 holes, divided between two courses.
The Main Course is composed of the Clyde and Squirrel nines, essentially the original 18 holes. This was the course used for the 1913 U.S. Open, and is the course played by members today.
The other nine holes are the Primrose Course, an executive course built in 1927. This was designed by William S. Flynn, who also (re)designed Shinnecock Hills, Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver, and the Cascades Course at The Homestead, and the Kittansett Club also in Massachusetts.
The Championship, Composite, Anniversary, or Open Course is used for major competitions today, when a longer layout is required. In this configuration, three and a half holes from the Primrose Course are used to replace three holes of the Clyde, resulting in a length of almost 7,400 yards. This layout has been used for major competitions since the Primrose Course was built.
|2013||U.S. Amateur||Matthew Fitzpatrick|
|1995||U.S. Women's Amateur||Kelli Kuehne|
|1988||U.S. Open||Curtis Strange|
|1982||U.S. Amateur||Jay Sigel|
|1963||U.S. Open||Julius Boros|
|1957||U.S. Amateur||Hillman Robbins|
|1941||U.S. Women's Amateur||Betty Hicks Newell|
|1934||U.S. Amateur||Lawson Little|
|1922||U.S. Amateur||Jess Sweetser|
|1913||U.S. Open||Francis Ouimet|
|1910||U.S. Amateur||William C. Fownes Jr.|
|1902||U.S. Women's Amateur||Genevieve Hecker|
- 1905 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Arthur G. Lockwood
- 1920 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Frederick J. Wright, Jr.
- 1925 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Francis Ouimet
- 1932 Walker Cup, won by the United States over Great Britain & Ireland 9½-2½
- 1934 Massachusetts Amateur, won by William O. Blaney
- 1949 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Robert W. Knowles, Jr.
- 1953 U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur Championship, won by Mildred Meyerson
- 1967 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Barrie Bruce
- 1968 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, won by Eddie Pearce
- 1973 Walker Cup, won by the United States over Great Britain & Ireland 14-10
- 1976 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Bruce Douglass
- 1987 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Kevin Jones
- 1999 Ryder Cup, won by the United States over Europe 14½-13½
- 2003 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Andy Drohen
- 2009 Massachusetts Amateur, won by Bill Drohen
Catherine Hooper-Madoff http://nypost.com/2014/09/11/andrew-madoff-left-16m-fortune-to-family/
In addition the club has five indoor tennis courts, four outdoor tennis courts including grass courts, paddle & squash courts, an olympic-sized swimming pool with a cafe, curling, skeet shooting, skating & hockey pitches.
- Levenson, Michael (February 9, 2011). "Patrick says he considered resigning". The Boston Globe.
- "Anne Nason, A Comer in Golf. Scores Best Gross at the Country Club. Her 95 Beats Fanny C. Osgood, Second, by Five Strokes. Winner Only Took Up the Game About Year Ago". Boston Daily Globe. October 28, 1913. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
Miss Anne Nason won the prize for the best gross in the handicap medal play for women and also the Clyde Park Challenge Cup at the Country Club yesterday with a 95, five strokes better than her nearest competitor.
- Club website
- Official site
- 1913 US Open at club from the Library of Congress at Flickr
- Founding of The Country Club
- Francis Ouimet's U.S. Open win