CROWN POINT COUNTRY CLUB 70TH ANNIVERSARY
Crown Point Country Club will celebrate its 70th anniversary on August 22, 2023. CPCC was established in August 1953 with only seven playable holes on its opening day. To complete a full nine-hole round, golfers played two holes twice.
Subsequently, in 1959, the course expanded to 18 holes, making Crown Point one of the few 18-hole golf courses in the Connecticut River Area. Notably, CPCC stands out as a semi-private course, owned by its members and not affiliated with any institution or corporation. The dedicated support of our members has been vital to the club’s enduring existence. An additional aspect that sets Crown Point apart is the historical significance of the Crown Point Military Road, constructed in 1759, which traverses through the grounds of CPCC. The club’s rich history also includes the notable presence of esteemed individuals. In 1953, a State Senator, a Lieutenant Governor, and an Olympic Champion from Springfield were among the first foursome to tee off at Crown Point.
Throughout the years, numerous individuals have contributed their hard work and volunteered their time, taking pride in their membership at Crown Point Country Club. Their collective efforts have played a crucial role in shaping the club’s legacy and continued success.
HOW CROWN POINT COUNTRY CLUB WAS CREATED
The Crown Point Country Club came into existence through a series of determined efforts by avid golfers in Springfield. Before its creation, local golfers had to travel to neighboring courses like Hooper CC, Bellows Falls CC, Woodstock CC, and Corn Hill CC.
The idea of having a golf course in Springfield was sparked during a round of golf at Corn Hill Country Club in the summer of 1952. Ray Streeter and Mr. and Mrs. William Clace were approached by the local pro, Henry Duskett, who inquired why Springfield didn’t have its own golf course. They believed it was too daunting a task and lacked the knowledge to undertake such a project. Henry offered his assistance, proposing to help with the layout and course construction if they could raise the necessary funds.
Upon returning to Springfield, they gauged the interest of other golfers in the community. Bill Clace, along with his nephew Bob Dressel and his wife, reached out to numerous golfers and invited them to a meeting with Henry Duskett. The interest was substantial, and the idea of establishing a golf course and country club in Springfield gained strong support, unlike previous attempts in the past.
An organizational meeting was held in the summer of 1952, and the Jones and Lamson Machine Company provided a meeting room for this purpose. Seventeen individuals attended the first meeting and wholeheartedly endorsed the idea. This led to subsequent meetings to further garner support. Eventually, a board of directors was established, and efforts began to locate suitable land and sell stock at $50 per share.
Incorporation papers were signed on September 23, 1952, officially establishing the Crown Point Country Club. The first issue of “Capital Stock” occurred on October 21, 1952, with the goal of selling 800 stock shares to raise $40,000. This amount was estimated to cover the land purchase and acquire the necessary equipment for building and maintaining the initial nine holes.
The vision of having a golf course and country club in Springfield was met with enthusiasm not only from golfers but also from non-golfers in the machine tool industry, who recognized the value it would bring to the business community.
During the time when stock shares were offered to the Springfield community members, a group of businessmen and golfers were invited to invest $1,000 each to acquire land and develop the front nine holes of a golf course. In return for their investment, they were granted lifetime memberships in the club.
THE SEARCH BEGINS
The quest to find appropriate land commenced, and at first, the Burton farm in Eureka underwent evaluation but was deemed unsuitable. The team investigated a property on Weathersfield Center Road (also known as Brook Road), which belonged to Ray and Laura Trombly. This land, known as the old Corliss Farm, spanned 306 acres and had been on the market for several months at a price of $10,000, yet no potential buyers had expressed interest.
However, when Ray Trombly discovered that the group was interested in his farm for the golf course project, he significantly raised the selling price. There was also an adjacent piece of land owned by the Harold Stokes family, which was available for sale. About 25 acres of the Stokes land were purchased in the fall of 1952, before the Trombly land deal concluded. This portion of land included what is now the 7th green, the 11th hole tee boxes, and part of the 11th fairway.
The Trombly farm, formerly known as the Corliss Farm, was historically significant as it was once crossed by the old Crown Point military road. During the peak of the French and Indian War (1754 to 1763), General Jeffrey Amherst ordered the construction of this military road from Fort No. 4 at Charlestown, N.H., to Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga in New York. It was intended to facilitate the supply of food, troops, and munitions from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut to Crown Point, New York. The road played a crucial role in defending the colonies and launching campaigns against the French in Canada.
