Spring Ford Country Club
|Spring Ford Country Club|
48 Country Club Rd.
Royersford, PA 19468
Architect: J. Franklin Meehan
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It was in mid-July of 1924 that a group of 11 men from the Spring City and Royersford area got together to discuss the formation of a country club to serve the two communities. They were perhaps mindful of the fact that neighboring Phoenixville had been enjoying its own club for almost 10 years. On Aug. 22, the Spring Ford Country Club was organized. Officers elected were as follows: Charles S. Wagoner, president; L.E. Johnson, vice president; W. Paul Youngblud, secretary; H. Fred Grander, treasurer. At the same time, a board of governors was elected consisting of the following members: Dr. Joseph A. Buckwalter, A.L. Buckwalter, Dr. E.M. Vaughn, F.J. Stephenson, R.C. Jones, Paul L. Mowery, Charles P. Floyd, Morgan J. Edwards, and F.H. Deisher.
1951 photo of Spring-Ford’s clubhouse, which dates to 1928.
The next item on the agenda was finding a location for the fledgling club. A site selection committee was appointed. One month later, the committee was back with its recommendation: the Samuel Gottschall Farm, along Reifsnyder Road in Limerick Township, near Royersford. It consisted of 114 acres of attractively rolling land with a creek winding through much of it. The club promptly acquired the property, then retained J. Franklin Meehan, architect of North Hills and Ashbourne, to design the course. Clarence Wood, with 14 years’ experience at Whitemarsh Valley, was hired as head groundskeeper. The farmhouse was pressed into service as a clubhouse to accommodate the 53 original members, but plans to enlarge and remodel the structure were quickly developed and that project given the go-ahead.
Although Meehan’s plan called for 18 holes, only nine were built at that time. Total yardage was 3,430, with a par of 37. It would be a full 30 years before the second nine was added, in 1957, giving Spring-Ford a course which, from the back tees, measures 6,742 yards, has a 72.5 course rating and a Slope of 137, among the half-dozen highest in the district.
It was on Saturday, May 8, 1925, at 1:30 p.m. that Spring-Ford Country Club officially opened its nine-hole course, using temporary greens. President Wagoner struck the first ball as he, A.L. Buckwalter, R.C. Jones, and Chester Bush teed off in the first official foursome. Some five weeks later, with the club not quite in a position to employ its own professional, arrangements were made for Mr. Thompson, professional at Plymouth Country Club, to come to SpringFord on Mondays and Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. in order to give lessons.
The club’s first competition—unofficial because of the temporary greens—was a low net tournament for all members on August 22, 1925. The winner and score are not a matter of record, but first prize is: a box of eight U.S. Royal golf balls. The first official competition was conducted eight months later, on May 28, 1926. The entire membership, now up to 104, took part in what was designated a "Mashie-Niblick Tournament." Contestants were permitted to use only a 7-iron and a putter.
Just about a year and a half later, on November 8,1927, the clubhouse all but burned to the ground. Five weeks after that, a second fire destroyed the shed that housed the maintenance equipment. The members took both blows in stride, and the club soon voted to build a new clubhouse. The handsome structure, set imposingly on the hill north of the 9th fairway, opened amid jubilation on New Year’s Eve, 1928. The Depression years, which lay immediately ahead, brought further adversity, but the Spring-Ford membership, nothing if not resilient, would weather these troubles as well and continue to take pleasure in their club and its course.