A HISTORY OF THE GOLF CLUB OF AVON
By Don Malen and Ed Mikolowsky
The top photo is a view of Seven Red green taken in 1955. Lily Pond became so full that golfers were unable to access the green and had to play to a temporary green to the left of the flooded green. This condition was common until the club excavated the pond in 1971. The bottom photo shows the elegant clubhouse as it appeared in 1945. The three windows on the top floor were the club offices. The photo on the cover page shows the pro shop in 1950 which is in the same location as the pro shop in 2010. The photo shows Head Golf Professional Harry Nettelbladt in the white cap with hands on his hips and his wife, Evelyn, seated behind the child.
A HISTORY OF THE GOLF CLUB OF AVON Copyright, The Golf Club of Avon, Incorporated, 2010. All Rights Reserved.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION/ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS........................................(iii) TIMELINE..............................................................................1 ARTICLES THE CONTRIBUTION OF A. W. TILLINGHAST…………………………...................................2 WOMEN’S GOLF IN THE 1940’S AND 1950’S………………………………….…...................5 THE HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONALS AT AVON…………………………….……....................7 HARRY NETTELBLADT ON THE PGA TOUR………………………….……….......................18 WHAT WAS AVON GOLF CLUB LIKE FIFTY YEARS AGO?................................................19 THE STADTMILLER ROCK………………………………………………………...........................21 FAMOUS WOMEN GOLFERS AT AVON GOLF CLUB………………...……….........................22 THE HOLE-IN-ONE CHAMP………………………………………………………........................24 WHAT IS THE CHURCH HOLE?....................................................................................................25 NOTABLE AMATEUR VICTORIES………………………………………….……........................26 GOLF CLUB OF AVON MEMBERS IN THE CONNECTICUT GOLF HALL OF FAME.……....27 CADDYING AT THE CLUB………………………………………………….....................….…..28 AVON RECORD SCORES……………………………………………………......................……...30 WHY “JONESEY’S”?.........…………………………………………………………...............….….32 i
THE EVOLUTION OF THE GOLF COURSE………………......................……………….…34 HEAD GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENTS………………........................………….……..40 TENNIS……………………………………………………......…………..………………42 PADDLE TENNIS.........................……………………………………………………………..…44 TWENTY YEAR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOLF CLUB OF AVON……............…….…..45 PRESIDENTS OF THE CITY CLUB OF HARTFORD AND THE GOLF CLUB OF AVON......46 GOLF: MEN’S CHAMPIONS.............................……………….....…………………………….…47 GOLF: MEN’S SENIOR CHAMPIONS.............................……………………………….……....48 GOLF: WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS.............................……………………………………….….…49 GOLF: WOMEN’S SENIOR CHAMPIONS................................……………………..……....…50 ABOUT THE AUTHORS……..........................................................................................................51
The first scorecard used in 1925 for the nine hole course at what was then called Avon Country Club. This nine was played twice for an eighteen hole round. Note the caddie fees of $.40 and $.75 for nine and eighteen holes, respectively.
INTRODUCTION/ ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS When we began this project in January, 2010, we frankly had no idea whether or not there were sufficient materials available to produce a written document which would chronicle the history of Golf Club of Avon. To our knowledge, there had never been a serious attempt to produce a history of the club other than a two-page document which recalled the origins of the golf course. We did have several valuable and interesting photos and other items that Don Malen had carefully saved during his long tenure as head golf professional. In order to determine whether or not sufficient records existed, we made several trips to the attic and storage rooms adjacent to and above the club’s offices, areas populated more by mice than man in recent years. In these rooms were some of the historical records of the club, especially minute books for the years from 1945 forward. We spent several weeks reviewing documents and records, and met twice per week to review our progress and finalize the goals of this project: (1) to author the first written history of the Golf Club of Avon for distribution to all members and prospective members and (2) to create a public area in the clubhouse where historical photos and items could be viewed by members and guests. Unfortunately, our project has taken place concurrently with difficult economic times and, as a result, the public display area is on hold until funds are available. Though we have characterized the booklet as a “history,” we are well aware that it is not a history in the true sense of the word. We were limited by the existing records: scant records exist of the early years of the club; our main sources of information were minutes of Board and committee meetings which do not always provide a complete picture of the matters which are in the minutes; few records exist for the very fine tennis program at the club. Additionally, neither of us has the skills or experience of a historian, nor did we have the time or resources to research and write a comprehensive account of the club’s 85 or 97 year existence (after reading the history, this sentence should make more sense to you). Though we tried to be thoughtful, it is likely that there will be omissions of some items or events that some members believe are significant. We apologize in advance for any such omissions or any errors that may be in the document. What we have tried to produce is a document that members will enjoy reading and that will give them a fairly complete account of the many fine years of the Golf Club of Avon. We have many people to thank for helping us with this project. Our thanks to our “assistant editors” who reviewed and commented on various drafts of the history: Jack Fay, John Aylsworth, Eileen Marks, Dick Strickland, Mo Davenport, Jim Leonard, Mike Monts, Patti Cheyne, Tom Gerchman, Dave Castellani, Tony Castellani, Kathy Mylod, Dick Stefanski, Bob Hyatt, Bud Petersen, and Ryan Hall. Their collective input was invaluable.
Special thanks to John Drew who drafted the sections on tennis and paddle tennis. Without Johnâ€™s efforts, we would have been unable to address those sports. Thanks to Rob Hyner and Rick Sharpe for assistance with photos and other historical items. Our thanks to Julia Fosson for her drawings which re-created the early layouts of the golf course; to Gina Mongillo for help in drafting the layout of earlier drafts; to Herb Pandiscio for his advice on publishing the history; and to Kathy Mylod for helping us pick the historical items which we hope will eventually be on public display in the clubhouse. Thanks to General Manager Chad Becker for reviewing many drafts of the history and for his many helpful suggestions throughout the project. Thanks to Joline Rosario and Kim Perez for helping us locate the many old documents that existed in various places in the clubhouse. We hope you enjoy reading about the golf club that has provided all of us with so many good times and lasting friendships. Don Malen and Ed Mikolowsky December, 2010
Four members complete the Red Nine in approximately 1966. Note the electric carts and the clubhouse patio in the background.
TIMELINE In order to understand the history of the Golf Club of Avon, one must understand the histories of two entities: The City Club of Hartford, which was incorporated in 1913, and Avon Country Club Incorporated, which was formed in 1925. The City Club was originally a social club for businessmen in downtown Hartford. Avon Country Club was the original nine-hole course on what was then called Mountain Road, now Country Club Road, in Avon. Until 1945, the City Club and Avon Country Club developed independently: the City Club became an enormously popular social and dining club in downtown Hartford while the Avon Country Club gradually expanded in Avon. In 1945, however, their paths officially merged when the City Club purchased the land and other assets of the Avon Country Club. After the purchase, the City Club owned and operated both the downtown Hartford social and dining club and the golf facility in Avon.
This is a 1945 photograph of the City Club on Trumbull Street in downtown Hartford, a social and dining club which purchased the assets of Avon Country Club in that year. In 1970, the City Club lost its downtown building to an urban renewal project in Hartford (the building was taken and demolished for the construction of the Hartford Civic Center, known in 2010 as the XL Center). The City Club leased premises for a new social and dining club in Hartford for a few years at 250 Constitution Plaza, but ceased to have a Hartford presence in 1972, following which the only facilities of the City Club were at the golf course in Avon. The official name of this entity remained The City Club of Hartford Incorporated until 1993 when the name was changed to Golf Club of Avon, Incorporated.
I. AVON COUNTRY CLUB PRIOR TO ITS ACQUISITION BY THE CITY CLUB OF HARTFORD INCORPORATED. Unfortunately, there are few records of the first twenty years of Avon Country Club. What records we do have are summarized below. THE CONTRIBUTION OF A.W. TILLINGHAST
Commencing in the fall of 1937, noted golf architect A. W. Tillinghast was approached by W.E. Schaeffer, Chair of Avon Country Club’s Greens Committee, and A. Douglas Dodge, the founding member of the club who designed the original nine hole course, with the goal of making Avon one of the outstanding courses in the area. At this time, Mr. Tillinghast had been retained by the PGA of America to provide his personal examination of golf courses which employed a professional member of the PGA of America, and issue a report on his examination free of charge to the golf clubs. In a two-year period, Mr. Tillinghast traveled across the United States and examined hundreds of golf courses and it was under this program that Mr. Tillinghast toured the Avon course. At the time, the country was still in the Great Depression and most golf clubs were struggling financially and hoping to avoid foreclosure. Though there was not a great demand for making costly improvements to golf courses in these difficult times, Avon Country Club worked closely with Mr. Tillinghast on improving its sprinkler system, top dressing the fairways with loam taken from Lily Pond, and outlining changes in eleven of the eighteen holes. These changes were completed by the end of the 1938 golf season. A few of the design changes made by Mr. Tillinghast that are currently enjoyed by members are a new bunker to the right of One Red green, the lengthening of Five Red to a par five with the tee shot carrying the edge of Lily Pond, the addition of the fairway bunker on the right side of the fairway on Nine Red which, at the time, was the distance from the green of most second shots, and the addition of corner bunkers at the front of One White green. Although much of the bunkering on the Red and White Nines has been rebuilt, the basic design of these holes today reflects the work of Tillinghast which greatly contributed to the beauty and enjoyment of the golf course. Mr. Tillinghast’s glorious career included designs of Winged Foot Golf Club, East and West Courses, (Mamaroneck, NY), Baltusrol Golf Club, Upper and Lower Courses (Springfield, NJ), Bethpage State Park Golf Course, Blue, Red, and Black Courses (Farmingdale, NY), San Francisco Country Club, Baltimore Country Club, Five Farms East Course (Timionium, MD), Ridgewood Country Club (Paramus, NJ), Quaker Ridge Golf Club (Scarsdale, NY), Somerset Hills Golf Club (Bernardsville, NJ), and Newport Country Club (Newport, RI) . He also coined the word “birdie” to describe a hole played in one stroke less than par.
1925: Samuel Graham purchased 60 acres of land known as the Stillwell Farm in West Avon. Mr. Graham was retired. Mr. Graham had met with his personal physician, Ralph Cox of Collinsville, Connecticut, and Dr. Cox suggested that Mr. Graham needed a hobby. Though Mr. Graham originally intended to use the land for farming, he quickly changed his mind and began to think of using the land as a golf course, having played golf the prior winter in Florida. In 1925, the course was open to play for men and women. Charles Henderson, a Scotsman and former pro at The Country Club of Farmington, was the first golf pro. Mrs. Henderson was hired to make coffee and sandwiches for the players. Sherman Eddy prepared a design for the first clubhouse which was modeled after the nearby Towpath Lodge. 1927: Clubhouse building began. J. Frank Byrne was the construction engineer. Several area farmers were hired to dig the foundation for the building. The lumber for the building came from nearby woods, was pre-cut in the woods, and then hauled to the building site. The heavy chestnut beams came from Edwards Lane on Huckleberry Hill in Avon. The clubhouse was finished in 1928.
This is the earliest photograph in the club’s records. It is from a 1938 newspaper article and shows three members from the Tournament Committee dressed for a costume party. The article notes that “even their friends didn’t know them.”
1928: The Club incorporated in 1928 and was valued at $90,000. George Seibert became head golf pro (and remained pro until 1938). 1929: The club purchased an additional 40 acres (a tobacco farm at the time) to add to the golf course. A women’s auxiliary was formed to raise money to help furnish the new clubhouse. Each woman was responsible for raising $5. Some cooked, some sewed, some had card parties. Mrs. Ralph Cox made candy “that was so delicious she brought in $65.” 1931: Women’s weekly tournaments began. Prize was $1. Esther Hart became the first women’s champion at Avon. 1938: James Martucci became head pro (and remained pro until 1940). Walter Hagen, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, appeared in an exhibition at Avon in 1939. Hagen won 11 professional major championships. Between 1914 and 1929, he won the PGA Championship five times (four of them in a row); the British Open four times and the U.S. Open twice. He also won the Western Open five times between 1916 and 1931 when it was widely considered a major championship.
1940: Jack Mackie, Jr. became head pro (and remained pro until 1942). 1942: Harry Nettelbladt became head golf pro (and remained pro until 1969).
