Andover Story: When Golf Came To Andover | opinion

by | Aug 26, 2021 | Golf Clubs

In the summer of 2011, Doug Mitchell wrote an Andover story about Andover’s first golf course. This week’s column tells Doug’s story and is dedicated to his memory.

The game of golf has adorned the world for centuries.

Most historians believe that the modern game of golf in Scotland the 15th, according to some, the history of golf was even traced back to ancient Rome.

The first written mention was the ban on the game by King James II in 1457, due to concerns that people were not focusing enough on their archery practice. King James IV lifted the ban 45 years later.

Two Scots, John Reid and Robert Lockhart, are widely known for bringing golf to the American shores.

On February 22, 1888, Reid invited friends to a cow pasture near his home in Yonkers, New York, to play an improvised three-hole course. The players were so excited that they soon moved to a larger pasture.

Later that year, Reid founded America’s first golf club, St. Andrews Golf Club in Yonkers, and was widely regarded as the “Father of American Golf.”

Closer to home, few knew that Rabbit’s Pond would anchor Andover’s first golf course on the Phillips Academy campus.

The land between the pond and Morton Street was the site of a course that was first laid out in the mid-1890s. The Andover Townsman reported in October 1896: “There has been so much interest in golf in the city that a club has been established and the hill’s course and greens are kept in excellent condition.”

An early golf course architect, Alexander Findley, designed the nine-hole course. In October 1898 a small group of dedicated enthusiasts formed a club.

As reported: “The Andover Golf Club was organized last Friday evening with 50 members. The course is very good for a natural, but the advisory board thought it best to make a few improvements to the greens and to that end have hired a professional golfer to oversee this work. The membership fee is $ 5 for men and $ 3 for women. “

Claude Fuess, former headmaster of the Phillips Academy, recalls: “In the last 30 years various sports have enjoyed temporary popularity. A golf club organized in the 1990s provided recreation for teachers and townspeople as well as students and a clubhouse was built overlooking Rabbit’s Pond, where Members were able to gather on Wednesdays and Saturdays afternoons; however, the course was not particularly interesting, and once they had gained some knowledge, players preferred to look for longer holes and deeper sand traps for Myopia or Brookline. In 1908 the links were abandoned, and Golf enthusiasts at school now have no consolation other than practicing the mashie shot on the academy lawn.

The city had to wait 16 years, until 1925, for golf to return.

Andover Country Club was the dream of William M. Wood, the visionary head of the American Woolen Company. Built on the site of Chandler Farm, it opened with a great roar in October 1925.

The design of the 18-hole USGA championship course complements the natural contour of the country. Famous course architect Donald Ross directed the final layout of the course.

Indian Ridge Country Club was founded in 1964 by the Demoulas family, owners of the Market Basket grocery chain. Designed by golf architect Geoffrey S. Cornish, it became Andover’s third golf course.

In 1969, the club hosted the Indian Ridge Hospital Open Invitational, an official PGA Tour event that benefited the Boston Children’s Hospital. The winner’s prize pool was $ 8,020.

Golf has found a welcome mat in Andover for well over a century. From its beginnings on Phillips Academy grounds to two sophisticated country clubs in Andover, golfing has continued in his hometown.