The Crown Point Country Club was suggested as a name for the new golf course, drawing inspiration from the historical significance of the Crown Point Road. This road traversed what is now the first fairway, passed through the present parking lot in front of the original farmhouse/clubhouse, and continued to the 6th tee and the 10th green, eventually reaching the Wellwood Orchard.
The location of the Corliss/Trombly farm on the Weathersfield Center/Brook road, approximately 3 miles from downtown Springfield, was considered ideal and easily accessible. To raise the necessary capital, the newly established CPCC elected officers and nominated a board of directors, consisting of influential members from the Springfield community.
The board comprised 23 members, including 19 men and 4 women. To finance the project, stock shares were sold at $50 per share, with an estimated minimum requirement of $40,000 to cover land purchase, maintenance equipment, and the construction of the first nine holes.
ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
|Mr. M.J. Armstrong (Jack)||President|
|Mr. R.H. Dressel (Robert)||Vice President|
|Mr. C.E. Hopkins (Cleon)||Treasurer|
|Mr. R.W. Bowlen||Clerk and Secretary|
|Dr. W.G. Wetherhead (Walter)||Chairman, Financial Committee|
|Mr. R.P. Scholl (Russ)||Mr. E.B. Butterfield (Edward)|
|Mr. M.E. Whitney||Mr. W.L. Lawrence (Leland)|
|Mr. W.J. Augusten (Walter)||Mr. M.H. Parker (Marty)|
|Mr. F.J. MacArthur (Floyd)||Dr. L.G. Chase (Leland)|
|Mr. D.G. Weatherup (Donald)||Mr. A.L. Gutterson (Al)|
|Mrs. Mary Hinchliffe (Mary)||Mrs. K.H. Woolson (Dorothy)|
|Mrs. M.W. Butler (Margaret)||Mrs. M.L. Nichols (Barbara)|
|Mr. H. Polidor (Herb)||Mr. J.C. Alger (Jack)|
|Mr. D.E. Rice (Donald)||Mr. L.J. Childs (Louis)|
In November 1952, the board membership was downscaled to fifteen individuals. Procuring the land for the golf course presented challenges since a portion of it lay within Weathersfield township, while the larger part belonged to Springfield. The acquisition of the Stokes property was completed in October 1952 at a cost of $1,500. Subsequently, in December 1952, the Crown Point Country Club Inc. successfully.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Prior to officially acquiring the Trombly land, M. J. “Jack” Armstrong(white shirt), the newly elected President of CPCC, along with a group of founding members including Ray Streeter, Bob Dressel, Hi Richardson, Walter Krupinsky, Earl Stearns, Mert Whitney, and Bob Beardsley, undertook a survey. This survey aimed to ensure the availability of ample acreage for the development of an 18-hole golf course. This particular phase played a crucial role in defining the layout of the Original Course.
A design and greens committee, including Russell P. Scholl, W. Leland Lawrence, Ed Duclos, Lee Davis, and Ray Streeter, utilized the natural resources of the former farm while adhering to the national tournament yardage standards. They welcomed input from members and also considered suggestions from Henry Duskett.
THE ORIGINAL COURSE LAYOUT
The layout of the first nine holes sparked various ideas and debates, particularly regarding the order of the holes. Ultimately, the preference for the current placement of holes #1 and #2 prevailed, and holes 6 through 9 were established and have remained relatively unchanged since.
The initial nine holes featured fairways Number One and Two, along with the practice range area, similar to their present configuration. Hole Number One was a 372-yard par four, and Number Two was a 468-yard par five. However, the original Hole #3 (a par four) had its tee where the current par three 5th hole tees are located. The fairway went up the hill past the current 5th green to a very long and narrow green, posing significant challenges for accuracy.
The tee area for the original 4th hole (a 145-yard par three) was situated just beyond the original 3rd green. The tee shot went straight down the steep hill to a green with no sand traps, placed approximately where the present 3rd green is now located.