II. THE PURCHASE OF THE ASSETS OF AVON COUNTRY CLUB BY THE CITY CLUB OF HARTFORD, INCORPORATED. The Origins of the City Club: The City Club of Hartford was organized in the spring of 1913 by a group of Hartford businessmen as “a young man’s club.” As the Preliminary Committee’s letter of May 29, 1913 stated, “the idea is to have a comfortable and attractive club room, reading room, library, billiard room, dining hall, lunch room, etc. located conveniently for our use in the center of the city.” Approximately 1,000 prospective members enrolled in a matter of months. On July 24, 1913, the City Club was officially incorporated and leased three upper floors of Six Central Row, Hartford, as its first home. In 1924, the City Club entered into a lease for a building on Ten Allyn Street which had been built for use by the club. In December of 1944, talks began for possible acquisition of Avon Country Club 4
WOMEN’S GOLF IN THE 1940’S AND 1950’S The Golf Club of Avon Women’s Association began with fifteen members in 1931. Though records for the 1930’s are scarce, it is clear that the women golfers were a very dedicated and fun-loving group in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In terms of dedication, it would be hard to top Mary Fisher. Apparently at some date in the 1940’s, Mrs. Fisher played golf while very pregnant. She played golf on September seventh and delivered her son, Jerry, on September eighth. In the days of late August and the first week of September, it was reported that her co-golfers carried baskets around the course in case of an emergency delivery. At the same time, according to the Association records, one woman and her friend routinely played golf despite having a very young baby. One woman pushed the child in a baby carriage and the other woman was responsible for the golf clubs and, if the baby cried, a bottle was waiting. World War II’s gas rationing presented logistical problems for the golfers. Since gas was scarce for recreational driving, many women took buses to either Bishops Corner in West Hartford or to Avon center, from which a car pool would take a group to the club for golf. During this time of gas rationing- cars received three gallons of gas per week- it was common for the men golfers to car pool to the club on Saturdays, play a round of golf that day, sleep over on the floor of the ballroom on Saturday nights, and then play on Sundays, all in an effort to save fuel. The women golfers also had their share of fun. In the late 1940’s, the husband-wife tournaments were played in costumes. Men dressed as pirates, ballerinas (!), and cowboys, while the women were in evening clothes with fur capes or papier-mâché costumes. At the Fourth of July Sunday Scotch matches, participants were free to do whatever they wished to do to distract players while they were attempting to hit the ball. The reports indicate that firecrackers, bugles, and cymbals were commonly used during an opponent’s backswing. In 1949, two very active golf members of the Hartford Golf Club community, Ida Strike and Ann Larrabee, were killed in a tragic plane crash. In their memory, the first Tri-Club Championships were played with Avon, Hartford, and Wampanoag participating (the Tri-Club Championship continues to be played at the time of this writing). In the 1950’s, some of the Association women formed the “Knitwits.” This group met every Wednesday morning for knitting and talking until noon, at which time they broke for lunch. In the winter, when the club was closed, the Knitwits continued to meet at homes of various members.
by the City Club. At this time, the City Club had approximately 620 members and was quite dedicated to the World War II effort: the club purchased $36,200 of war bonds (as compared to just $5,000 it had in deposits at various banks). 1945: In early 1945, the City Club surveyed its members and found that approximately 100 members were interested in becoming golf members of the Avon Country Club and that 100 additional City Club members would like to be social members at Avon. The City Club Board then authorized a committee to explore the purchase of Avon Country Club from Simsbury Bank which then held a mortgage on Avon’s properties. Though precise records are not available, it appears that the war had a devastating effect on Avon’s membership and finances, and that the country club was in default of its obligations to Simsbury Bank. The City Club’s first offer for Avon Country Club- $2,000 for a Bond For Deed, $5,000 down payment, and a purchase money mortgage at 4.5% (the principal amount was not stated)- was rejected by Simsbury Bank. As a result, the City Club ended up signing a five-year lease of the assets of the country club with an option to purchase the property.
In March, plans were made in anticipation of the future combination of the two clubs. The City Club suspended its posting rules for new members and expedited the admission to the City Club of eighty Avon Country Club members. No initiation fee was charged but membership was conditional upon the future purchase of the country club by the City Club.
In addition to setting up a mechanism for Avon members to become City Club Members, the City Club changed its membership categories to reflect the newly available golf option. All City Club members could choose among three categories of membership: Regular, which allowed members to use the Hartford dining club; Social, which allowed the member to use the Hartford and Avon facilities but did not have golf privileges; and Combination, which allowed a member access to all Hartford and Avon facilities and golf privileges. By August of 1945, the City Club membership had increased to over 870 members. The City Club authorized major expenditures at Avon: “debugging” the grounds and fairways; installing a new roof on the clubhouse; digging dry wells for the clubhouse; and enclosing the clubhouse porch. At the annual meeting of the City Club members in October of 1945, the club exercised its option to purchase the real estate and other assets of the Avon Country Club. A detailed list of the assets to be acquired was prepared and included one lobster cracker, four beer mugs, one vinegar bottle, and four moose heads. After the acquisition, and though still officially The City Club of Hartford, Avon Country Club became known to the general public as “The Golf Club of Avon.” III. AVON COUNTRY CLUB AFTER ACQUISITION BY THE CITY CLUB OF HARTFORD 1946-1949 1946: The purchase of the assets of the Avon Country Club was completed and the Hartford facilities and the Avon facilities constituted The City Club of Hartford. Apparently the combination was not entirely smooth at first. Early in the summer season, there was a considerable number of complaints on the dryness of the fairways and on the dinners and service at Avon. The watering system was analyzed and found to be “old, worn-out and entirely inadequate.” The pump in use for watering had been manufactured in 1908 by a company no longer in business, and the country club apparently had purchased that pump as a very used pump from the Farmington Water Company. The club decided to investigate a fairway watering system. In 1946, membership almost hit the 1,000 mark and over 300 were golf members. 1947: The club set up a subsidiary to purchase the downtown Hartford building from the bank for $375,000. At the July 29th Board meeting, held at the summer home of the general manager, Mr. Charles Lewis, and after an “afternoon of indoor and outdoor sports and a marvelously charcoal broiled dinner,” the first member-guest tournament was approved. The Board in 1947 was also concerned with the burnt out fairways on the golf course (there was no irrigation system for the fairways) and with an incident in which a member drove across the course in his automobile to pick up his friends on the course. Also in 1947, the Greens Committee recommended that twelve pull carts be purchased in light of their increasing popularity.
THE HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONALS AT AVON 1925-1927: Charles Henderson was the first golf professional at what was then known as Avon Country Club. Born in Scotland, Mr. Henderson began his career as the first golf professional at The Country Club of Farmington. Mr. Henderson came to Avon at its inception, marking his final stop in a storied career as one of our nation’s first club professionals. Mr. Henderson was also the father of Skip Henderson, a highly respected golf writer whose column, “Tee to Green,” appeared for more than four decades in the now defunct Hartford Times. 1927-1938: When Mr. Henderson retired, George Seibert was selected as Avon’s golf professional. Mr. Seibert came to the club after serving as the top assistant at The Hartford Golf Club. Mr. Seibert was one of the best instructional pros in the area and shot a 69 which tied the course record at the time. He went on to finish his career at Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford, Connecticut. 1939-1940: After ten seasons as the head golf professional at the Teterboro Club in New Jersey, Jim Martucci was selected to be Avon’s third golf professional from at least one hundred applicants. Mr. Martucci was also a top instructor and an accomplished golfer. He qualified for two PGA Championships and two United States Opens. 1941-1942: Jack Mackie, Jr. was named head golf professional on February 18, 1941. Mr. Mackie, a former amateur star, had been working for his father, Jack Mackie, Sr., at the time of his hiring. Jack Mackie, Sr. was one of the founders of the organization that became the PGA. 1942-1969: Avon Country Club hired Harry Nettelbladt from his native Massachusetts on January 9, 1942. Mr. Nettelbladt had an outstanding professional golf career and was probably one of golf’s most skilled putters. According to the Connecticut State Golf Association web site, the great Tommy Armour often offered to back Mr. Nettelbladt in a putting match of any amount against Bobby Locke who was then generally acknowledged as the game’s finest putter. Although Harry had a superior putting game, the other parts of his game were also very sound as evidenced by his occasional success on the PGA tour . In spite of his superior talent, and also according to the CSGA web site, Harry felt that “ much of his success could be attributed to his worriless time away from his golf shop, where the innate felicitous charm of his dear wife Evelyn made the members forget, or be happily reminded, that the valued and respected but often dogmatic and sometimes irascible Harry was away winning another.” 1970-1974: Guy Porter, a thirty-year-old native of Greenville, South Carolina, was selected to succeed Harry Nettelbladt. At the time, Avon was beginning just its second full year as a twenty-seven hole layout. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Mr. Porter spent his winters as an assistant to the noted Henry Picard at the Seminole Golf Club in North Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. Porter enjoyed five seasons at Avon before buying his own golf course in South Carolina. 1975-2009: Don Malen, the longest tenured golf professional in Avon’s history, was hired in 1975. Born and raised in Avon, Connecticut, Mr. Malen began his golf professional career in 1970 as an assistant for Bob Kay at Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford, Connecticut. Don has overseen several generations of Avon members and their guests, impressing all with his love of the club, his eagerness to serve, and his commitment to golf instruction. Mr. Malen was recognized as Connecticut Golf Professional of the Year in 1993. He has been named PGA Merchandiser of the Year in Connecticut three times. In 2008, Mr. Malen was elected to the Board of Directors of the PGA Golf Foundation of Connecticut. Beginning in 2010, Mr. Malen became Director of Golf Operations for the Golf Club of Avon. Many of Don’s Assistant Professionals went on to successful careers as head professionals, including Bob Nelson (Tumble Brook Country Club, Bloomfield, Ct.), John Lucas (Quarry Ridge Golf Course, Portland, Ct.), Scott Knights (Glastonbury Hills Country Club, Glastonbury, Ct.), David Giacondino (East Mountain Golf Course, Waterbury, Ct.), Tom DelRosso (Prospect Golf, Prospect, Ct.), John Paesani (Norwich Golf Course, Norwich, Ct.), Pat Aquaro (Wethersfield Country Club, Wethersfield, Ct. and Gillette Ridge Golf Club, Bloomfield, Ct.), Stan McLennan (Suffield Country Club, Suffield, Ct.), John Steffen (Woodbridge Country Club, Woodbridge, Ct.), Mark McClellan (Diamondback Golf Club, Abilene, Tx.), Jay Jordan (Castlewoods Golf Club, Brandon, Ms.), and Gary Tatar (Mill Creek Golf Club, Churchville, NY). 2010: Ryan Hall became Avon’s eighth head golf professional in 2010. A member of the club’s professional staff since 2002, Mr. Hall has displayed an enormous talent for teaching and playing golf. He holds a seat on the Connecticut PGA Junior Golf Committee and is deeply committed to family and junior golf.
1948: This was not a notable year. The Library Committee reported increased expenditures, up to $42 for the year, as a result of ordering Gourmet and an additional copy of The Hartford Courant. In October, the greens keeper, Rod Burnham, died tragically and suddenly; he was buried “within sight of the eleventh tee” (as of the writing of this history, this is the Three White tee). 1949: This year brought changes to the clubhouse: because dice games after stag parties often went past 4:00 a.m., the rules were changed to require that games end no later than 1:00 a.m. There was a lengthy Board discussion on whether or not to bring television to the clubhouse. In light of the enormity of this decision, which would cost $1,100-1,200, the Board voted to install an antenna, rent a television, have Board members watch the television, and then make a final decision. The minutes for this year also reflect some tension between the downtown dining club and the suburban golf course after the golf course was not able to make a profit on its own. An irrigation system for the course was proposed, but in light of the estimated cost of $35,000-40,000, the members (especially the former City Club members) opposed the proposal.
This photograph from 1950 shows the entrance to the club parking lot with its distinctive “lighthouse” structures.
1950-1959 1950: Membership by 1950 had slowly grown, so that there were approximately 330 golf members and 1,160 total members. Apparently at this time there was an issue with respect to use of the cocktail room by women. The club changed the rule to permit “escorted ladies” into the cocktail room but only for cocktails and only on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. In 1950, the Board approved the construction of a “practice fairway” on the condition that members clear the land and build the facility at no cost to the club. 1951: The practice fairway project (the site of the current practice range and depicted in the club magazine article on this page) took off in 1951. One hundred members gave $5 each to start the project. Several members volunteered to cut down trees as part of the preparation for the practice fairway. A later solicitation of the membership netted almost an additional $1,000. Preliminary plans called for lights to be installed on the practice fairway, but there were insufficient funds for the lights. The club also received a donation from the Fuller Brush Company of a “Turfmaster,” which appears to have been an early version of artificial turf; the club installed it on an experimental basis on the number three tee.
In 1951, there were approximately 1,200 members, 350 of whom were golf members. The assimilation of the golf club into the downtown club continued with some disagreements on profitability and allocation of charges between the two. The summer was another dry summer and preferred lies in all fairways were authorized. In light of these conditions, the Greens Chair tendered his written resignation; it was rejected. Celebrity golf came to Avon in 1951. The Board rejected without comment a proposed exhibition by Ben Hogan, but later approved an exhibition by Roberto De Vicenzo of Argentina who was a rising player on tour at the age of 28. Mr. De Vicenzo was paid $300 for the exhibition and played with then Avon golf pro, Harry Nettelbladt, and two other local pros. Admission was $1.50 but apparently did not excite great enthusiasm among the members: the club lost $150 on the event. A substantial dispute arose with respect to tipping in the dining areas of the club. A flat service charge was advocated by some, but the dispute was not resolved. 1952: Work on the “practice fairway” continued in 1952. The Boy Scouts were paid $350 to remove stones from the area. In July, the final payment was made on the club’s mortgage, resulting in a very successful “Burning of Mortgage Party.” On the course, the fifth green was replaced and a “small refreshment stand” was built near the new eighth tee. At this time, some employees lived in the clubhouse in rooms on the upper level. After some disturbances, the House Committee recommended that these living quarters be inspected frequently. 1953: Membership had increased to almost 1,300 members, 345 of whom were golf members. The practice fairway opened in July. Greens fees for guests for Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays were increased from $3.00 to $4.00. A contract was signed to pipe water to three additional fairways (water was an ongoing issue for the club in these years). 1954: The water situation worsened and the Board authorized $1,500 to build a reservoir down to the water table. A special clergy membership was established, for one-third the regular initiation fee and one-third the regular dues. The Civic Committee continued to be very active: typical recipients were Gaylord Farms Sanitarium, the Hartford Times Farm, the American Red Cross, the Community Chest, and the March of Dimes. Membership hit an all time high of 1,356 (golf was capped at 350). Another new membership class was established: “single non-dependent daughters of golf members.” Cost was $40 per year and was charged to the golf member, not the “non-dependent” daughter. 1955: Greens Committee budget of $39,962 was accepted by the Board. Membership continued to grow and the Board raised the initiation fee to $100. Golf was capped at 350 but also had “2 clergy and 2 ladies.” The General Manager, Charles Lewis, was recognized for 25 years of service and was given a Hamilton wristwatch and magnetic casting reel. The minutes note that he “was unquestionably moved with pleasure.” Course privileges were extended to the Avon Chief of Police. Up to $12,000 was authorized for additions to the irrigation system on the clubhouse side of the road. The House Committee first raised the idea of a swimming pool at Avon.
