decided during the year 1951, Wenatchee needed a public
golf course where anyone could play. Consequently, from
the year 1951 to 1952, I looked for a suitable location.
This idea, with lots of determination and challenges, turned
out to be more work than I bargained for, but has proven
to be well worth all the effort.
first step was to look for a suitable site for the course.
I had several available sites which I visited during this
period, namely, Sleepy Hollow - across the Wenatchee river
from lower Sunnyslope, the old race track just east of
the present course, which is presently known as Three Lakes
Country Estates, the old abandoned golf course at the confluence
of the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers, a farm up Number Two
Canyon, and the present 92 acres on which the course is
was doing this alone, without a committee, so I contacted
Charlie Jefferson, the pro and greens keeper at the Wenatchee
Golf and Country Club. He agreed to help if I would furnish the transportation.
all the sites with a golf iron, swinging as he walked. I
believe he did this in order to judge the distances. We
concluded that the race track was too expensive and after
careful consideration, settled for the 92 acres which is
the present location of the golf course. (Reid Knauss has
some pictures of the course after we cleared some of the
land). I believe I may have a picture of the land before
we began to clear it.
had been pushed over during the depression of the 1930's
and suckers had grown out of the tree holes. It looked like
a battlefield, but Charlie Jefferson recognized the potential.
Charlie did a lot of professional work on this and later,
in building the course, and deserves a lot of credit.
We leased the
land for fifteen years through a trustee set up with an
administrator of the estate.
The first committee
meeting was held at the service station of Clinton Kienitz
for the purpose of finding out if any water was available
to use on the course. Present at this meeting were: Cyril
Balch, Harold Tedford, Harold Weed, and the ditch supervisor
of Lockwood Kennedy ditch.
There was no
ditch water available at that time. We discussed whether
or not it would be feasible to dig a well, pump the water
out of the Columbia River, or buy shares. No conclusion
was reached at this meeting.
was still running around town trying to interest people
in promoting and building a public golf course. I met Reid
Knauss at the bank one day and he asked me about the project.
I told him I was about ready to give up on the idea. He
called me a few days later and said, "I believe I can
help you." What I didn't know, was that he was the president
of the Wenatchee Junior Chamber and along with that, one
of the greatest organizers in town. We got together and
called a meeting of interested people, elected Reid chairman
of the group. Reid Knauss was also the first President of
Three Lakes Golf Course.
Our first committee
consisted of two members from each service club in Wenatchee,
plus two independent people of which Clinton Kienitz was
one. The Rotary, Kiwanis, Exchange Club, Jr. Chamber, Active,
and Lions were all participants. We received very little
physical assistance from the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, but
it was a smart move to include them because we needed their
financial support and backing for the project.
jobs for the committee included: to purchase the land, (give
up the lease Clinton Kienitz had). Harold Weed purchased
the land for us at an auction for $4,505.00, the terms being
$800.00 per year, the first payment in golf stock with no
interest ever, plus he donated one year's payment when we
were in trouble financially.
time and effort were spent searching for old wells and Lockwood
Kennedy water shares. Harold Weed heard about some shares
for sale in Seattle, so Reid Knauss bought them and we had
had organized workers to clear the land by this time and
we were ready to go to work. As I said before, this place
was a mess, but we had farmers with their tractors helping,
lots of service club members, and other interested citizens
working. When we pushed all the brush together, we enjoyed
one of the biggest wiener roasts in town. Reid Knauss had
all his Junior Chamber members recruited and they really
worked, but we independents and the farmers also made a
big showing. Harold Weed, Cyril Balch, Harold Tedford, and
some other farmers came down to work with their farm tractors
and spent many hours clearing the land. Jim Uecker also
loaned us tractors without drivers, from his implement shop.
land is another story. We bought an old ford tractor and
everyone on the committee wanted to run it. I believe it
was in operation about twenty hours a day leveling that
spring. (We really got the land too level for a golf course).
The city grader came down, (thanks to George Knauss), and
graded some of the land. Alcoa sent in a tractor, Tom Larson
Construction sent a grader down and Morrill Paving helped
build the road to the club house. This work was all donated.
When it came
to financing, all members of the committee were on this
committee. When they weren't working on the golf course,
they were out collecting money. I believe Archie Lodge and
Homer Crollard were Co-Chairmen of this project. We worked
all spring to try and reach our goal of $20,000. We received
some real turn downs but we also received a lot of encouragement.
We learned some real lessons in selling when we called on
our biggest contributors which were: Alcoa, Wells and Wade
Hardware, and Wells and Wade Fruit Company. Most everyone
gave generously. Archie Lodge and I worked as a team and
we sold more stock and received more donations than any
During the summer
of 1953, we slowed down to almost a halt and needed some
encouragement to spur us on. At this time, some of the committee
came up with the idea of a golf exhibition. It was mentioned
trying to get President Eisenhower to play, but Dr. Arch
said, "I think I can get Bing Crosby to play a exhibition
match at the Country Club." He almost depleted our
treasury with phone calls to Spain, Hollywood, Hawaii, and
finally located Bing at Elk, Nevada on his ranch. He consented
to pay a match in Wenatchee in August. They made a date
for August 16th 1953, which was the time of Bing's vacation
in Hayden Lake, Idaho. The match took place at the Wenatchee
Golf and County Club at no charge to us and with lots of
help from the Country Club members. The Juniors won, but
Bing won the hearts of all the crowd. He also chipped in
from 100 yards out on hole number three, for an eagle. We
had anticipated a large crowd and a profit of four of five
thousand dollars, but ended up with about $1000 profit.