The original 5th hole commenced at the northeast corner of the property, bordering the Camel farm and Center Road. Its fairway followed the present 3rd hole fairway but in the opposite direction, and the original 5th green was what is now the 4th green, presenting a formidable 420-yard par four challenge back then.
To transition to the present 6th hole tee area, players crossed over from the 5th green, traversing the parking lot. The 6th hole was a 360-yard par four heading straight up the hill (west) toward the 7th tee area. In 1964, the 6th green was moved approximately 50 yards southward and supplemented with two sand traps.
The original 7th hole, a 478-yard par five, bore some resemblance to its current layout, albeit with a smaller green slightly shifted to the right of the present location. The passage through the woods from the 7th green to the 8th hole tee was established in its current form from the beginning. However, when it came to designing the challenging 8th hole, there was much deliberation on where to build the fairway. Some advocated for it to pass through the woods to reach the 8th green, while others preferred a straight south route, leading to an uphill, blind shot. Ultimately, the latter proposal was chosen, sparking ongoing discussions among members on how to alleviate the “blindness” of this approach shot. Despite the talks, the hole has largely remained as it was designed in early 1953, with only the use of an exceptionally long flagstick to signal the presence of golfers on the green below.
Similarly, the original 9th hole, a 155-yard par three, has retained much of its original design due to the presence of the pond. The design and greens committee presented their proposed layout to the members, who discussed and approved it. For further evaluation, the services of golf authority Geoffry Cornish were sought, who examined the land and the proposed course design and found the plan to be generally “fine,” making only a few suggested alterations.
On December 2, 1952, a significant meeting took place for the newly constituted Board of Directors of the Crown Point Country Club, Inc. During the period between October and the meeting date, a total of 323 shares of stock had been sold, raising $16,150. The combined sum of all pledged funds, including stock shares and individual contributions towards land purchase, amounted to $27,950.
At the meeting, it was decided to establish a “By-laws” committee to address membership and voting matters. The President and Vice-President were responsible for appointing six committee members. However, it was agreed that each member, regardless of the number of shares owned, would have only one vote. This applied to companies holding multiple shares as well; they could only cast one vote on all matters brought to vote by the Directors.
The ongoing construction activities were reported, with the pond fully dug and filled with water, and some tee areas partially built. A need for a bulldozer was also mentioned, and the cost for the pond construction was reported at $248.
Looking towards the future, Herb Polidor proposed that the Directors establish an overall estimate for the long-term goal of having a quality clubhouse and a complete 18-hole course. This goal would provide a clear target for the directors and members. The estimated funds required included approximately $30,000 to prepare the second nine holes and an additional $40,000 for the clubhouse. Staff and recurrent expenses would also need to be budgeted. Thus, the total funds needed for an operational 18-hole course and country club were agreed to be around $125,000.
By the end of 1952, the interest in the golf club expanded beyond the relatively small golfing community in Springfield. More local residents began to recognize the value of a country club to the larger community and local businesses. While some initially perceived the club as catering only to golfers, the potential benefits to the broader Springfield Community became evident. This was exemplified by a presentation at the Union Street School on December 16, 1952, where Mr. Clifton R. Miskelly from the Vermont Development Commission (VDC) discussed the function of the commission and how it supported golf and community development. Mr. Miskelly believed that the establishment of CPCC would be a significant asset to the community and its growth.
EARLY SPRING 1953
In the early months of 1953, significant efforts were made to prepare the land for the construction of the golf course. Bulldozers were used to shape the fairways, and the area was cleared of unwanted shrubbery, trees, and rocks. However, the most crucial task at hand was addressing the water supply. To tackle this, Henry Duskett took charge of digging the first pond at the southern border of the property, near the barn in a low-lying area. This pond served as the primary water collection point and the source from which water was pumped up to Pond #2, situated below the 9th green, and then distributed across the entire course. The construction of Pond #2 commenced after the initial pond and dam were completed.
Ray Streeter played a significant role in leading a group of dedicated volunteers, gaining recognition as Crown Point’s unofficial “water authority” due to his leadership in constructing the pond at the 9th hole.
For a considerable period, Pond #2 remained the central hub for water distribution throughout the course until the construction of Pond #3 in 1961. Pond #3 was located just east and downhill from the 17th green and south of the 18th green, larger than Pond #2, and took over as the primary water source for the course, a role it continues to hold to this day.