Three women are playing Nine Red in this 1952 photograph. The bunker in the background was on One Red and does not exist today.
The 1955 flood, though it spared the golf course, was widely felt in the Farmington Valley. Club staff worked for the town helping flood victims. The club was closed due to lack of power, but still managed to prepare and distribute over 1,000 meals to victims and workers. After the floods, Avon invited members from Hartford, Tumble Brook, Wampanoag, and Farmington clubs (all closed due to flooding) to play at Avon (which remained open) at a reduced greens fee of $2. President Eisenhower was awarded an honorary membership at Avon. When one member pointed out the difficulties involved in any club officially joined by the President, however, the honorary membership was rescinded and, in its place, the President was â€œinvited to use the club whenever he is in the neighborhood.â€?
This photograph shows the club in the 1950â€™s with an extensive patio overlooking the course; this patio is now the site of the dining room
1956: Serious proposals were made at the start of the year to build a pool and a new pro shop. The Board authorized $70,000 for the construction of the pool and pro shop. The pool was completed for the summer of 1956 and was very well received. The clubâ€™s Constitution was revised, adding a Pool Committee and eliminating the Literature Committee. A member was presented two dozen golf balls for his suggestion to the Board which resulted in a tax refund of $239.
1957: Membership continued to grow and reached 1,550. There was a “long and spirited discussion” about the need for a nursery school or day camp for children of Avon members. After the USGA informed the club that it may need a federal gambling license for present operations, the Board voted to discontinue all calcuttas, auctions, and “other forms of organized gambling.” The popular “ProMember Tournament” filled quickly: 40 pros and 120 members competed.
Beginning in 1959, the ice skating rink behind the clubhouse was a popular spot to gather for some winter exercise and refreshments.
1958: Membership soared to over 1,620. The first electric cart was permitted at the club, at the request of a disabled member. Rental pull carts were also first approved for general use. There was some political discord: the chairs of the Greens and Tournament Committees were reprimanded by the Board for failure to invite the General Manager to their meetings despite the Board’s order that they do so. The Board also voted to require the Greens Chair to explain to the Board why the committee was not enforcing rules established by the Board. The Board passed a resolution that all women at the club with golf privileges “have equal privileges as to when they play or when they start.” 1959: Renovation plans for the clubhouse moved forward at an estimated cost of $275,000. This was financed by a five-year assessment on the members: $5.00 per month for golf members and $2.50 per month for social members. The new ice rink opened in January and drew up to 300 skaters on a weekend day.
To the left are 1960 reports from the Membership and Civic Committees.
1960-1969 1960: A major clubhouse renovation was successfully completed: air conditioning installed on first floor, additional dining space, new cocktail lounge and bars, new men’s lockers, new powder rooms, and extensive wallto-wall carpeting. There remained concerns about sufficient water and water pressure to water the golf course. Family Day at Avon was very successful: over 800 members attended. Membership had increased to 1,670, 16 of whom were clergy. The club received a letter from the IRS questioning its tax exemption and immediately hired counsel to defend the club. 1961: The club erected its first flagpole. Senator Prescott Bush presented the club with a flag that had flown previously over the United States Capitol. A report from the USGA stated “unequivocally that the course was in excellent condition.” The Board voted to approve the use of six electric carts on an experimental basis (the carts proved to be very popular in the succeeding years). The Board authorized aerial photographs of the golf course “to replace the wallpaper in the Men’s Grill.” The Board voted to cap the clergy membership category at 25. The President noted that club annual revenues exceeded $700,000 making the club a “big business.”
Membership in the early 1960’s was between 1,600 and 1,700 members, as evidenced by the crowd at the pool.
1962: Nineteen thousand dollars was approved for construction of new holes Two Red and Three Red. Twelve additional electric carts were ordered and the Board authorized funds for a building to store the carts. The club resolved its issues with the IRS and retained its tax-exempt status. After inquiries from the state Liquor Control Commission, the Board adopted an “all charge system” for all bills and charges. The Board received complaints about “ children driving their parents’ cars in the parking lot” and reminded people in bathing attire to remain at all times in the pool area. A pension plan for the employees was adopted. Membership began to decline (to 1,615 at the end of the year). The skating rink at the club reopened in January, initially on weekends and then on Thursdays through Sundays, to increasing popularity. Sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and a special entrée of the day could be purchased and full bar service was available.
The top photo shows 800 members attending Family Day in 1960. The bottom photo is an aerial photograph taken in 1962. The pro shop is to the top of the L-shaped pool. To the top of the pro shop is the main practice green in 1962 and in the upper far right corner is the caddyshack. The tee for One Red and the green for Nine Red are visible and, between them, is the smaller practice green.
1963: Membership continued to decrease steadily and was down to 1,468 at the end of 1963. The General Manager reported that clubs nationally experienced similar declines. The year was described as “very trying” with a net loss of over $26,000 through October. The club sold over $22,000 of Savings Bonds to help with the deficit. On the third try in 1963, the “all charge” system adopted in 1962 was overturned and cash payments were again permitted for club bills and charges. The swimming pool remained popular and averaged 450 people on hot days.
The clubhouse entrance as it appeared in 1964
1964: A membership drive was launched to add 200 new members in an attempt to get back to the 1,650 membership level. No details of the drive were stated and it was only partly successful, raising membership to 1,520 members. The General Manager, Charles Lewis, announced his intent to retire in 1965, saying he “has been trying to make up his mind to do this for the past 15 years.” Mr. Lewis had been General Manager for both the Avon and Hartford facilities and two men were named to succeed him, one at each location. There was a lengthy discussion with respect to the need to dredge Lily Pond; a member volunteered to be the consulting engineer on any dredging project.
HARRY NETTELBLADT ON THE PGA TOUR Harry Nettelbladt, Avon’s head golf professional from 1942-1969, began his professional career at obscure Pakachoag Hill Club in Auburn, Massachusetts. He moved to Framingham Country Club in Framingham, Massachusetts before starting his long career at Avon. Mr. Nettelbladt was known as “The Thin Man” because of his build (he was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 165 pounds). In addition to his many successes in the New England area (Connecticut Open champion in 1950 and 1951; Connecticut PGA Champion in 1948 and 1954; Connecticut PGA Professional of the Year in 1963; President of the Connecticut Section, PGA, 1959; Champion of the Manchester Open, New Hampshire Open, and Massachusetts Open), Mr. Nettelbladt had some notable success on the PGA Tour. In 1945, he finished fourth in the Tam O’Shanter Open, a PGA stop that was won that year by Byron Nelson. Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, and Lloyd Mangrum were among the stars who played in that event in 1945. He qualified for the PGA championship nine times and the U.S. Open five times. He finished in the money at the 1958 Insurance City Open won by Jack Burke, Jr. (Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Billy Casper and Ken Venturi were among the participants that year). Upon Mr. Nettelbladt’s death from cancer, Skip Henderson, Golf Editor of The Hartford Times, wrote: “The death of Harry Nettelbladt of Avon removes from the golfing world one of the most popular and accomplished players Connecticut has ever seen…The former State Open PGA champion achieved his high ranking largely because of two elements: he never hit a careless putt and by intensive effort perfected a putting stroke which bordered on the uncanny… Always the gentleman, he treated the impostors, victory and defeat, in precisely the same manner.”
This photograph of Harry is not typical: it shows him swinging left-handed though he was naturally right-handed.
At a testimonial dinner for Mr. Nettelbladt, Arnold Palmer sent a lengthy telegraph of appreciation for Harry’s forty years of service to the game of golf.
1965: There was much discussion and concern among the members as it became evident that the downtown Hartford City Club building would be taken by eminent domain for development purposes. Attendance at the Avon pool rose from 17,964 in 1964 to 21,680 in 1965. The club had a net loss of $40,000, $25,000 of which was attributed to new state minimum wage laws. There was the first Board mention of building tennis courts at the club. 1966: Much of 1966 centered on the proposal to add nine holes to the golf course. The Greens Committee was asked to review the “matter of discrimination against the women nine holers by the women eighteen holers.” The Greens Committee was also concerned with the condition of several greens and asked the Connecticut State Golf Association for advice. In September, it was “noted for the record that the snack bar at the Golf Club had burned down.” WHAT WAS AVON GOLF CLUB LIKE FIFTY YEARS AGO? In 1960, the letterhead of the club was “The City Club of Hartford/Golf Club of Avon,” reflecting the existence of the downtown Hartford social and dining club and the golf course and related facilities in Avon. The Membership Committee was a very active committee in 1960. Membership was booming: there were approximately 1,650 voting members, of which 350 were golf, 1,266 social, and 34 regular members (regular members had use of the downtown Hartford facility, but none of the Avon facilities). Waiting lists were substantial. There were 445 on the golf waiting list, 327 on the pool waiting list, and 16 on the bowling waiting list. The application process for new members was quite different and certainly would not be permitted in 2010. The process included a “Character-Financial Report” prepared by a third party contractor. In addition to questions on marital status and racial descent, the contractor was asked to determine if the applicant “is steady and progressive,” whether “he lives within his income,” and whether his “home surroundings are favorable.” The answers of the contractor indicated the investigation could be quite intrusive. One applicant was “known to be a perfectly healthy person” whose home was located in an area “where racial descent is mixed and the crime rate is low.” Another applicant was described as one who “spends the majority of his time at home and keeps to himself.” For a third applicant that year, “informants report him to be of Catholic faith, although they say that he is not seen attending church every week.” The Greens Committee had a successful year in 1960, reporting that installation of irrigation on the fairways had been completed, a process that was spread over the prior thirteen years. The fifteenth green was entirely redesigned by Geoffrey Cornish and rebuilt for at a total cost of $2,027. Additional land was purchased and was deemed suitable for an additional nine holes “when money is available.” The Finance Committee, though, was grappling with a substantial deficit for 1960 and recommended a number of steps to increase revenue, including renting the golf course for outings for one additional day per week, allowing the ballroom to be used for weddings sponsored by a member, eliminating the position of matron at the swimming pool, and raising charges on outside parties. The Entertainment and House Committees were active. Among the planned activities for 1960, in addition to the usual dances and dinners, were bridge and setback parties, Cha Cha lessons, travel slide shows presented by members, Monte Carlo whist, square dancing and skating parties. The House Committee explored the purchase of remote controls for the club’s televisions, but concluded that installation was quite expensive and therefore inadvisable. As substantial renovations to the clubhouse were being completed, the Long Range Planning Committee made a startling report that “we are most fortunate...for the discovery of structural defects in the old building which undoubtedly prevented a catastrophe which could have entailed many serious injuries…Engineers cannot understand why there had not been a collapse, particularly when the ballroom was in use.”
1967: Bids were solicited in March for a new nine holes. The club received $20,000 in insurance to rebuild the snack bar which was done by Brunoli Corp. and completed by the end of April. The treasurer of the club reported that the “Golf Club is in serious financial difficulty.” The result was a very substantial increase in September in dues and initiation fees. In November, over one hundred members signed a petition for a special meeting of the members to discuss the increases. The meeting was held on November 27 and lasted over three hours. The increases were upheld. 1968: Work on the new nine was scheduled for completion by June. A survey of members resulted in just 39 members interested in tennis, a number “too inconclusive for action.” The pool rules were revised to provide that “sleeveless undershirts” and “hair in pin curlers” were not proper attire. The pool opened in June amid reports that “ the pool is still losing water” (the pool would not be replaced for another 40 years). On the social front, it was reported that the “Teenage Dance was a decided failure,” but “ a very successful fashion show was held at the pool.” The fairways on the new and yet unopened nine were found to have substantial rock problems. The Board voted that “the rock removal will be accomplished by member groups,” after which the fairways would be reloamed and reseeded. The club agreed on the price to be paid for the downtown Hartford building in eminent domain (though the club retained a physical location in Hartford through 1972): $903,458 which, after paying off the mortgage and closing costs, netted the club $739,000. 1969: A committee recommendation that four tennis courts and two paddle tennis courts be constructed was referred to the treasurer for review. The new nine was ready for play and the Board, seeking an efficient operating plan, imposed starting times on Saturday, Sunday, and holiday mornings. The proposed starting times were not received well by the membership: a special meeting of the members was held on the issue and though 38 members were in favor of starting times, “those opposed were a decisive majority.” A security company was retained to patrol the Avon grounds nightly. Membership levels declined steadily and were down to 1,430 at year-end. The bylaws were amended to change the title of the Greens Committee to the Green Committee. 1970-1979 1970: Despite the hiring of security to patrol the grounds, horses caused substantial damage to one green and several fairways on the new nine. A police dog was accepted from the Avon Police Department to improve security. The club was blacklisted by the Musicians Union for hiring nonunion musicians. The Board authorized the Nettelbladt Memorial Tournament. Membership levels continued to deteriorate sharply, down 160 members in the first five months of the year. New membership categories were approved: Retired Golf, Social Golf, Social Intermediate, Nonresident Golf, Nonresident Social, Golf Family, Widows, and Honorary. Following what was known as the “infamous wedding cake incident” (apparently a wedding cake disappeared prior to its being served at the reception), the Board suspended two children of members for eight months. 1971: Membership continued to decline. The golf wait list, which had been well over 400 ten years earlier, was down to 117. There was a unanimous vote to excavate Lily Pond and an agreement for excavation was signed with Terry Vincent. Pursuant to the agreement, the club desired to deepen the pond and increase its water supply. The other party, Mr. Vincent, on the other hand, wanted the sand, gravel, and peat from the excavation. Mr. Vincent agreed to build a roadway to the pond and erect an island in the middle of the pond which would serve as a platform for the excavating equipment. The 20
agreement stated that Mr. Vincent would remove the platform and island after the excavation because it was “important that the Country Club (not)… end up with islands in the middle of the pond.” Unfortunately, for reasons which were not stated in the Board minutes, the platform and islands were not removed and remain in the middle of Lily Pond. 1972: The club entered into a three-year reciprocal relationship with the Hartford Club (this was primarily to compensate for the loss of the club’s building in downtown Hartford). The Board noted that “the family aspect of our membership is a distinguishing characteristic of our club,” as it approved a plan for tennis courts. A special meeting of the members was called to approve the tennis courts and the financing for the courts and both were approved. Air conditioning was added to the foyer, ballroom, porch, and ladies’ locker room. The club signed an option to purchase the Toyen property (150 Country Club Road), exercisable between 1973 and 1978 at a purchase price of between $62,000 and $78,000, depending upon the date of exercising the option. THE STADTMILLER ROCK A sizable boulder- approximately 3 feet high, 4 feet deep, and 5 feet wide- is strategically located to the left of the tee box on One Blue and is dedicated to Charles Stadtmiller. Most members have little to no knowledge of the story behind this rock. In 1973, the Board of Governors approved this memorial to Mr. Stadtmiller, a member from 1941 until his death in 1970. A confirmed bachelor, Mr. Stadtmiller was a Past President of the club who also served as Chair of the Greens Committee for twenty years. In his tenure, he oversaw numerous improvements to the golf course and was instrumental in expanding the course to its current twenty seven hole layout. Mr. Stadtmiller must have had powerful persuasive skills: during the years when he was Greens Chair, the club had more than 1,200 Social members who did not have golf privileges but did have voting rights. Mr. Stadtmiller was able to convince the membership, including the non-golfers, that the expense of the golf course improvements and the additional nine holes was in the best interest of the club. The boulder is in honor of his efforts, a very deserved honor.
