Muskogee Country Club
Founded in 1907
History of The Muskogee Country Club
The Muskogee Country Club began its existence officially on March 10, 1903, as the Muskogee Town and Country Club. Incorporation was affected a few weeks later on June 24th. There were 53 men in the original group of organizers, with Tams Bixby, Sr., Clifford L. Jackson, J. F. Darby and D. H. Middleton among the chief instigators. Bixby was the first president. The initiation fee was $100.00.
At first the Club was located on the outskirts of Fort Gibson where it occupied two buildings. One was a fourteen room house on Coppinger Avenue named The Red House where meals were served and lodging was available at twenty-five cents a day. The other was a stone building on Fort Street called the Assembly Room which was used for social activities. This building, incidentally, was the adjutant's headquarters when Fort Gibson was an army post.
There was no golf course in the beginning, but people were human then as now and, as some would say, couldn't leave well enough alone. What we mean is that as soon as they could, which was in the summer of 1907, the membership bought the hundred acre Garland farm, house and all, located where the Club is now, moved in and started a nine-hole golf course. So golf came to Muskogee only nineteen years after it first came to America, and ours is the oldest course in the state still at its original site. Leslie Brownlee, a Scotch golf professional at Fort Smith, laid out the course with sand greens. Shortly afterwards he went home to Scotland and brought back with him a young golfer named Bill Nichols of Edinburgh. Bill took over as the Club's first pro in the spring of 1908, and by May of that year had the course completed and open for play.
Thirty acres more were acquired by the Club two years later, and in 1911, the golf course was enlarged to a full eighteen holes. Then in 1924, the whole course was redesigned by the late Perry Maxwell, foremost among golf course architects the world over in his day. At that time, the old sand greens were replaced with bermuda. The change over to bent grass greens was made in 1936.
Bill Nichols stayed on as golf pro through 1913, and then he went to war. He was succeeded by Willie Brown, who remained until 1924. Tom Duckson served as pro for the next three years and was followed for a short time by Ed Gant, and then by Gordon Jones who stayed until 1939. Charlie Weisner became our pro in 1939, and except for the war years, he was our pro until the end of 1958. While Charlie was in the service, Willie Dow, and later Jimmy D'Angelo, served as pros for the Club. Ben Dickson served as the golf professional from 1958 until 1978. Harold Fisher became the golf professional in 1978 after Ben's retirement. Terry Burcham succeeded Fisher in 1982. Dean Ohley succeeded Burcham in 1982 and served until 2001. Craig Carey and Justin Bartley served as Pros from 2001 to 2006, then Sam Meredith was our PGA Golf Professional until 2010. Brent Anderson is currently the PGA Pro.
And we might as well add this: The course record is 59, held by Bob Dickson, a Muskogee amateur and Oklahoma State University star. Marlene Hagge holds the course record for women, 68. The Club was the site of the 1970 Women's United States Open, won by Donna Caponi.
A reorganization of the Club was effected on April 29, 1936, and a new charter obtained. The present name of the Club was adopted at that time.
In 1976 the Club became stock owned. The 1978 Board of Directors made the plans to completely remodel the Club House and add the present northwest wing. Approved by the membership, it was completed in 1979.
In 2000 the membership voted to undertake a major renovation and restoration of the golf course back to a more Perry Maxwell style. A young architect, Tripp Davis, who has become renowned in golf course design, was hired for the restoration process. It was completed in the spring of 2001, and today Muskogee Country Club is one of the premier courses in eastern Oklahoma.