Kennett Square Golf & Country Club
|Kennett Square Golf & Country Club|
100 East Locust Lane
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Architect: Donald Ross
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Early in 1922, a group of 26 men met in the Kennett Square fire house to talk about organizing a golf club. During the months that followed they were able to interest friends and neighbors in the project, and on Dec. 15 the first parcel of land, 1.5 acres, was purchased. It was a start. Two days after Christmas, a charter was granted to the Kennett Square Golf and Country Club. John W. Chalfant was elected president. The board of governors consisted of the following members: Malcolm Farquhar, Dr. James L. Paiste, William Lloyd Lang, Henry W. Marshall, George B. Scarlett, J. B. Swayne, C. G. Gawthrop, J. B. D. Edge, and T. Clarence Marshall. Dr. Paiste, whose home was in Avondale, and T. Clarence Marshall, of Yorklyn, Delaware, were the only board members not resident in Kennett Square itself.
View of the clubhouse from the course at Kennett Square in the 1930s
In early March 1923, construction got underway on a two-story stone and frame clubhouse, and by the end of that month the club had acquired, in two separate purchases, 99.7 acres to go with the original lot. There was now ground enough for golf, and though it might have been possible to lay out a full eighteen on the 101-acre property, a decision was made to build only nine holes.
Donald Ross was retained to design the nine, several holes of which opened for play late that same year. A note in the club minutes from Sept. 30,1927, reads: "During the past four years the golf course has been improved until we now have one of the best nine-hole courses in any suburban area."
Late in 1936, the club leased approximately 34 acres across the road. As noted in the minutes, ".... the group of members who owned the land would be willing to lease it to the club until such time as the club is financially able to purchase it." Now it was possible to add a second nine holes, which were also laid out by Donald Ross and intermingled with the original nine.
On the Fourth of July 1940, Kennett Square’s 18-hole course was dedicated amidst considerable fanfare. The highlight of the celebration was an exhibition match that featured Gene Sarazen, Wilmington’s Ed "Porky" Oliver, the club’s head professional, Willie Palumbo, and its club champion, Willard McConnell. Less than a year later the club was in a position to make settlement on the 34-acre tract that had paved the way for the full eighteen.
In the years to come, Kennett Square would build a large swimming pool, seven tennis courts (the abandoned caddie shack was refurbished for use by the tennis players), and two platform tennis courts. The clubhouse would be expanded and renovated, and the golf course toughened to the point where today, despite measuring only 6,074 yards from the regular tees (6,305 from the back), and with a par of 71, it has a Slope of 129.