1973: An architect was retained for the club’s Master Plan. The club purchased a Polaroid camera. Tennis membership was booming and the Board voted to reduce the membership by 25%. A motion that all members at Board and committee meetings pay for all beverages consumed at the meetings was voted down (the following year, the Board adopted a no dinner and no drinks rule, though, “for general effectiveness”). Membership steadily declined and was down to 1,210 members at year-end. 1974: Two new tennis courts were recommended and approved for the 1975 season. The club sustained substantial vandalism and uniformed security guards were again hired for nights. A request for a police band walkie-talkie was denied. A motion that security officers be permitted to carry guns was initially tabled but then approved. Bids were solicited for fencing along Burnham Road to help with the vandalism. New rules were adopted governing children’s golf play. Proficiency of the children was displayed by colored towels: a blue towel indicated the child could play 18 holes, a white towel meant the child could play 9 holes and break 60 consistently, and a red towel indicated that an adult must always play with the child. Golf remained very popular: 832 members had some form of golf privileges, including 108 children and 204 women.
1975: Economic conditions worsened at the club. In January, the Finance Committee reported that “the operating figures give little to cheer about.” In March, all departments were required to cut expenses by ten percent. A proposal was made by which Ten Allyn Street (the subsidiary of the club which owned and operated the building in downtown Hartford prior to the building being taken by eminent domain) would buy substantially all of the club property and then lease it back to the club which would have infused the club with a substantial amount of cash. The proposal was defeated as being too rushed. Guy Porter resigned as head golf professional and was succeeded by Don Malen. The Board noted that Don was “highly recommended, had served as Caddy Master and assisted Mrs. Nettelbladt in running the Pro Shop after Harry’s death.” The Board debated a matter raised by the House Committee: “whether leisure suits were acceptable in the dining room” as appropriate dress (no vote was taken). 1976: The sale/leaseback proposal from Ten Allyn Street was resurrected and was the key issue in 1976. Ten Allyn Street had received the proceeds from the sale of the downtown building and was facing a substantial tax burden if it did not reinvest the proceeds by October of 1976. In June, the Board approved the sale of the clubhouse and five acres around the clubhouse to Ten Allyn Street for $458,000 with a 15-year FAMOUS WOMEN GOLFERS AT THE GOLF CLUB OF AVON leaseback of the property by Ten Allyn Marie Rowland Malone: Avon Club Champion in 1957, Street to the club. Ten Allyn Street 1960, and 1961. Six time Avon Senior Champion. Connecticut also agreed to invest over $500,000 in State Women’s Champion. clubhouse renovations. The proposal was brought to the membership and Gail Appell: Six Time Avon Club Champion. Connecticut narrowly passed, 122-119. State Open Champion. State Women’s Amateur Champion. Winner of Tournament of Champions.
Finnie McCombe: Two time Avon Club Champion and Connecticut Women’s Golf Association Senior Champion in 1961. More remarkably, at the age of 77, won the Ould Newbury (Massachusetts) Women’s Club Championship in 1987. Donna Harris: Avon Club Champion in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. CWGA Champion in 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Winner of the Tournament of Champions in 2003 and 2005. CWGA Senior Amateur Champion in 2006, 2008, and 2009. State Amateur Senior Champion in 2007 and 2008. SNEWGA Champion in 1994. CSGA Mixed Team Champion in 1999 (Brother Ron Kleinman, partner). Participated in the 1999 USGA State Team Championship at Williamsburg, Virginia.
The Board also voted to terminate the club’s pension plan, with distributions rolled into individual retirement accounts. The Board also approved the use of the golf course for crosscountry skiing throughout the winter by members and friends. 1977: This was an uneventful year, though construction began on club improvements, including changes to the kitchen, men’s locker room, the Grill, and the tennis facility. The club made a gift of a tree to The Country Club of Farmington on its eightieth anniversary. A motion was passed by the Board to permit children of members to fish in the pond next to the maintenance building.
1978: Membership was slightly on the increase, up to approximately 1,240 members. Board minutes became scant and it is difficult to determine what occurred in the Board meetings. The clubhouse renovations were completed and a Grand Opening was held in October. The Board unanimously approved the purchase and construction of two paddle courts at a cost of $35,000 with the expectation that the sport would be self-sustaining. A new pool complex- new bathhouse and snack bar, and other renovations, but not a new pool- was approved (and completed in 1979). 1979: Early in the year, the club purchased a “piano-cord” and related cassettes for $3,100. As the Avon area continued to grow, the Board noted “an evident decline in patronage of the restaurant.” Proposals were made for a new irrigation system for the golf course and a new pro shop. A special meeting of the members was held in October and by a vote of 131-44, the members approved spending $500,000 toward the purchase of an irrigation system and construction of the pro shop. 1980-1989 1980: Membership remained fairly steady with 1,216 members (the golf wait list was at 63). The new pro shop opened in June. The new irrigation system had numerous delays but was ready for testing in August. Vandalism remained an issue: “because of children running with horses, two greens were damaged.” The parents paid for the damages. A new green was completed on Three Red. 1981: The Board discussed generating “energy with the use of a windmill” with the thought that the electric carts would be powered by the windmill. An anemometer was installed to record wind velocities and the matter was referred to committee for further study. Due to defoliation from gypsy moths, there was a special assessment of the members to cover the cost of treating the trees. In another unexpected expenditure, the club’s tenant at 150 Country Club Road left the house in “deplorable condition” and the club spent over $10,000 repairing the damage. Membership declined to 1,115 members at year-end (down 100 members from the prior year), a trend that would continue for several years. On the course, the Board approved the use of one nine on weekend mornings for walkers and pull carts. The other two nines were for golfers using caddies and electric carts. This action was very controversial and, by mid July, the policy had been changed and pull carts were no longer permitted before 11:00 a.m. A program to clean out and add sand to the club’s bunkers was approved. The new green on Three Red experienced substantial problems. 1982: The Board approved a new logo (the now familiar pond and geese logo) to further identify the club. The club also installed its first computer system. For golfer safety reasons, Country Club Road was striped (this was handled by the Avon police). Greens on One Red and Six Red were rebuilt. Fifty percent of the hole-in-one fund was dedicated to the planting of new trees. It was a very expensive time to borrow money: the club’s long term debt of $800,000 was financed in equal parts at interest rates of 15% and 12.5%. The Board solicited member interest in member bonds being issued to pay off some or all of the club debt (the members would lend the funds to the club and take back a bond). Membership was down to 1,070 members. Despite the economic challenges, the House Committee reported that a spring brunch was sold out and that the brunch included Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” as performed by the Alpha Omega Players. 23
1983: Although 393 members responded to the Board’s communication with respect to member bonds, the club instead renegotiated its loans (the 15% portion was reduced to 13%). The Board decided that the club would move to an “all charge” system with cash sales permitted only in the Men’s Grill. The club entered into discussions concerning the possible purchase of land behind the practice fairway, but no purchase was finalized. A local developer wanted water runoff from its new development to flow into Lily Pond. The Board, concerned with contamination and pollutants, rejected the proposal. A special members meeting was called to (1) make the Club President exempt from paying dues and assessments and (2) delegate some Board responsibilities to committees. Both were rejected by the members. Membership dropped to 1,027 members. Following a Board meeting at which the Board denied five applications for membership, four members requested that the Board pass a resolution that neither race nor religion nor creed shall be considered in determining the eligibility of any application for membership to the club. The denied applications were from Jewish applicants. Though the club at the time had Jewish members, the denials generated substantial, negative criticism from other club members and from the local media. The Board quickly reversed its actions, approved the applications, and passed the resolution described above. THE HOLE- IN -ONE CHAMP Though every year at Avon produces a number of holes-inone and though some members have been fortunate to record more than one ace in a career, in 1980, Bill Russell, an Avon member, beat extraordinary odds: he recorded three holes-in-one in seven weeks. Bill recorded his first ace on May 2 on Two White which played to 166 yards. He was playing with John Mastrandrea, Armond Rosati, and Doug Page. His next hole-in-one occurred on June 20 and was also on Two White. Bill was playing with his wife, Olive, and son, Craig, and they had decided to play that day to help pass the time as they awaited the imminent arrival of Olive’s and Bill’s first grandchild. Craig, a six handicapper from Winged Foot, gave Bill a dozen golf balls early in the year, three of which were used in these aces. The third hole-in-one was on Four Red and took place on June 28. Ironically the three players mentioned above who witnessed the first hole-in-one were standing in the back of the Four Red green when ace number three was recorded. There was no “hole-in-one insurance” then and Bill was quoted in The Hartford Courant as saying “It’s really hard to believe this has happened… It’s cost me a bundle, but it’s been quite a thrill.”
1984: This was a quiet year. The Blue Nine was reopened after the complete renovation of the fairways and installation of cart paths. After months of debate, air conditioning was installed in the men’s locker room. The Board minutes reported that “dress will be optional at the President’s Ball…as a means of improving sagging attendance” (the minutes are silent with respect to the number of members who chose not to dress). Problems with the green on Three Red continued during the golf season. Avon member Mark Hollfelder won the New England Amateur championship and the club hosted a big reception for him.
1985: A severe water shortage existed in 1985. The water level at Lily Pond dropped to very low levels (water at lower depths existed but was difficult to reach). A plan was approved by which a contractor would be hired to remove 65,000 yards of peat to a depth of eight feet and the contractor would contour and landscape Lily Pond to prevent flooding of the Five Red and Seven Red fairways. Town approvals were obtained, but negotiations with the contractor were prolonged and no work began by year’s end. A new green on Three Red opened. In March, at a sold out filet mignon brunch, members viewed “California Suite” by Neil Simon and performed by the Repertory Theater of America. Tennis membership exceeded the 200 mark, but overall membership dipped below 1,000, a level not seen since 1946. 1986: The Board remained concerned with the rapidly dropping Occasionally members, particularly those who have been number of social members. A new members for a considerable period of time, will refer to Four White tennis deck and deck furniture as the “church hole.” In light of the fact that there is no church were purchased. Heublein Inc. had on this hole or easily visible from this hole, some members have developed a Sport-Tech machine wondered about the origin of this designation. that analyzed the golf swing and had agreed to lend it to the club In 1966, the Board of Governors formed a subcommittee on an upcoming Saturday. The to consider the purchase of land on Country Club Road directly Board discussed the possibility of a behind what is the Four White green at the time of this article. For new holding pond on Eight White. many years, the West Avon Congregational Church was located on The “Great Switch” was held in this parcel of land. In 1969, however, the church was literally moved from that location to its current location farther west on Country which the General Manager and Club Road. Therefore until that move, the term “church hole” had Chef switched roles for the night an obvious meaning: the church was clearly visible from the tee box (no comments on food quality and, when church services were over, many churchgoers lingered in appeared in the minutes). The the parking lot adjacent to the green. The club eventually decided Long Range Planning Committee not to purchase the property. listed a new maintenance building and renovation of the main kitchen as its top priorities. There was a discussion of the need for better planning for capital projects. Up to this time, most capital projects were funded by assessments on members. WHAT IS THE CHURCH HOLE?