During the months of April and May of 1953, a number of weekend volunteer work crews helped perform a variety of work on the course and the farmhouse. Some volunteer labor spent the first weekend in April removing wood from the eighth fairway that had been recently cut. Also during this period, stones were picked from the fields/fairways and removed by the truckload. A tool shed was also built with volunteer labor. Also early in the year, work was initiated inside the old farmhouse to start converting it into a clubhouse. A number of volunteers spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons making ready the “Lounge” and other accessories inside the building.
Volunteer labor projects that assisted in the building of the course and clubhouse included: a sprinkling system from a central pond to all greens, the digging of drainage ditches, tearing down of the barn and salvaging lumber to be used in the repair of the house. More than one person got some practical knowledge of the alleged fact that Vermont is one-third stone.From the Daily Eagle article of July 9, 1953:
Volunteers continue coming out to help with readying the first nine holes for play in the summer. Many of them picked rocks off of Holes #1, #2, #3 and #6.
The arrival of Daylight Savings Time meant that more work was undertaken during the evening hours, in addition to the Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Part of the plastic pipe was put in and the rest should be finalized as the ditches are dug and ready to receive the pipe.
A lot of rain slowed progress on seeding various areas during May. Some of the fairways were “rough mowed” in early May. The dam has been filled in and a nice body of water has backed up behind it. The pump house has also been finished through the work of many men during the evenings.
HOLE-BY-HOLE ACCOUNT OF THE PROGRESS MAY 27, 1953
The tee has been built and seeded, and the fairway has been mowed. The irrigation system leading to the green has been installed.
The tee is in its rough stage, and the fairway has been mowed. A temporary green has been shaped and seeded.
The tee has been shaped and seeded, and the fairway has been mowed. The green is ready for sod after being graded and edged.
The tee has been shaped and seeded. The green is prepared for sodding, with rough work completed, and the water pipe laid to the green.
This hole remains very wet. The tee has been shaped and seeded, and significant bulldozer work has been done on the green.
The tees have been graded, and grass is growing nicely on them. The green is ready for sod, and the fairway has been mowed multiple times. An irrigation pipe has been installed to the green.
The tee is well underway, and the fairway has been mowed. The green has a rough base.
It is also experiencing wet conditions, but the tee has been seeded, and the grass is growing well. Cleanup of the fairway is ongoing, and some additional bulldozer work is required.
The group’s collective effort and dedication are clearly evident in the steady progress of the golf course construction.
The tee areas have been successfully seeded, and the pond has been filled with water. The green is all set for sod installation. Some manual work is required to be done on the banks.
Weather permitting, the greens committee is planning to lay sod on certain greens during the last week of May. To facilitate the mowing process, the Greens Committee recently acquired a secondhand Worthington golf course tractor, which is in excellent condition.
The recent efforts had significantly transformed the course, making it resemble a proper golf course. In the photograph below, Russ Scholl, who helped design the beautiful ninth hole, around the pond, is seen on the tee, taking a practice swing prior to hitting his ball over the pond and onto the ninth green. Some other members near the green witnessed this trial run.
If you have any doubt of the interest in this town about a golf course, you should take a ride up on a ‘work night.June 10th article in the Springfield Reporter
The substantial work groups have surpassed our expectations, turning what we thought would be a lengthy process into a thing of the past. Fellow Gear had an impressive group working on Wednesday night (the 10th), and Bryants had done the same the Monday before (June 8th). As a result, the irrigation system is now complete, with all pipes, including the high-tension wires beneath the 18th and 6th fairways, properly covered, and the pump connected and ready for use. Most of the fairways are starting to take shape, closely resembling the real thing. Henry Duskett is making efforts to lay sod on the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th greens this week.””Another milestone has passed – the third and ninth greens have the sod on them and they look really beautiful. The people that have supported this project with labor and cash have every right to be proud and should look forward to the completion of the course.June 17th edition of The Springfield Reporter
Another milestone has passed – the third and ninth greens have the sod on them and they look really beautiful. The people that have supported this project with labor and cash have every right to be proud and should look forward to the completion of the course.June 24th edition of The Springfield Reporter
After eagerly anticipating some much-needed rain, we were grateful that it finally arrived. However, it seems that the rainfall wasn’t sufficient to break the ongoing dry spell. On a positive note, we have made significant progress with our golf course development – four of the greens have been successfully sodded and are flourishing. We are excitedly looking forward to working on the fifth green very soon. Moreover, all fairways have been diligently mowed, resulting in a visually appealing and well-maintained course.Article from the July 8th edition of The Springfield Reporter
MEMBERSHIP FEES FINALIZED
Regarding membership fees for the year 1953, the Board of Directors has finalized the following rates:
- Family Membership: $30 for the entire season
- Single Membership: $20 for the entire season
- Social Membership: Fixed at $10
As of July 31st, 1953, we are delighted to report a growing membership base, with 27 registered family memberships, 24 single memberships, and 2 social memberships, totaling 53 members. Interestingly, this number aligns with the year 1953 itself, making it a fitting coincidence!
