Notes on Woodstock History

 
Presented by the Woodstock Historical Foundation, Founders of Woodstock Club

The history of golf at Woodstock has its origins in the Indianapolis Country Club on this site. Golf was introduced to Indianapolis in 1896 at Country Club. Alvin S. Lockard, a prominent figure in Indianapolis society, made a trip around the world and saw golf played for the first time in India. Lockard was told by an Englishman to buy a “Badminton” upon his arrival in London, which would give the rules and regulations of the game. This Lockard did and, upon arrival home, he got a set of clubs and balls through Charles Mayer & Company. Another version of the story had him buying practice balls and a set of clubs in England. In 1896, Lockard, along with Phil Watson, J.A. Barnard, and Robert Martindale, laid out two holes of golf at Country Club and charged players $5 annually to use the “course”. The following spring, in 1897, the four men built a nine-hole, 2400-yard course in the field adjoining Country Club, with Lockard apparently assuming much of the cost of the course expansion. It was one of the earliest golf courses built west of the Appalachians. Only Country Club members were allowed to play the course. Interestingly, the golf club seems to have been an independent organization and yet still a part of the club. Golf players had to have Country Club membership and had the privileges of the clubhouse. The Club had authority over the golf field from 1896 until 1899 because it leased the forty to fifty acres which the course occupied. However, starting in 1899, the golf club paid the lease rental for the land which left only the first and last holes on Country Club territory, thus increasing the authority of the golf club operation over its course. The old farmhouse that was used as the first clubhouse on the site had an enclosed bowling alley that was converted into a locker house. The Club also built a pro shop and Arthur Tweedy, a junior amateur champion of Great Britain, came to Country Club from England about 1900. He was the first golf professional in the State of Indiana. After Tweedy, the Club brought a succession of Scots to the position. Led by Francis Herd, President of Country Club, golfers from private clubs in seven cities around the state founded the Indiana Golf Association (IGA) on 11 September 1900 and scheduled their first state tournament on 11-13 October 1900 at Country Club.

James P. Fadely, Ph.D