Negotiations dragged on with the contractor for the dredging of Lily Pond. The contractor changed the terms of the proposal by eliminating the requirement that it recontour Lily Pond and by demanding $50,000. The club decided to drill a new well on Seven Red to address water concerns and, though the well produced 350 gallons per minute, the water supply was still deemed to be inadequate. 1987: The “old cart barn” collapsed causing an estimated $70,000 of damage to course equipment. There was a break-in at the cart maintenance facility and $20,000 of damage was done to carts which, in some cases, were driven into the pond. The planning and approval process began for a new maintenance building and up to $400,000 was initially authorized for the project. New aluminum paddle tennis decks were approved at a cost of $44,000 all of which was borne by the fifty paddle tennis members. The greens on Three Red and Four Red were in poor shape and closed at least until May. The USGA visited the course and stated that, unless trees were taken down to improve airflow around the greens, several greens would need to be replaced. Protective netting was installed on the driving range. The Board authorized a contract to develop a master plan for the club and retained 25
Brian Silva to begin a long-range plan for the golf course (Mr. Silva later was succeeded by Mark Mungeam who became the site architect). It was very difficult to hire sufficient staff, especially for the restaurant, and the Board authorized $35,000 in bonuses for service employees. 1988: A special meeting of the members was held to consider the construction and financing of a new maintenance building at a cost of $750,000. The members overwhelmingly approved the project and a ten-year assessment to pay for the building. Four Red green remained in poor shape and was closed until June 8. The addition of a 4,000 square foot deck to the clubhouse was completed by summer. NOTABLE AMATEUR VICTORIES In the 1930’s, Harold H. (“Holly”) Mandley, Jr. won two New England Amateur Championships. The first, in 1935, came at the Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts and was followed in 1939 with a victory at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island. This tournament was dominated by Mr. Mandley, Ted Bishop, and John O. Levinson for a ten year period until the years 1942-1945 when the tournament was cancelled during World War II. There were two outstanding performances by the Golf Club of Avon members in the early 1980’s in amateur competition. In July of 1981, Clint McDermott and John Aylsworth of Avon won the fortyfifth Anderson Memorial Golf Championship at the Winged Foot Golf Club. The Anderson is considered one of the premier amateur invitationals in the country, drawing two-man teams (from the same club) from as many as 25 states as well as several foreign entries. This prestigious tournament was established in 1933 in memory of John G. Anderson, a founding member of Winged Foot who won the club championship five times between 1925 and 1931, and was runner-up in the 1913 and 1915 U.S. Amateurs. Clint and John, in their first appearance at the tournament, defeated John Birmingham and Frank Fuhrer of Oakmont in the finals, one up, on the thirtysixth hole. At the post-victory celebration at Avon, a congratulatory message from Winged Foot was read to those attending the party. A few years later, in July of 1984, Mark Hollfelder of the Golf Club of Avon won the New England Amateur Golf Championship, defeating former British Amateur Champ Dick Siderof on the second hole of a sudden death playoff. Mark was just twenty years old at the time and a junior at Rollins College in Florida, while Mr. Siderof was an experienced and well-known amateur throughout the country. The tournament was held at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Connecticut.
As a result of many unanticipated capital expenditures, the club was facing a deficit of $250,000 by the end of its fiscal year (then September 30). The Board proposed raising dues in all categories by approximately 25% and assessing members an amount ranging from $50-500 depending upon membership category. A special meeting of members was called after the members petitioned for such a meeting and by a vote of 182 to 66, the proposed increases were rescinded. The Finance Committee and Board discussed alternatives and another members’ meeting was held in December. At that meeting, by a vote of 88 to 67, an option was given to full golf members who were 65 years or older and a member for at least 30 years to freeze their dues at $100 per month in exchange for giving up the right to vote. The reasoning behind this option was that as these members gave up their vote, new golfers could be added from the golf wait list and the initiation fees and dues from these newly-transferred members would be applied toward the budget deficit (the other option presented at the meting was a 22% increase in dues).
1989: Following the members’ meeting in December of 1988, thirty-six eligible members elected to give up their voting rights in exchange for the freeze on dues. Paddle tennis membership dropped to 38 members. The Board received a thank you note for a donation made in memory of a local victim of Pan Am flight 103 in Scotland. The Board voted to allow members to carry bags on weekend mornings. The Board accepted the recommendation of the Finance and House Committees that a food minimum be initiated, effective June 1, 1989: $60 per month from April through November, and $30 per month from December through March. The Board also reported that the chef “was replaced because of his volatility and because he walked out on a Friday evening when we had 145 reservations.” Membership continued to decline with total membership down to 833 at year-end. 1990-1999 GOLF CLUB OF AVON MEMBERS IN THE CONNECTICUT GOLF HALL OF FAME
1990: This was another year of financial difficulty. By April, the Three golfers from the club have distinguished themselves by decrease in the number of members being inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame. was of great concern to the Board. Overall membership was already Harold “Holly” Mandley, Jr.: Inducted in 1960 (Distinguished down 129 additional members; Golf Achievement). Connecticut State Amateur champion 1940, 1947, each of pool and tennis was 1949; Connecticut Open champion 1940; New England Amateur down 45 members from budgeted champion 1935, 1939; State Team captain 1952-57. numbers. A membership drive was approved and implemented Harry Nettelbladt: Inducted in 1973 (Distinguished Golf with some success (28 new golf Achievement). Head golf professional at the Golf Club of Avon from 1942-1969. Connecticut Open champion in 1950 and 1951. members, 24 new pool members, Connecticut PGA Champion in 1948 and 1954. Connecticut PGA and 13 new tennis members), Professional of the Year in 1963. President of the Connecticut Section, but overall membership dropped PGA, 1959. Champion of the Manchester Open, New Hampshire to 778 at the end of the year and Open, and Massachusetts Open. Nine-time qualifier for the National there was no longer a golf wait PGA Championship and five time qualifier for the U.S. Open. list. At the same time, the Long Range Planning Committee was Anthony Patricelli: Inducted in 1998 (Distinguished Service). recommending a $6,000,000 The first Executive Director of the Connecticut Section PGA. Driving capital improvement plan to be force behind the establishment of a college business curriculum completed in ten years. On tailored to golf professionals. Authored many related publications. the golf course, water problems Started junior clinics at the Greater Hartford Open and encouraged club pros to donate used equipment to underprivileged children. plagued Two Red and Two Blue, and the green on Six Blue was closed because of its poor condition (the cost of replacing the green was $60,000, but there were no funds so the superintendent was told to do the best he could). The early drafts of the budget called for a dues increase of 30% (the eventual increase was still a hefty 19%). 1991: Another membership drive was instituted with the golf initiation fee cut dramatically to $3,500, payable in 3 annual installments (in 1990, the golf initiation fee had been cut from the 1989 level of $9,500 to $6,750). The results were excellent: by the year-end, over 123 new members were admitted and almost 60 additional members were posted. The golf wait list went from zero to 106.
The GHIN computerized handicapping system was implemented at the club. Swans were placed in Lily Pond in an effort to keep the geese away. New bunkers were built on Six Red, Six White and Nine White, and the Six White fairway was rebuilt. CADDYING AT THE CLUB For nearly as long as there have been golfers, there have been men and women walking alongside them, carrying their clubs and offering advice on the golf course and shot selection. At the Avon Country Club and the Golf Club of Avon, beginning when the course opened in 1925, caddies were an integral part of the club for much of its existence. Young people from Avon and Unionville would show up at the course at the crack of dawn to put their names first on the caddy list. Often the older, more experienced caddies would arrive and move the younger boys’ names to the bottom of the list. No one complained. The “caddy shack” was located in the general area of what at the time of this writing is the short game practice area. Often as many as thirty caddies congregated at the shack, hoping to be hired for a round. The older caddies played “Acey Deucey” while the younger group was running errands during their rite of passage and initiation period. Novice caddies were given Class B badges and hoped to advance to become a Class A caddie. Whenever a loop got close to Six Red, Eight Red, or One White, all caddies hoped to be treated to a Coke or, better yet, a hot dog. There was great camaraderie among the caddies. Nicknames were inevitable: Bee Wee, Q-ball, Smiley, O. J. (Odd Job), Tom-Bo, Keybat, Ushy, and Ozzie. Many young men got their baptism in golf as caddies at the club and went on to become writers, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and successful leaders of the community. Many former caddies have become members of the club and at least fifteen club championships have been won by former caddies. At the end of each golf season, the members and the caddies held a Member-Caddy Tournament followed by a wonderful dinner at the club. At the dinner, some caddies were awarded scholarships and two were picked to represent the club in the state’s annual Caddie Championship golf tournament. During the early 1980’s, the caddy program was discontinued as electric and gas powered golf carts became the norm. The caddies of the Golf Club of Avon, who were colorful characters and storytellers, carried golf bags for decades, and had a tremendous love for the game of golf, were an important part of the club’s history.
Avon members David Hedberg and David Castellani complete a round in 1976 with the able assistance of their caddies, Steve Hedberg and Bill Shea. David Hedberg was Club Champion in 1977; Bill Shea was Club Champion in 1994, 1997, and 2003; and David Castellani was Club Champion in 1998, 2001 and 2004.
1992: Though the green on Three Red was declared to be “dead” in July, most of the news occurred off of the course. The cart minimum was imposed for the first time. The Mixed Grill became a non-smoking facility. After some very unflattering publicity with respect to an outing at the club during which some women guests from the Hartford Insurance Company were prohibited from using the “Men’s Grill,” the Board approved a policy by which all dining facilities would be open to all members and all guests. Though funds were still rather tight, the Board authorized $58,000 to build a new green for Three Red, to the left of the then existing green. Social events at the club remained popular: during the year, the club hosted 26 weddings, 7 banquets, and 84 other functions (in 1993, these numbers increased to 33 weddings, 31 banquets and 106 other functions). 1993: The Board approved a 2% increase in the club’s service charge “to fund wait staff incentive programs.” Don Malen was made an honorary member of the club and was honored for his selection as Connecticut Section PGA Professional of the Year. A special meeting of the members was held to amend the existing governance documents so that future bylaw amendments needed member approval (prior to this, power was concentrated in the Board which could amend the bylaws without a member vote). Declines in membership resumed after the increase from the 1991 membership drive, with a loss of 62 members. The club changed its official corporate name from The City Club of Hartford, Incorporated to Golf Club of Avon, Incorporated. 1994: Effective April 1, all facilities at Avon became smoke free. The paddle tennis members hosted an “Over 55” national tournament, despite the fact that there were just 21 paddle members. Slow play affected the course and “slow play” letters were sent to over thirty golfers. The Nation family was praised by the Board for “its fantastic cooperation in providing an easement in perpetuity” to maintain Six White. The Board authorized the development of a master plan for Avon’s facilities. 1995: The Board had a special meeting to review the financial considerations of the latest long-range plan which called for $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 in improvements. An informational meeting was held for the members in May and, in July, the Board established a sinking fund for future clubhouse renovations. Members were required to pay $35 per month into the fund beginning in August of 1995 with a goal of establishing cash reserves of $425,000 before renovations began in 1997. The club made its initial contribution to a new employee profit sharing plan. Drainage issues caused problems on One Red and Nine Red, and on One White and Nine White. Membership fell from 706 to 649. 1996: The club engaged in some serious long range planning: the McMahon Group was retained to conduct a membership survey; the Green and Finance Committees were authorized to pursue a new irrigation system not to exceed $1,500,000; and the Finance Committee was asked to recommend a financing plan for the first phase of improvements to the club not to exceed $850,000. In April, the members agreed to fund the irrigation system by implementing a long-term monthly assessment. In response to the problem with geese at Lily Pond, the Board approved the construction of a foot high fence around Lily Pond to be completed in November (the fence was never built). The Board also passed a resolution requiring the use of soft spikes on the course, effective at the start of the 1997 golf season. Amid substantial member dissatisfaction, the food minimum format was changed to a trimester system. In a sign of things to come, the club switched from its current managed care system for health insurance to an HMO to avoid a projected 21% increase in premiums. Membership dipped below 600 for the first time. 29
1997: This was a quiet year according to the records. Another membership drive was held. A new tee on Nine Blue opened. In June, at a special members’ meeting, by a vote of 122 to 56, the members approved the club borrowing $1,800,000 for Phase One improvements, to be financed by monthly assessments ($59.50 for golf members and $51.25 for social members). A new management structure was approved and the concept of family memberships was instituted: unless both spouses became primary members, each family had one vote. 1998: The clubhouse was closed at the start of the year for substantial clubhouse renovations pursuant to Phase One. A tent was set up for food service but liquor service had not been approved by the state. No water was available in the locker rooms until June. The renovations went well, though, and a certificate of occupancy was granted in September. A “Gala Grand Opening” was held in the fall and was attended by over 400 members. Despite the construction, the club was a very active place: the Pool Committee offered a scuba diving program; junior golf hit a high of 99 participants; tennis membership rebounded to 131 members; and the first kids’ camp was held in the summer. 1999: There was a great deal of activity in 1999. Though the Board denied a request that a Nike tournament be held at the club due to concerns over damage to the course, an AJGA national tournament was held in August with thirty-one foursomes. One hundred fifty yard markers were installed on the golf course. Hundreds of infested hemlocks were removed from the Blue Nine. Off the course, the club had email for the first time. New Years Eve was a huge success, overbooked by 60 members. A request was made to purchase a third paddle tennis court. The Technology Committee was formed and immediately began work on the club’s website. A membership survey showed strong satisfaction with Phase One and planning began for Phase Two. The Finance Committee and Board determined that the club’s capital assessment AVON RECORD SCORES* was much too small to support normal replacement Low Round: 63, John Paesani and Frank of the club’s facilities and began a series of increases Bensel, in the 2001Connecticut Open. in that assessment with a goal of eventually funding depreciation. Low Score, men, member: 65, J.C. Brunoli (1981), Terry Ryan (2002), Dick Stefanski (2009). Low Score, women, member: 69, Donna Harris (2006).