AUGUST 19, 1953
CPCC gets ready for Grand Opening!
A group of women golf enthusiasts take some swings on the first fairway, preparatory to the grand opening of CPCC on Saturday, August 22nd, 1953. They are, left to right, Mrs. Verne Harvey, Mrs. Jeanette Henry, Mrs. Gerald Smith, Miss Eleanor Winkler, Mrs. Walter Krupinsky and Mrs. Martin Parker.
AUGUST 22, 1953 – GRAND OPENING
The ceremony at the first tee was graced by Lt. Governor Joseph Johnson, the principal guest and speaker, leading the cutting of the ribbon. Crown Point Country Club’s Russ Scholl served as the Chairman of the Day, while the President, Jack Armstrong, assumed the role of Master of Ceremonies. Notable speakers at the event included Edward Janeway, a state senator and member of the Republican National Committee, as well as State Senator Frank Corliss from Springfield, whose family once owned the farm on which CPCC was built.
Members of the club and the community who had put in hundreds of hours in working parties received high praise from the speakers. The course superintendent, Henry Duskett, oversaw the work on the first nine holes and expected to have the last two holes ready for play by the fall.
More than 500 persons attended the grand opening of Springfield’s new Crown Point Country Club on August 22,1953. The day was a large open house whereby the members thanked the community for all the volunteer work provided to see CPCC become a reality, having turned a farm into fairways and a farmhouse into a clubhouse.
Russ Scholl joined Lt. Gov. Johnson, Albert Gutterson(1912 Olympian and president of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce), and John E. Lovely (VP of Jones & Lamson Machine Company) in the first foursome who teed off from Hole #. They were followed by many other foursomes.
Lt. Gov. Joseph B. Johnson is seen addressing the crowd from the porch of the Clubhouse.
An aerial photograph captured on the inaugural day showcases a segment of the exquisite, recently unveiled golf course. In the forefront, the 6th hole is visible, graced by golfers on the verdant green. The vacant circular patch (in white) was slated for grass seeding in the ensuing week. The clubhouse stands gracefully in the distance, while Holes 1 through 5 extend beyond it. The dynamic ninth hole, adjacent to the pond, adds a sporting charm to the landscape.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT & APPRECIATION
Almost all of the photos in this display are from the collection of Bernie Lashua (Lashua Studios) and have been made available for this project by Bill Lashua.
I have focused most of my attention on the creation of Crown Point Country Club and its first decade of existence.
I have two people and their families to thank for the material that they wrote or collected for this period from 1952 to 1963. The first one is Dr. Walt Weatherhead. For this period of my initial focus, he wrote a weekly column that appeared in the Springfield Reporter. Once I made my intention known to research and write the history of CPCC, one box of material that Dr. Weatherhead had saved found
its way to me.
A second large carton of material on golf and CPCC found its way to me from the family of Clyde Quimby. It appears that Clyde saved everything – from the ribbons cut on opening day and the back nine dedication, to many of Walt’s articles, to scorecards, place settings from the 10th and 25% anniversary celebrations and even 4-cent post cards sent to him from CPCC announcing upcoming events.
Finally, I must express appreciation to Leland Lawrence (one of the fifteen lifetime members) for all the times I played Crown Point as his guest in the 70s, 80s & 90s, while I was home on annual leave, where he imparted to me his knowledge of the history of Crown Point.Jeff Taft-Dick – self-appointed CPCC historian