Country Club New Bedford

History

Since the beginning of the last century, the Country Club of New Bedford has had a great tradition, which has led to its current prestigious reputation in the New-England area. The Club has a modest beginning that took place before the turn of the century. The original club was located in the West End of New Bedford bordering on Hawthorn, Brigham, and Allen streets and continuing out to Rockdale Avenue. Several local enthusiasts of golf formed the Club. It was called the Hawthorn Club. The six-hole layout became so popular that the club founders decided the course was too short and crowded. They closed the original course and moved to our present site. Although some were pessimistic about this move, within 16 months after its 1902 incorporation, the Club had 350 members and a waiting list. The original Board of Governors, all prominent people in the New Bedford area, and key financial contributors to the club in its early years, consisted of Club President John Bullard, William E. Hatch, Edward S. Brown, Edward T. Pierce, Oliver Prescott, William West, Clarence A. Cook, Frederick D. Stetson, John Duff and George Cherry.

In 1924, the clubhouse burned to the ground, and in 1924 the present clubhouse was built over the original foundation with several additions, alterations and other improvements over the years. The first Greens Superintendent was Mike Brennon followed by Nate Mitchell. In 1924, the legendary Mike O’Grady began his 46-year career with the club. Mike was meticulous and enjoyed an excellent reputation for having the finest greens in southeastern Massachusetts. John Gilholm Sr. worked alongside Mike as the Club Professional (1919-1958). The two became legendary figures for their dedication to the game of golf and their loyalty to the club. The original course was nine holes until the club purchased land on the east side of Slocum Road and added an additional six holes. These outer six holes were designed by O’Grady, Mitchell, and Gilholm. Willie Park, probably the most famous golf architect at the turn of the century and recent Golf Hall of Fame Inductee, had planned, designed, and supervised the building of our original nine holes. In 1924, the renowned golf architect, Donald Ross, redesigned the course changing the original nine holes on the club side of Slocum Road into 12 holes and eventually making CCNB into an 18-hole golf course.

The first August Fourball Invitational Tournament was held the first week of August in 1931. Six rounds were played in four days. It was so popular that some first round flights were played at the nearby Kittansett Club. John J. MacDonald of Kittansett and Ned Bussier of Sandy Burr were the first fourball champions. The August Fourball remains one of the most prestigious amateur golf tournaments in New England. Throughout the years the course has welcomed dignitaries from the world of government, theatre, athletics, and golf. The club is rich in tradition and has produced many outstanding players. In 1937, Dave Whiteside gained prominence by winning the Massachusetts State Amateur Tournament.

The Women’s Golf Association of the Country Club of New Bedford held their first August Invitational Fourball in 1979 with 32 teams participating. This five day tournament was a milestone for women golfers, not only in this area, but throughout New England. Club Member, Dorothy Koczera and guest, Mary Jo Ahlander were the first Fourball champions. The Country Club of New Bedford Women’s Invitational Fourball Tournament, continues to be the leading tournament event of its kind in the region. In 2014 the CCNB WGA will celebrate the 36th year of this classic event with continuing leadership by founder, Inez Mello.

The officers, members and staff of the Country Club of New Bedford made 2006 an important year in the ongoing club legacy. For the first time in more than four decades, a major renovation of the club and pro shop was completed.

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