The first women were elected to serve on the Board of Governors: Patti Cheyne and Kathy Mylod. 2000-2009
2000: The Board approved the purchase of a third paddle tennis court. The Phase Two Committee picked an architect for substantial renovations (ballroom, men’s locker room, women’s locker room, pavement of parking lot, connection to the town sewer system, and second floor restrooms). An estimate of $2,100,000 prompted a petition by the members for a special meeting to rescind the Board’s decision on Phase Two. No action was taken *existing records go back 36 years
at the meeting but, after the meeting, the Board proposed a redeemable certificate for members to finance Phase Two. The Phase Two project and the financing were approved at a subsequent members’ meeting by a vote of 143 to 71. The Finance Committee recommended, and the Board approved, a change in fiscal policy to allocate a portion of new initiation fees to long-range capital needs (rather than all of the fees going into the operating budget). All tournaments other than the club championships were opened to both genders provided that all members tee off from the same tees. The Board received its first complaint of cell phone use on the golf course; the matter was sent to the Green Committee for review. 2001: Construction began on Phase Two and new lights for the parking lot were added to the project. The Connecticut Open was held at Avon. Four Blue was substantially renovated (new traps, sod, green). Trees were removed on Four Blue, Six Blue and Four Red to increase sunlight and air circulation. The club purchased two automatic defibrillators. The cap on golf members was raised from 350 to 375. The club made a donation of $250 to the Amy Toyen Memorial Fund, in memory of a local resident who was a victim of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Membership levels continued to deteriorate, decreasing to 527 members at year-end. 2002: Phase Two construction was substantially completed by May. There was good and bad news on the golf course. On the positive side, the sand traps on Eight Blue were redone, construction of the new practice green began, and plans for a new short game practice area advanced. On the other hand, the Green Committee looked at Four Red green as a candidate to be rebuilt, delayed the opening of Four Blue green until Memorial Day, and was greatly concerned about the future of the “5 problem greens”. An outside consultant was retained to review options for the greens in question. The pool also had a difficult year: the Pool Committee reported that the wading pool was leaking badly, the deck was disintegrating, the snack bar was outdated, and the bathhouses were in much need of renovation. There was an assessment of $450 for full members and $275 for social members. Membership levels dipped below 500 for the first time, ending the year at 498 members. 2003: The Annual Meeting was moved from fall to spring to coincide with the completion of the club’s audited financial statements. A successful membership drive was conducted, resulting in 47 new members including 36 new golf members. A pool heater was purchased. Meetings were held to consider going to “bundled memberships” in which all members would become members of the field sports. No action was taken. Effective May 1, initiation fees were raised to $13,500. The issue of pull carts on weekend mornings was raised and referred to the Green Committee. The Board authorized lights for the tennis courts at a cost of $28,000. The condition of the greens remained an issue and the Green Committee considered a member meeting for the upcoming spring to consider all options including replacing the greens. A new category of senior membership was approved for members who have reached at least 70 years of age and 30 years of continuous membership. 2004: The Connecticut Superior Court issued a summary judgment in favor of the club in a sex discrimination claim brought by a member of the club four years earlier. One claim remained after the summary judgment: the handling of the 1991 tournament schedule with gender specific tournaments. The latter claim was dismissed soon after the summary judgment was issued. An appeal was filed by the member, but later withdrawn. The Tournament Committee agreed to examine the policy on the appropriate tees for weekend and special tournaments for primary members (in 2005, the committee 31
agreed that female primary golfers would play from the forward tees in weekend medal play events and all contestants would play from the middle tees in weekend match play events). Sprinkler pipes burst in the ballroom and other areas of the club causing significant damage. The Board approved a policy that anyone with 50 or more years of membership was relieved of any obligation to pay dues. Ice, a border collie, arrived to deal with the geese on the course. There was a spirited discussion of the proposed revised handicapping of the golf course; at the end of the discussion, one change was made (Five Red and Eight Red were switched). Membership was down to 479 members.
WHY “JONESEY’S”? Jonesey’s, the snack bar overlooking Lily Pond, was named after Kenneth Frederick “Broadway” Jones who operated the snack bar from 1972 through 1990. Born in Dover, New Jersey in 1903, Jonesey had a seven-year baseball career in the minor leagues, playing for Memphis, Birmingham, Pittsfield, Providence, Newark, Norfolk and Redding, and played portions of two seasons in the major leagues in 1924 with the Detroit Tigers and 1930 with the Boston Braves. Jonesey quickly endeared himself to the Avon membership and was a fixture at the snack bar. A member might talk more baseball than golf when stopping for refreshments, and certainly would be treated with Jonesey’s often dogmatic and irascible commentary on the state of the world. Mr. Jones passed away on May 15, 1991.
2005: The club had a very solid year from a financial perspective and membership increased to 509 by the end of the year. At the annual meeting, members approved a bylaw change that would permit partners in a civil union or committed relationship to be considered a family for membership purposes. The club denied a request to film the television show “Wife Swap” at the club. There was a lengthy discussion by the Finance Committee, House Committee and the Board on the finance charge/tipping policy. No consensus emerged after a healthy debate.
2006: The Green Committee had further discussions on weekend use of pull carts but decided not to change the policy which prohibited their use. The Strategic Plan Committee finalized recommendations to the Board, including a new pool complex, improvements to the golf course, improvements to the clubhouse, a new irrigation system for the tennis courts, and new substructures for two paddle tennis courts. Concerned with massive leaks at the pool, the Board quickly authorized $30,000 for an architect for a new pool complex and a Pool Building Committee was formed. The Board approved $2,900,000 for the implementation of the strategic plan, but only upon the condition that at least 70% of the members voting at a special members’ meeting concurred with the Board’s decision (such membership approval was obtained). The club held its first drive-in movie night with golf carts “driving in” to the practice range for the movie, The Shaggy Dog. 2007: Unusually warm weather occurred in January, and 133 golfers played on January 6 (play continued through January 12). The strategic plan moved forward quickly. Requests for proposal for the pool 32
complex were solicited early in the year and construction began in the fall. The tennis irrigation system was replaced. Improvements to the Blue Nine were finalized with substantial changes to Three, Four, and Nine Blue; a new tee on One Blue; and a new area and stonewall between One Blue and Nine Blue. After much discussion, the Tournament Committee changed the eligibility requirements for the very popular Three Day Member Guest, capping the exempt members at the current sixty who were exempt and filling other openings by lottery rather than date the application form was received. 2008: The House Committee reviewed proposals and hired a designer for the renovation of the Pub (this was later tabled until at least 2010). The golf cap was raised from 375 to a number not to exceed 400 as determined by the Board. In August, there were 380 golf members who counted toward the cap, a number that may have been the highest in club history. The renovated Blue Nine reopened to much praise from the membership. Four Blue green, however, continued to cause concern and a subair system was installed under the green. The club announced a transition plan for the pro shop under which Don Malen agreed to remain as Head Golf Professional through 2009 and to become Director of Golf Operations beginning in 2010. Ryan Hall was named to succeed Don in 2010. In approving the transition, the Board recognized “Don’s long history and outstanding contributions to the club.” The new pool complex opened on Memorial Day weekend and was an immediate success. The Husband-Wife Championship was named in memory of Greg and Debra Morawski, members who died in a tragic plane accident. Plans for the renovation of the White Nine were prepared. 2009: Renovations to the White Nine were completed and opened for play. A subcommittee was formed to examine improvements to the Red Nine. The Green Committee approved the use of pull carts on weekends beginning in June. The club’s new website was launched. After golf membership peaked in August of 2008, the national economic recession began to hit the club and a deficit was forecast despite continual attempts to cut costs and revise the budget. Membership decreased by a net of 23 members. In response to the changing environment, the Board approved a substantial reorganization of the club’s management structure, including the creation of a new position of Membership Director.
A present day view from the clubhouse looking to the first tee of the White Nine.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE GOLF COURSE
ORIGINAL NINE HOLE COURSE, 1925-1929. In 1925, Avon Country Club was first opened for play. The original nine hole course was designed by A. Douglas Dodge, a golf course architect and a founding member of Avon Country Club. The original course was a par thirty-six. The Original first tee was located near what in 2010 we refer to as the One White tee. The first hole was a 360 yard par four and the green was roughly in the same location as the current One Red green. The Original first hole was challenging: one had to hit over a stonewall, low juniper bushes, briars and sweet fern. The Original second tee was located about 34
thirty yards from the Original first green, and was a 490 yard par 5 played toward a green to the right of the current Three Red green. Trees lined the right side of the fairways of both Original holes 1 and 2, and both holes usually played into the wind. The Original holes 3, 4, and 5 are roughly the same as our current Four Red, Five Red, and Six Red, respectively, though Original hole 4 was a par four until the 1930â€™s when it was made into a par five pursuant to improvements suggested by famous golf course architect A. W. Tillinghast. Original hole 6 was much the same as current Nine Red. Original hole 7 was in the same location as current One White. The original hole 8 has no current match. The tee for Original hole 8, a 215 yard par 3, was between the current One White green and Two White tee and the shot was directed toward a green near Country Club Road (in what is now the fairway for Four White). Original hole 9 was a par 5 and roughly the same as current Nine White. EXPANSION TO 18 HOLES IN 1929. After purchasing about forty acres south of Country Club Road (then known as Mountain Road), and a parcel of land which in 2010 is played as Two White, Seven Red, and Eight Red, it was possible to convert the nine hole course to a beautiful eighteen hole course. Robert Jack Ross was retained to design the eighteen hole layout. Decades later much of his work was erroneously credited to Donald Ross, an understandable if unfortunate consequence of any architect bearing the same surname as a legend. The fact that some of Robert Jack Rossâ€™s designs were considered to be those of Donald Ross spoke well for the architectural abilities of the former. Though changes were made to some holes, this layout remained largely the same for more than thirty years. Many of the original nine holes were preserved intact. Though the first hole was move slightly to the right and lengthened, holes 2 through 7 remained much the same. Holes 8 and 9 were new holes, and exist today as Seven Red and Eight Red, respectively. One result of the expansion, however, was that golfers finishing nine holes were at a substantial distance from the clubhouse. The back nine in 1929 began with a par 3, tenth hole, that is largely where Two White stands in 2010. Holes 11, 12, and 13 in 1929 largely correspond to Three, Four and Five White in 2010. Hole 14 was a 138-yard par 3; this hole is still visible in 2010 and is occasionally used by the club as a hole to be played while repairs are made to other holes. Holes 15 through 18 substantially track holes Six through Nine White in 2010, though the tee box for hole 18 in 1929 was farther from the green and the hole played as a 460 yard par 5.
THE FIRST EIGHTEEN HOLE COURSE. TILLINGHAST IMPROVEMENTS, 1937 In the autumn of 1937, the noted architect A. W. Tillinghast designed improvements to many holes at Avon. Please see the separate article on Mr. Tillinghast on page 2. CHANGES IN 1960 In the years around 1960, the emerging popularity of golf on television, led by the magnetism of Arnold Palmer, led to a large increase in the number of rounds played at Avon. The enrollment in the Avon Womenâ€™s Golf Association alone had swelled to 130 players with every indication that golf would become more popular. With the increased interest in golf, renewed attention was directed at the golf course. Since the addition of nine new holes in 1929, the eighteen hole course had just one starting hole (the ninth hole ended at what in 2010 is the Eight Red green). Given the increase in play, there was a desire to have the front nine end, and the back nine begin, near the clubhouse.
In 1962, the Board approved the construction of two new holes: new Two Red was constructed (much as it exists in 2010) and the former par 4 Two Red was extended and made a par 5, dogleg right and became the third hole on the Red nine. These new holes opened in 1963. With an additional hole on the front nine, the club was able to change what was the sixth hole to Nine Red and thereby have the front nine end at the clubhouse. During this period, greens on One Red, Five Red, One White, and Nine White were rebuilt and moved slightly. Also at this time Nine White was shortened by forty yards, had a new tee box constructed (prior to the time, it shared a tee box with the thirteenth hole), and was changed to a par 4, making it a very strong finishing hole. The short par 3 fourteenth hole was eliminated. One of the goals of these renovations (and renovations that continue to the time this is published) is to restore the course to its original design which may be traced to early links courses in Scotland. The golf course architects who designed and supervised these changes in the 1960’s were Geoffrey S. Cornish and William G. Robinson who designed more golf courses in the New England area than any other architects. Both would be intricately involved in the design of the “new nine.”
1966: THE NEW NINE In the spring of 1966, the club became aware of the possibility that 115 acres of lands east of Burnham Road and south of Country Club Road might be offered for sale. A committee was formed to explore the purchase of this land with a goal of expanding the course to 27 holes. In December of 1966, a special meeting of the members was held to discus the new nine. At the meeting, members were asked to approve an expenditure of $209,160 for construction and financing of the new nine. In light of the rather crowded condition of the existing 18 hole course, the proposal was to add nine holes but not expand the number of golfers permitted to play the course. The proposed architect was Geoffrey S. Cornish who had recently worked on the course. The original proposal would have each golf member pay $450 over 12 months or $325 up front to finance the additional holes. The special meeting of the members was considered to be so critical that a stenographer was hired to record the proceedings. As a result, the club has a very detailed account of the meeting and issues raised by the members. The first issue raised by some members was the length of the new nine: Mr. Cornish proposed 3,600 yards while some members felt that 3,200 yards was adequate. Mr. Cornish replied that: “ We always look to the future generations, and I know here at Avon there must be young men coming along, young and rugged golfers…I’ve measured their drives… and (they are) actually driving 285 yards.” Another member complained: “Why should it cost $150,000 for another nine holes? I think it is cockeyed!” Other members of the opposition spoke more eloquently, suggesting that the club reduce the number of golfers by attrition and keep the course at 18 holes: “ Do we want a comfortable, quiet 37
layout on the order of Farmington…or the old Avon course, or an ever expanding, commercialized operation… complete with the fancy embellishments of a big time recreation center?” The cost concerned many members and one member had a practical solution: “ I have a way of getting out of this…just buy two drinks less and you’ll be able to pay the assessment.” The stenographer noted that this comment was met with much applause. The dialogue between opposing members and Mr. Cornish became spirited at times. One member asked Mr. Cornish if he was sure that the proposed costs were accurate. Mr. Cornish replied “I know we can’t be wrong.” The member persisted, asking if soil tests had been done or if ledge might be present. Mr. Cornish, without really answering the question, assured the member that he had “a couple of degrees in agronomy.” The proposal was brought to a vote and, by a margin of 128 to 52, the proposal to finance and build the additional nine holes was approved.
