The Bloomfield Country Club will be celebrating its 100th anniversary with a two-day slate of special activities on July 23 and 24.
An annual DC Corporate Golf Tourney is set for Friday, July 23, along with an outdoor movie showing of “The Greatest Game Ever Played” at 8:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 24, there will be open golf with $5 off green fees. Chase Feagins will provide live music at 5 p.m. and Nashville country music artist Brad Morgan will perform at 8 p.m.
A live auction fundraiser is scheduled in the evening and a silent auction will take place inside the clubhouse during the day.
As plans were being made to celebrate the occasion, two long-time Bloomfield Country Club members reminisced about their years of country club membership.
Mildred Spilman, who is now 101 years old, said her family became members of the Bloomfield Country Club when she was around 16 and she continued playing golf until she was at least 80 years of age.
Spilman won several tournaments at the Bloomfield Country Club as well as winning a tournament in Centerville and coming in second at an Ottumwa Tourney.
Golf was a family affair for the Spilmans. “We all enjoyed going out and playing together — Tubby and I or Nancy and I. We played at least twice a week, depending on the weather and what else we had to do,” she said. “I had quite a life at the country club,”
Cody Barnett, former DCHS girls’ golf coach, said his family became members of the Bloomfield Country Club in the late 40s or 50s.
“I started playing golf when I was about 10 years old,” he said. “As a kid it was handy. The neighbor boy and I walked over and played golf for recreation in the summer. Joe Scott, groundskeeper at the time, gave us some tips and lessons. As I got older, I played with Dad (Crane Barnett) quite a bit.”
Barnett recalls a men’s club having breakfast at the country club on Sundays.
“It was the center of social life for a while,” he said.
Barnett remembers Fred Russell being the first girls’ golf coach at DCHS. “I took over the position and served for 25 years,” he said. “I had a chance to work with lots of young girls.”
Barnett also ran the junior golf program for many years. “Hopefully, I was instrumental in teaching them a lot and it was a good experience for them,” he said.
Barnett played on the DCHS team, and in 1961, the team of Barnett, Marc Miller, Cullie Pearson, Doug Boatman, Bruce Meyers, and Steve Knupp made it to the state tournament — the only Davis County team to do so.
Commenting on the course and the facilities, Barnett said, “It is a nice — but challenging — nine-hole course with lots of trees and has been well-maintained over the years. The most significant change has been tearing down the old clubhouse. It was hard to see it go; there were a lot of memories there. We played cards in the basement and there was a bar down there. Upstairs there was a dancefloor and a kitchen was added.
“Lots of people were upset when it was torn down, but the new one is nice and serves the purpose very well.”
As committee members began preparing for the 100th Anniversary, several searched through old newspapers for articles on the early years of the country club. Below are several stories reprinted from the Davis County Republican and Bloomfield Democrat in the early 1920s.
Bloomfield Business and professional Men Will Play the Game of Golf This Year
Reprinted from the Davis County Republican and Bloomfield Democrat, April 7, 1921
A movement to organize a Golf and Country Club for Bloomfield was launched last week, and the promoters of the idea have been astonished with the readiness with which the proposal has met approval and support.
The first annual dues of fifteen dollars per member will be used for the improvement of a golf course, the laying out of several tennis courts, a bath house, and possible a clubhouse of modest proportions.
More than fifty of the Bloomfield business and professional men became members when the organization papers were circulated around among the business houses for the first time. It is probable that the charter membership will be around the 100 mark.
Already a first-class golf course has been laid off in the B.B. Burchett pasture northeast of the city. The course is of nine holes, and has everything a golf course needs to be attractive. There are hills and hollows, trees and a three-acre lake to provide hazards galore.
This summer the small boys of the city will not lack employment, as the demand for caddies promises to be intense. Tired business men, fat ones, old ones and young ones will while away their hours of leisure on the greens, and the cry of “fore” will resound over the Burchett hills and valleys. Then there are the ladies who are evincing a stern determination to learn the difference between a “driver” and a “putter,” not to mention mid-irons, mashies, niblicks, and all the other various and varied terminology of the ancient game imported from Scotland.
If the plans of the committee materialize there will also be boat-riding on the lake, tennis, a beautiful picnic ground, bathing beach, and if desired, croquet for the very young and the portly.
It is a splendid move, and will undoubtedly become the playground of the city and adjoining countryside. If you desire a membership, see either Bert Vaughn or Roy Shields, who are acting as the committee on organization.
Charter Membership composed of One Hundred Members, Grounds Are Leased
Davis County Republican and Democrat, April 28,1921
The Bloomfield Country Club is now fully organized, the charter membership is completed, the grounds for the use of the club have been leased, and everything is ready for the members and their families to enjoy themselves as participants in the ordinary round of social pleasures customarily scheduled for such organizations.
