Letterhead from the 1930’s found in the files showing club layout, rates, and yardage of 3015 for 9 Holes. “The Best Little Golf Club in the World.” “Where Good Folks Get Together and Enjoy Each Other.”
Once it was a fairground – then a farm. In 1928, it became Orleans Country Club.
Back in 1928, the club letterhead boasted “the best little golf club in the world where good folks get together and enjoy each other”. Year after year this little missive has remained true of the club.
In the early 1920’s, Vermont golf towns Newport, Barton, and Derby already had courses. Meanwhile, the Orleans golfers played in the rugged Barton cow pasture.
The men, however, wanted to find a way to not put money into a course leased by a farmer. A course that used cows as “fairway mowers.” The local fairground offered them a flat meadow, surrounded by woods and a farmhouse, to build a golf course. The meadow became the links and the old farmhouse turned into a clubhouse.
A gallery of four very large historical prints hanging in the Orleans Country Club entrance.
Special thanks to Harry Mueller for taking photos of them for use on our web site.
The Orleans Country Club course has come long way. An old county road bisected the property that hosted fairs until the 1870’s along with an oval racetrack that ran broadside to what is now the 12th tee. It also cut through the 14th green and across to the 16th tee into the fairways, leaving humps and ridges. Today, these pieces of history have resulted in slight uphill, downhill and side hill lies. Golfers years ago eventually raised $9,550, and construction began on six holes in the meadow. They carved a “dog leg” out of the woods and connected it all to end in front of the farmhouse, which made a great makeshift clubhouse, complete with porches, a fireplace and locker rooms.
When the snow melted in the spring of 1929, Orleans Country Club opened. Total cost ended at $13,000. Back then, membership dues were $10 and greens fees cost $1 or $.60 for a hole.
The Club Continues to Grow
Orleans Country Club continued to develop into a Vermont golf institution. In 1951, the course added a new section to the clubhouse for a men’s locker room. Workers also renovated the kitchen.
Soon after, the course purchased 127 acres across the road for $5,000, and a “new” nine was born.
Then in 1958, management replaced the porches with a 72 X 36-foot addition, creating a large dining room, new locker rooms, pro shop and kitchen.
In other words, they built the clubhouse golfers still enjoy today.
Since then, the Orleans Country Club course has undertaken gradual improvements — an irrigation system, ponds, new tees and greens, and the removal of an old barn adjacent to the ninth fairway.
The Country Club Today
Membership is strong and activities abound at the course throughout the season.
Orleans Country Club is proud of its history, especially beginning ladies’ activities in 1929, which is indicated by a the Club Champion record that year. In subsequent years, the course has hosted a Twilight League, member-guest events, best ball matches, and state and club tournaments.
Spring of 2004 welcomed another major renovation, when the building received a more inviting entrance, new windows for the kitchen and pro shop, rewiring, air conditioning, redecorating, new carpeting and a remodeled men’s bathroom.
Renovations Over the Years
In 2010 new red/gold tee boxes were in full use at holes #4, #5, #6, #10, #11 and #16, providing better playability for all skill levels. Hole #14 has since received a new forward tee with another middle tee being introduced in 2021. A new forward tee will be introduced in 2021 at the 1st Hole as well. Junior / Family tees were introduced in 2019. Orleans Country Club strives to increase playability for all ages and skills.
More welcome renovations to the Pro Shop and the Bar area were done in 2013 completed by a group of volunteers and overseen by carpenters Darryl Davis and Tony Daniels. Perfect timing for our 85th Anniversary.
Memories on a Locker Door
Another piece of Orleans Country Club history had been recorded by longtime member Woody Pike. He had been keeping track of his matches for years on his locker room door through the 80s, 90s and beyond. There was even a hole-in-one recorded on July 14, 1983 on hole #13 with a 9 iron. During the summer of 2011, the locker door was removed and presented to Woody for all the memories.
Orleans Country Club History Album
Arline “Pat” Hunt left her legacy with us when she put together a historical album of Orleans Country Club which is located in our fireplace room. It captures the essence of OCC and we will be forever grateful for Pat’s efforts on this project.
Stymie Rule: (from Wikipedia) In singles match play when one player’s ball blocked the path of another player’s ball on the green, but were not within six inches of each other, the obstructing player’s ball was not lifted.
Instead the player who was further away from the hole had to attempt to slice or draw his putt around the obstacle ball. Sometimes a player would even attempt to chip his ball over the opponent’s ball into the cup.
If the player failed, even hitting their opponent’s ball, his next shot would have to be played from where his ball now lay. If contact happened, the player’s opponent, when it was his turn to play, had the choice to take his putt from his ball’s original position or its new lie.
Likewise if the player’s ball knocked the obstructing ball into the cup, his opponent was considered to have holed out on the previous shot. For example, a ball lying 3 on the green is knocked into the hole by another ball—in this instance the score for the player whose ball was knocked into the hole would be 3.
Date unknown on scorecard below, but it had to be after 1958 since the new addition for the dining room is visible in the club house photo.
The New Derk: Oil Painted Picture, Done in Opaque Oils, With Permanent Quality, Made to Order
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316 Country Club Lane
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