A view of the stonework and distinctive “lighthouse” structure at the entrance to the Blue Nine which was constructed in 2007-2008.
THE CURRENT TWENTY-SEVEN HOLE COURSE. 1980-2009 During the period from 1980 through 2000, all course improvements were under the direction of course designer Brian Silva, who started a long range program for the golf course, and his assistant, Mark Mungeam, who worked with Mr. Silva and later became the on-site architect. Both Mr. Silva and Mr. Mungeam were partners in Mr. Cornishâ€™s firm. Some notable examples of their work are the relocation of Three Red green to its current location (it was moved about fifty yards to the left), the reestablishment of Seven Red tee from below and to the right of the present snack bar to its current location and the design of Four Blue. At the turn of the century and after much discussion and research, the club retained a new golf course design firm of Stephen Kay and Doug Smith. Under their direction, a new and enlarged putting green was constructed, and the new pitch, chip, and sand play practice area (to the left and below the driving range) was completed. Mr. Smith was then retained to recommend possible design changes to all twenty-seven holes of the course, under which many areas were opened to restore the natural beauty and strategic playing of particular holes. The firm developed a comprehensive plan and the club has begun to implement some of the recommendations in 2007-2009 on the Blue and White courses. Tee boxes have been rebuilt on One Blue, Three Blue, Nine Blue, Two White, Four White, Six White, Seven White, Eight White and Nine White. In some instances, the changes were striking. 39
The original distance of Four White was 150 to 193 yards depending upon the location of the tee markers. After the reconstruction, this same hole may be played at any distance between 125 and 208 yards. Forward tee boxes have been reconstructed on additional holes. New bunkers (fairway and greenside) with improved technology for draining and maintenance were built on Two Blue, Three Blue, Four Blue, Nine Blue, and Three White. Stone pillars and stonewalls were built on both the first tees of the Blue and White courses which replicate the stonework at the entrance to the club.
A present day view of hole #1 White.
HEAD GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENTS 1925-1948: Ron Burnham was the first superintendent at Avon Country Club. Mr. Burnham devoted half of his lifetime to the course, transforming farmland and woodland into a beautiful eighteen hole golf course. Though we have few records of Mr. Burnham, he was a Connecticut Yankee with a green thumb whose accomplishments became the backbone of the early golf course. 1949-1950: After several meetings of the Greens Committee, the club engaged W. A. Livingston who had been the Head Superintendent at the Manchester Country Club. Mr. Livingston’s tenure was quite short; he resigned in February of 1950. The Greens Committee noted Mr. Livingston’s diligence during his brief stay at Avon. 1950-1951: At its 1950 meeting, the Board of Governors hired Donald MacKay Jr. at the new Superintendent. Mr. MacKay had attended and trained at Massachusetts State College, and had worked for several years with his father who was the long time “Greenskeeper” at the Hartford Golf Club. Mr. MacKay was given complete charge of course conditions and had the right to hire and fire his employees. Mr. MacKay was called into military service on February 8, 1951, and was replaced by his understudy, Joseph Bidwell. 1951-1978: Joe Bidwell also received his golf superintendent training at Massachusetts State College. During his tenure at Avon, Mr. Bidwell oversaw and helped develop the present routing of the Red and White courses, including the construction of the present Two Red and the redesigning of Three Red. Concurrently with these changes, One White became the first hole of Avon’s second nine (it had formerly been Seven Red). The Blue Nine was built during Mr. Bidwell’s stay as Superintendent at Avon which led him to delegate much of the day-to-day management and conditioning of the golf course to his top assistant, Bill LaMonica. Mr. Bidwell and Mr. LaMonica had an excellent working relationship and the golf 40
course received high praise for its condition during this period. The present feel of the three different eighteen hole courses at Avon owes a great deal to the forward thinking of the Green Committee and the abilities of Mr. Bidwell and Mr. LaMonica. After twenty-seven fine years at Avon, Mr. Bidwell retired to open a lawn and garden store in Weatogue, Connecticut. 1978-1981: Following Joe Bidwell’s resignation and after spending eight years overseeing the layout and development of Bel Compo Golf Club in Avon (later renamed The Blue Fox Run Golf Club), Bill LaMonica was welcomed back to Avon as its next Superintendent. Mr. LaMonica assumed full responsibility for the condition of the golf course and all other landscaping on the premises. No single person knew more than Mr. LaMonica about all facets of the club: he oversaw the golf course, clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, and the many other parts of Avon’s 250 acres. The club greatly benefited from the work of Mr. LaMonica until his retirement in 1981. 1981-1993: James Medeiros was selected from a large group of applicants to succeed Mr. LaMonica as Head Superintendent. Mr. Medeiros attended the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts. From there, he held positions as First Assistant at the Fenway Golf Club in White Plains, New York, and Head Golf Course Superintendent at the Harry B. Brownson Country Club in Huntington, Connecticut. During Mr. Medeiros’s tenure at Avon, he supervised the complete renovation of the fairways and installation of cart paths on the Blue Nine, each of which substantially improved the playability of that nine. At the end of the 1993 golf season, Mr. Mederios left Avon to become the Head Superintendent at the Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, Rhode Island. 1993-1998: In late 1993, the Green Committee undertook an intensive search for a high profile superintendent to raise the playing condition of the course and to supervise major projects that the Committee hoped to implement. After much research, Brandon R. Schick was selected as the club’s Head Superintendent. Mr. Schick had previously been part of the grounds crew at the Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Valley, New Jersey and First Assistant at the Marion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Mr. Schick left the club from 1999 to 2003 to join the team which constructed a new 6,800 yard course in Harwinton, Connecticut, Fairway Farms. Mr. Schick returned to Avon in 2004. 1999-2004: While Mr. Schick was developing Fairway Farms, Avon had two Superintendents. Drew Cummins, former First Assistant at the Round Hill Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, held this position from 1999 to 2002. From 2002 to 2004, Bill Kelch was Superintendent, having previously worked at several courses in Pennsylvania. 2004-2008: In 2004, Mr. Schick returned to Avon. During his second tenure, Mr. Schick worked with the club’s golf architects to improve the playing conditions on the Blue and White Nines. 2009-present: Jonathan Charpinsky became Head Superintendent at Avon in early 2009. Mr. Charpinsky earned an A. S. degree in Turfgrass Management and a B. S. degree in Golf Course Operations from the State University of New York at Delhi. Upon graduation, Mr. Charpinsky spent two seasons as Assistant Superintendent at the Card Sound Golf Club in Key Largo, Florida. In 2005, he became East Course Superintendent at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. After four seasons at Oak Hill and working at many major golf championships, Mr. Charpinsky was hired by Avon. 41
TENNIS (Thanks to John Drew for this account of the tennis program) The origin of the club’s current tennis program occurred during the summer of 1971 at the club’s swimming pool when a group of mothers attending their young children wistfully discussed the possibility of having tennis courts at the club. The ladies, including Barbara Drew, Margaret Hennessey, and Joan McCluskey, were tennis players. John Drew was enlisted to support the tennis project. A membership survey in November, 1971, revealed that at least 100 families would support a tennis membership. Putnam Tennis Courts was selected to build four tennis courts for $40,800. With Putnam’s quote, a budget was prepared that illustrated that with an initiation fee of $60, annual dues of $75, and a projected membership of 100 families in five years, the tennis members would be able to fund the construction of the tennis courts. John Drew presented this proposal to the Board of Governors in February of 1972. During the discussion, one of the Board members said that the club previously had tennis courts. When asked where the courts had been located, the Board member replied, “under the parking lot.” With the endorsement of then President Duane Hayes, the Board approved the tennis court program. The four courts opened in August of 1972 and the first full season was in 1973. Two additional courts were open for the 1975 season. Courts seven and eight were requested and approved by the Board at its meeting in August of 1978. The new courts were available for the 1979 season. John Drew served as Chairman of the first Tennis Committee and several of the original “pool ladies,” including Barbara Drew and Margaret Hennessey, served on the committee. Those ladies were the first women to serve in any official capacity at the club as previously only “members” were permitted to serve on committees and only men were eligible to be members. The first tennis pro shop was the small building that subsequently housed supplies for the tennis courts. The current tennis pro shop with surrounding deck was opened in 1978. Ron Allen was the first tennis professional. Ron served for two years and was followed by the flamboyant Terry Flemming. Following Terry were two Peters. First was Peter Jutras, who started in 1977. Peter was an excellent organizer and served for seventeen years. In 1994, Peter moved to the Longmeadow Country Club to serve as racquets professional. Peter Holmes then continued the tennis program at a high level for ten years. Christina Walters was hired in 1993 by Peter Jutras as an assistant pro and served under Peter Holmes. When Peter Holmes resigned in 2004, Christina became the head tennis professional and she continues as of the writing of this history to do an excellent job at that position. In 1973, with more than 100 families as tennis members, the Tennis Committee initiated a full tournament program with men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. The tournaments were very popular with many members participating. Consolation tournaments permitted first round losers to play at least a second match. The first club championships were held over Labor Day weekend in 1973. John Drew won the first men’s singles championship in three sets, by surviving an old fashioned nine point tiebreaker, 5 - 4, against Warren Priest. The next year Warren got his revenge by beating John in the finals, played indoors at Farmington Farms because of heavy rain. Warren was the dominant player at Avon for many years winning several singles championships and several doubles championships with John Drew.
A scenic view of the club’s tennis courts.
The first ladies’ singles champion was Nancy Hahn. After Nancy won several championships, the ladies’ singles championship was dominated by Dorothy Kosakowski (now MacKenzie) and Linda Beizer for many years starting in the late 1970’s. Linda won her most recent championship in 1995 and Dorothy in 1996. Donna Lisevick won six consecutive championships from 2003 through 2008. Unfortunately, the club does not have records identifying the first ladies’ doubles championship. Nancy and her husband, Bill, won the first mixed doubles championship and secured additional mixed titles. For many years the mixed doubles event was mostly husband and wife teams. However, over the past fifteen years, there has not been a husband and wife team that has won the mixed championship. The first men’s member guest tournament also was held in 1973. The concept was to bring the best players from the Hartford area to the club so that relatively inexperienced members could witness excellent tennis. This event proved to be very successful as many excellent players from the greater Hartford area participated. Eamon Clohessey and Carlo Graziano were guests who later became members. With thirty-eight years of club championships, there are several men’s champions that are particularly notable. The first is Danny Goldberg. Danny’s parents, Ellen and Ed, were tennis members for many years. In the late 1970’s, when Danny was nine and ten years old, he would spend his summers hitting tennis balls, specializing in high arching “moonballs.” Danny is a nephew of Steven Sudansky, an excellent player, who provided some coaching for Danny. Danny later played on the University of Michigan tennis team. In 1988, Danny reached the NCAA singles final, an outstanding achievement. Danny won the club championship in 1985 with a completely dominating display of tennis. Don Frahm is another player worthy of special mention. Don has been a tennis member since 1975. He is an outstanding competitor who has won the men’s singles championship fourteen times from 1978 to his most recent championship in 2006. Furthermore, Don has been runner-up another dozen times in the years from 1978 to 2005. Don also has won the men’s doubles championship many times with a number of different players. Since 2000, Don Kannenberg has dominated the men’s singles championship by winning seven times.
PADDLE TENNIS (Thanks to John Drew for this account of the paddle tennis program)
Gary Schwandt, and his wife, Cheri, were tennis members at Avon in the 1970’s. They had grown up near Boston where they had played paddle tennis – sometimes referred to as platform tennis. Gary introduced John Drew to paddle tennis and they decided to put together a program for two paddle tennis courts at the Golf Club of Avon. Gary and John visited several paddle tennis facilities around Connecticut and recommended Putnam Tennis Courts to build the paddle tennis courts. John presented a proposal to the Board of Governors in September, 1978 for the purchase of two paddle tennis courts with wood decks for $35,000. For the proposed membership, there would be a $150 initiation fee and annual dues of $125. John’s proposal illustrated that, over the years, a paddle tennis membership of 75 families would be able to pay off the debt that the club incurred for the building of the paddle tennis courts and the warming hut. The warming hut was built in 1979 at a cost of $8,500. It has continued to serve effectively for over thirty years. The first two paddle tennis courts had wood decks. Over a period of time the wood decks had to be replaced. At this time, aluminum deck had become popular, and the wood decks on the two courts were replaced with aluminum decks in the 1990’s. The third court, on the south side of the hut, was obtained from the Avon Old Farms School. A member of the Board at Avon Old Farms had gifted two courts to the school. However, paddle tennis never caught on at Avon Old Farms and in 2000 the club purchased one court from Avon Old Farms School for $27,000 and spent an additional $25,000 to have it restored. The courts were available for play in the fall of 1979. Gary Schwandt and John Drew won the first four men’s championships. Eamon Clohessey and Bob Fish then won the next five men’s championships. More recently, John Papa won five men’s championships through 2003 twice playing with Bob Jordan and then with Steve Repka. Cheri Schwandt and Barbara Drew won the first three women’s championships and then Barbara Drew paired with Dorothy Kosakowski to win two more women’s championships. Sara Papa won nine women’s championships from 1997 to 2007, winning four times with Jane Covey, who won two additional times with Patty Cheyne. Cheri Schwandt and Gary Schwandt defeated Barbara Drew and John Drew in 1979 for the first mixed championship. The Drews prevailed over the Schwandts in 1980 and the Schwandts over the Drews in 1981. Tom and Jane Covey won three consecutive years starting in 1998. Starting in 2001, Sara and John Papa and Jill and Steve Repka dominated the mixed championship with the Papas winning four times and the Repkas three times through 2008.