The B.B. Burchett pasture of forty acres has been leased and includes the small lake, known as the Burchett Lake. An entrance way and club house site has been rented from H.C. Guernsey who owns a few acres adjoining the Burchett place.
The new golf course is laid out, and will soon be complete4d. Plans are being made for the construction of at least two tennis courts. The trap shooters of the club are looking eagerly forward to the day when trap shooting will be held at the grounds. Those who enjoy bathing or fishing will have the opportunity granted them to indulge their respective fancies to the fullest extent. Picnics will be a common sight on the club grounds this year.
The annual dues this year are fifteen dollars. A membership fee of $5.00 is also charged for those obtaining membership after the charter was closed. The present membership limit is one hundred and fifteen. No person living in Davis County, who is not a member, unless entitled to the privileges through the membership of the head of the family, will be permitted to use or visit the grounds. The lease contracts prohibit the admission of such persons, and if discovered in the grounds they will be treated as trespassers under the4 law. Any person desiring a membership should file his application with the secretary, R.M. Shields. Already there is a large waiting lit. The board of directors may increase the membership, if the board so votes, but it is improbable that very many more members will be accepted this year.
A few of the names found in the original membership lists include, K.F. Baldridge, Ray Baumgarten, C.C. Brown, Harry Burchett, Wray Christy, Wm. F. Cree, W.R. Carroll, Mary D. Davies, J.J. Ethell, E.E. Fortune, Chas. Fellinger, H.L. Fent, S E. Latimer, J.H. Leon, Earl Latimer, Buell McCash, Anderson McMains, S. S. Melchert, Guy Pettit, Otis Rector, Edith A. Steckel, Dr. C.D. Shelton, Lowell Sullivan, Henry C. Taylor, Bert Vaughn, Arthur Wray, Henry A. Wishard, Dr. H.C. Young, Ephraim Young.
Other important events taking place in the Country Club’s first year:
• The opening of the Country Club was observed by holding a picnic on the grounds Wednesday, June 7, 1922.
Prior to the event, the Davis County Republican and Bloomfield Democrat of June 1, 1922 stated: “Each family is asked to bring enough silver, dishes, glasses, etc., for its own use, and most important, a well-filled basket of salad, fried chicken, sandwiches, and other things.
“All members are urged to make plans to attend. A good time is guaranteed by the committee.”
• The new clubhouse on the grounds of the Country Club was informally opened on Oct. 5, 1923.
The Davis County Republican of Oct. 9, 1923, reported: “The new club house at the Bloomfield Country Club was informally dedicated last Friday evening. The largest crowd in the history of the club attended the event and everyone present greatly enjoyed the festivities.
“A program arranged by Mr. Otis Rector and others was informally presented. Senator J.J. Ethell acted as master of the ceremonies. Music was furnished throughout the evening by the Melodious Five.”
Golf is not always relaxing and fun
Though many in the community were thrilled with the new facilities contributing to Bloomfield’s recreational and social life, at least one gentleman found himself disillusioned by the game. The following article is from the Davis County Republican and Democrat of July 3, 1923:
Good Man Gone Wrong
Drakesville Man Gives Up in Despair
Game of Golf Gets Henderson’s Goat
May Change Mind
The following valuable document was found on the streets of Drakesville last week. The writer of the letter, L.L. Henderson, after attempting to play the fairways on the Bloomfield Country Club and finding that trees would invariably attract the balls he shot gave up in the very depth of dreary despair and quit the game forever and ever—perhaps.
In any event the letter, for the first time in history, records the thoughts and feelings of a golfer who has had rotten luck and believes he is off the game for life.
Mr. J.C. Benge
My dear Butch:
Having quit the game for good, I wish to make the following disposition of my property and am leaving it to you to see that my wishes are carried out, towit:
The Mashie Niblick you can give to Mr. Caldwell. It may be a good club — I don’t know; I never used it. Had I ever got close enough to a hole, I might have tried it, but alas!
The Putter you can keep. You should be able to greatly improve your game with two putters.
Give the Bag to my old friend and ally, Leslie Ezra Hill. He may not know how to use it at first but with proper training he will learn.
The Mid Iron you can give to John Fouts or tie a good-sized rock to it and throw it in some deep lake!!
Make our worthless Secretary a present of the Driver. A powerful accurate driver like him should appreciate another addition to his collection.
Let Frank Irelan have the Brassie; give the Mashie to Hickey; and teach them how to use the same.
Lastly, I have some fourteen balls. Give them to Otis Irelan. He should at least get one game out of them.
As a last request I ask that you never mention the Game again in my presence nor mention anything referring to it.
Hoping that you soon find yourself in like frame of mind and attitude, I remain,