This renewed our enthusiasm and also gave us beautiful publicity
and in no time we were up to our planned $20,000 cash and
pledges. While we are speaking of finances, Archie Lodge
(now deceased), gave more of his time than any other person.
He served on the golf board from 1952 and continued as secretary
and treasurer until his death about 1970.
At this time,
we were ready for the lay-out, shaping as well as the planting
of the fairways and greens. The committee and some of the
avid workers all had ideas regarding the lay-out of the
course. Everyone was an expert, so they thought. Walter
Pursey, a golf pro from the Seattle Rainier golf club, with
the help of Reid Knuass, laid out the first 9 holes. They
circled the greens and marked the center of the fairways.
I took Charlie Jefferson out the next week and he gave the
lay-out his approval. He was dubious about making a green
where number 12 is now.
was Chairman of the irrigation project. This pipe had to
be laid before we could do any planting. Jim laid out the
system on paper and on the fairways, also helped get donations
of pipe and fittings from carious merchants. Welders in
town were lined up to weld the pipe and donated their equipment,
and sent men to weld the steel pipe. This pipe had to be
laid from the irrigation canal up above the course. The
total footage was approximately 12,000 feet, over two miles
of ditch and pipe to weld. Total cost of the whole system
was about $9,000. This was a mass effort and it looked like
a bunch of gophers were tearing up the ground. (I don't
believe we paid any welder to help out) Jim Scofield had
a world of knowledge as a pipe and sprinkler man and he
really was sold on the project. More space should be devoted
in this history, praising the efforts of Jim Scofield. Jim's
job went on steadily for about two months, from daylight
until dark. He was a great force in this project, even helping
to get the grass to grow after the sprinklers were installed.
of fairways and greens which commenced after those irrigation
gophers had finished with another big effort. The overseer
was Charles Jefferson (now deceased), walking around with
that golf iron in his hand. We hired a greens keeper from
the Seattle Municipal Golf Course, a Mr. Gordon to help
with the contour of greens. He was in Wenatchee on weekends
most of the time. This proved to be a big job and we had
to haul in dirt to make contours and then shape it under
his direction. We would haul dirt and Cyril Balch would
level and spread it. Cyril must have spent a month steady
moving dirt with his tractor and blade. It got to be a joke
as we hauled the good top soil to the sharp ridged number
twelve green--he kept spreading it-- then either Charles
Jefferson or Mr. Gordon would come by and say, "more
dirt." We hauled fifty of one hundred loads to that
green alone. Cyril was great, he just kept smiling and spreading
the dirt we hauled.
When we were
ready to plant the greens, Mr. Gordon was overseer of this
planting. It took lots of hard work with rakes to get the
clods smooth. There was lots of donated labor here. I remember
there were many Junior Chamber members on this detail. We
must have been busy for almost a month on planting the greens
and also the fairways. The fairways were planted with a
donated grass seeder from East Wenatchee Weed District.
The fairways were planted very narrow with lots of rough
between them. We didn't have the money to spend for seed.
The planting was done by Cyril Balch, Harold Tedford, and
ordered traveling sprinklers to irrigate the course and
they worked fine, but did you ever start a lawn at home?
It takes lots of care. We had a whole village of lawns to
tend and only one man--a man named Tom Sargent, young for
his 75 years. This job was impossible for one man to accomplish.
Again Jim Scofield came to our rescue by helping water and
borrowing irrigation pipe (surface), with sprinklers to
help cover the massive lawn. Within a short period, we had
grass growing and it was a hot summer so it took lots of
water and grew very well. The irrigation system was adequate
and everything went well after the grass was matted.
We needed a
Club House and some young Junior Chamber members found a
large shed at Cashmere that was big enough for some storage
and a place for the greens keeper (he was ticket seller).
This shed was too large to haul legally, so they hauled
it during the night. One Sunday morning, here was our shed,
ready to level up at the present site of our club house.
We have a picture of Harold Weed pulling it into place!!
We planted about
two hundred trees that summer, after the grass was planted.
Needless to say, we didn't have time to water and take care
of all the trees, (some were between the fairways and we
had to drill irrigate, so they didn't get enough water and
some of them died). The dead trees were later replanted
by board members when they became president. Number on item
was to get the grass growing well.
was our first Pro and Greens keeper. He did a good job and
was a wonderful public relations man. Walt was well liked
and influenced a lot of people by his patience and good
instructions. The first opening to the public was Labor
Day weekend 1954. Two years after the idea was born, we
were playing our your own public course--a dream come true!
Again, we want
to say, without the help of the public minded people helping
physically to build this course, and the financial support
of the community, and the organizing ability of Reid Knauss
to get it rolling, we might not have had a public course