A present day view of the club’s three paddle tennis courts.
GOLF CLUB OF AVON: 2010 EMPLOYEES WITH AT LEAST TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE CLUB AND YEAR OF HIRE. Jan Goselin (1966) Joline Rosario (1972) Don Malen (1975)
Jim Morse (1983) Shirley Muscaro (1984) Hari Rahardjo (1988)
Joe Wrobel (1989) Rose Chisar (1989) Collie Haughton (1990)
A picture of the club’s employees taken in approximately 1990.
PRESIDENTS OF THE CITY CLUB OF HARTFORD (1913-1945) AND THE GOLF CLUB OF AVON (1946-2010). 1913-1914: Judge Waldo Marvin 1915-1916: James H. Morgan 1916: Charles Blake 1917: Frank Macomber 1918: Cortland F. Luce 1919: Frank A. Hagarty 1920-1922: F. Edward Bosson 1922-1924: Norman C. Stevens 1925: John Wise 1926-1927: Dr. Alvin A. Hunt 1928: Fred H. Williams, Jr. 1929: Harry B. Moore 1930: Herbert Belden 1931: Frank E. Bel 1932: Marshall A. Mott 1933-1934: Hubert M. Toppin 1935-1936: Vorus F. Nickerson 1937-1938: Henry I. Moore 1939: Edward L. Duncan 1940: Nathaniel J. Scott 1941: Irwin F. Holland 1942: G. Harold Pimm 1943: Lyman A. Smith 1944: William C. Fenniman 1945: Emery L. Main 1946: Allyn W. Larkum 1947: Basil P. Fitzpatrick 1948: Lawrence C. Saviteer 1949: Charles C. Tomlinson 1950: H. Leon Vietts 1951: H. Randall Pease 1952: Thomas G. Fraser 1953: Elmer Watson 1954: Charles L. Derrick 1955: J. Ray Ryan 1956: Fred S. Pickford 1957: Lester S. Crossley 1958: Edward C. Wheeler 1959: Paul W. Newman 1960: Charles B. Rice 1961: Homer F. Wooldridge 1962: Edwin F. Murphy
1963: David L. Kemp 1964: Jack L. Hall 1965: Harvey B. Carter 1966: Charles B. Stadtmiller 1967: Edward K. Scribner 1968: William L. Meikle 1969: Earle A. Davison 1970: Walter E. Nordstrom 1971-1972: Duane B. Hayes 1973: Edward J. Doyle 1974: Earle A. Davison 1975: Roger J. Rice 1976: Donald R. McGown 1977-1978: Eamon N. Kelly 1979: Aiden D. Kenney 1980: Douglas L. Page 1981: Norman F. Ottmann 1982: James E. Fitzgerald 1983: Brian E. Scott 1984: Joseph E. Larochelle 1985: Paul E. Petersen 1986: Robert E. Hyatt 1987: Michael W. Muchinsky 1988: Stanley H. Maikowski 1989: Franklin L. Kendal Jr. 1990-1991: William H. Hackett 1992: Francis X. Smith 1993: Walter J. Ives 1994: Robert E. McDonald 1995: Michael J. Doyle 1996: John A. Baker 1997: Kurt E. Carlson 1998: Ronald J. Fitzgerald 1999-2000: Leonard DelGallo Sr. 2001: Richard C. Lawson 2002-2004: James W. Fanelli 2005-2007: Kathleen C. Mylod 2007-2009: Edmund A. Mikolowsky 2010: Morris Davenport
GOLF: MENâ€™S CLUB CHAMPIONS 1927: H.A. Maronn 1928: B.M. Parsons 1929: I.A. Robbins 1930: E.J. Salmonsen 1931: I.A. Robbins 1932: R.W. Oâ€™Donnell 1933: G.W. Eddy 1934: R.E. Elm 1935: G.F. Smart 1936: R.L Burnett 1937: J.S. Wilkes 1938: J.S. Wilkes 1939: L.B. Hough 1940: L.F. Touhey 1941: E.A. Shannon 1942: L.F. Touhey 1943: H.J. Fisher 1944: H.J. Fisher 1945: R.W. Burt 1946: R.J. Peplaw 1947: R.J. Peplaw 1948: D.J. Rourke, Jr. 1949: C.B. Stadtmiller 1950: C.B. Stadtmiller 1951: H.O. DeFries 1952: B.T. Faulkner 1953: H.O. DeFries 1954: H.O. DeFries 1955: B.W. Rogers 1956: S.J. Matczak 1957: W.R. Frey, Jr. 1958: P.J. Zaccagnino 1959: W.R. Frey, Jr. 1960: W.R. Frey, Jr. 1961: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1962: J.C. Brunoli 1963: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1964: S.J. Matczak 1965: J.C. Brunoli 1966: S.J. Matczak 1967: J.C. Brunoli 1968: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1969: J.C. Brunoli 1970: J.C. Brunoli
1971: P.J. Zaccagnino, Jr. 1972: J.C. Brunoli 1973: A. Rotondo, Jr. 1974: P.J. Zaccagnino, Jr. 1975: J.C. Brunoli 1976: T.W. Fair 1977: D.L. Hedberg 1978: J. Aylsworth, Jr. 1979: B.W. Kelly 1980: C. McDermott 1981: P. Panciera 1982: M. Danneker 1983: K. Nachilly 1984: M. Hollfelder 1985: M. Hollfelder 1986: R. Jordan 1987: M. Danneker 1988: M. Hollfelder 1989: R. Mikuliak 1990: M. Hollfelder 1991: R. Mikuliak 1992: T. Ryan 1993: T. Ryan 1994: W. Shea II 1995: T.J. McDonald 1996: R. Mikuliak 1997: W. Shea II 1998: D.J. Castellani 1999: T. Ryan 2000: T. Ryan 2001: D.J. Castellani 2002: T. Ryan 2003: W. Shea II 2004: D.J. Castellani 2005: R.P. Nemarich 2006: R.P. Nemarich 2007: W. LaMonica 2008: R.P. Nemarich 2009: R.P. Nemarich 2010: R. Stefanski
GOLF: SENIOR MENâ€™S CLUB CHAMPIONS 1948: R.C. Strubell 1949: R.C. Strubell 1950: R.C. Strubell 1951: R.E. Mullen 1952: C.B. Rice 1953: J.F. Lamont 1954: C.R. McClain 1955: J.F. Lamont 1956: C.L. Rolfe 1957: D.L. Kempf 1958: C.B. Stadtmiller 1959: S. Matczak !960: S. Matczak 1961: S. Matczak 1962: S. Matczak 1963: S. Matczak 1964: A. Patricelli 1965: A. Patricelli 1966: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1967: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1968: S. Matczak 1969: B.W. Rogers 1970: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1971: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1972: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1973: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1974: H.H. Mandley, Jr. 1975: R. Jordan 1976: R. Jordan 1977: L. Usich, Sr. 1978: J. Capuano 1979: R. Jordan 1980: R. Hyatt 1981: D. Page 1982: L. Warren 1983: R. Jordan 1984: R. Hyatt 1985: L. Warren 1986: R. Foley 1987: R. Jordan 1988: T.R. Wirtz 1989: L. Warren 1990: L. Warren
1991: L. Warren 1992: L. Warren 1993: L. Warren 1994: L. Warren 1995: L. Warren 1996: L. Warren 1997: R. Strickland 1998: R. Hyatt 1999: T. Fair 2000: J. Kuzia 2001: T. Fair 2002: T. Fair 2003: T. Fair 2004: T. Fair 2005: J. Aylsworth 2006: J. Leonard 2007: J. Leonard 2008: J. Leonard 2009: T. Covey 2010: J. Aylsworth
GOLF:WOMEN’S CLUB CHAMPIONS 1949: Edmire Jacobs 1950: Elly Kummel 1951: Elly Kummel 1952: Helen Currie 1953: Elly Kummel 1954: Ruth White 1955: Viola DiCaprio 1956: Virginia Frey 1957: Marie Rowland 1958: Anita McCombe 1959: Viola DiCaprio 1960: Marie Rowland 1961: Marie Rowland 1962: Nell Crumley 1963: Nell Crumley 1964: Vicki Morrow 1965: Nell Crumley 1966: Vicki Morrow 1967: Adeline Bianchi 1968: Vicki Morrow 1969: Vicki Morrow 1970: H. Battiston 1971: Gail Appell 1972: Gail Appell 1973: Joellen Winchell 1974: Gail Appell 1975: Gail Appell 1976: Gail Appell 1977: Gail Appell 1978: Gail Appell 1979: Gail Appell 1980: C. Ruffini 1981: G. Kundahl 1982: Carol Ruffini 1983: Sue Ruffini 1984: Sue Ruffini 1985: Gretchen Kundahl 1986: Gretchen Kundahl 1987: Barbara Taylor 1988: Gretchen Kundahl 1989: Sue Ruffini 1990: Barbara Drew 1991: Sally Michalski
1992: Joan Raymont 1993: Joan Raymont 1994: Joan Raymont 1995: Barbara Drew 1996: Donna Harris 1997: Joan Raymont 1998: Donna Harris 1999: Donna Harris 2000: Donna Harris 2001: Donna Harris 2002: Donna Harris 2003: Donna Harris 2004: Donna Harris 2005: Donna Harris 2006: Donna Harris 2007: Ann Malone 2008: Donna Harris 2009: Sara Papa 2010: Mary Gallagher
GOLF: WOMEN’S NINE HOLE GOLF CHAMPIONS 1956: Mary Joseph 1957: Betty Yost 1958: Marion Koop 1959: Anne Carlson 1960: Valma Parker 1961: Audrey Crane 1962: Eileen Brunoli 1963: Eileen Brunoli 1964: Mary Joseph 1965: Anne McRory 1966: Helen Sherer 1967: Phyllis Mandley 1968: Phyllis Mandley 1969: Dorothy Calabrese 1970: Gwen Gregory 1971: Gwen Gregory 1972: Joan Godlewski 49
1973: N. Breckenridge 1974: Julia Corson 1975: Phyllis Mandley 1976: Phyllis Mandley 1977: Anne Cepluch 1978: Phyllis Mandley 1979: Phyllis Mandley 1980: Phyllis Mandley 1981: Phyllis Mandley 1982: Nancy Fair 1983: Barbara Quigley 1984: Pat Eden 1985: Ramona Wooldridge 1986: V. Ehnen 1987: V. Ehnen 1988: Barbara Quigley 1989: Ramona Wooldridge 1990: S. Seide 1991: M. Hollfelder 1992: T. Cossette 1993: T. Byler 1994: T. Byler 1995: S. Burdsall 1996: S. Burdsall 1997: L. Liberator 1998: S. Burdsall 1999: Kathy Mylod 2000: Joan Monts 2001: Joan Monts 2002: Linda Jainchill 2003: J. Hauswirth 2004: J. Hauswirth 2005: Joan Monts 2006: D. Greenberg 2007: Joan Monts 2008: Joan Monts 2009: Joan Monts 2010: L. Grande
1969: Anita McCombe 1970: (none on the Champions Board) 1971: Vi DiCaprio 1972: Marie R. Malone 1973: Helen Battiston 1974: Marie R. Malone 1975: Marie R. Malone 1976: Helen Battiston 1977: Marie R. Malone 1978: Marie R. Malone 1979: Marie R. Malone 1980: Louise Korder 1981: Louise Korder 1982: Ann Cepluch 1983: Felicia Castellani 1984: Louise Korder 1985: Sue Ruffini 1986: Sue Ruffini 1987: Barbara Taylor 1988: Felicia Castellani 1989: Joanne Miller 1990: Sue Ruffini 1991: Sally Michalski
1992: Sally Michalski 1993: Barbara Drew 1994: Barbara Drew 1995: Sally Michalski 1996: Sally Michalski 1997: Sally Michalski 1998: Barbara Drew 1999: Barbara Drew 2000: Barbara Drew 2001: Dorothy MacKenzie 2002: Dorothy MacKenzie 2003: Barbara Drew 2004: Joanne Miller 2005: Barbara Drew 2006: Ann Malone 2007: Ann Malone 2008: Joanne Miller 2009: Joanne Miller 2010: Ann Malone
GOLF: WOMENâ€™S SENIOR CLUB CHAMPIONS 1965: Anita McCombe 1966: Anita McCombe 1967: Anita McCombe 1968: Anita McCombe
This plaque memorializes one of the more difficult feats in golf: shooting a gross score for 18 holes which is equal to or less than oneâ€™s age.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS Don Malen is Director of Golf Operations at The Golf Club of Avon after having served as its longest tenured head golf professional from 1975-2009. A more complete description of Donâ€™s career appears on page 7. Ed Mikolowsky is a Past President of The Golf Club of Avon and served on the Board of Governors and various committees for several years.
A present day view of Nine Red green from the clubhouse.
This is the original logo of Avon Country Club and was used from the start of the club in 1925 until the club was sold to The City Club of Hartford in 1945.
This logo was used from 1945, when Avon Country Club was sold to the City Club of Hartford, until 1982.
This logo was first used in 1982 and continues to be used to the present day