HISTORY OF MT.ADAMS GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB
by Jewel Sliger
In 1923 the golf bug got to work in the minds and hearts of three Toppenish men and, as a result, the Mt. Adams Golf and Country Club was founded.The three who promoted the idea of a golf club for the Toppenish, Wapato and Zillah are were Horace Woodard SR., Dr, George Wimberely and Len Dornan. For the first two years, members golfed on land leased by by Stanley Clemans for a pasture. This was located one-half mile east of the seigel packing plant on La Rue Road. The growth was salt grass and the course was divided by an irrigation canal. The greens were sand and each green was protected from cattke by smooth wire fences. The sand was treated with oil to make it smooth and prevent it from blowing away, and also to prevent the growth of grass. A large scraper made of carpeting or burlap was attached to a steel pipe with a a pipe handle . Some players carried their own scrapers. A golf ball called a "floater", which it did, was generally used on shots across the water. Recovery of these was quite interesting as the flow of the water was very fast the favorite brand of floater was the Wright and Ditson Eagle.
As the season advanced, the salt grass became quite tall and a number of players decided it should be mowed so each member brought a lawn mower. The mowers were hooked to a car with a long plank. It soon became evident that this was hopeless. They mowed part of it with a hay mower but play declined during the hot weather . The cattle kept the growth under control until frost killed the salt grass and play picked up and continued through the winter.
Among the early organizer who joined the original three founders were: Ed Fleming, Clarence Hibler. M. Q. Bradbury, Dan Stanton, Albert Bick, Art, Clarence, Don and Halen Trimble, John Devies, Harry Owen, Fred Palmer, Rock Dorsett, Evert Crayne, Lewis Kuhn, Corwin Lancaster, I.H. Crabtree, H.H Woodard, Clayton Paris, Archie Black, Lloyd Campbell, Lon Truley, J. Fettgather, Art Sorenson, P.D Wilson, Art Davis, Dr. Dasher, Wally Dornan, John Cornett, D.F. Bonstead, Hale, Cole, F. Corey, Frank Bruhn, Jack Bandy, Axel Burg, E.J Tweed, Fred Beezely, Wm. Murphy, Lee Weigand, Jeff Coulter, Clyde Young, Paul & I.C Benz, Len Dornan, H.B. Wimberely and others, who's names escape me at this time.
The reservation farmers and towns people referred to the game of golf as "Cow Pasture Pool". The fad persisted and in 1925, when the members felt a need for a permanent course, the club was incorporated . On the old site was a small building that would accommodate about six people. This was the club house which was moved on skids to the new location across the drain ditch. This served for several years until the cottage was moved from town. It consisted of one large room, one bedroom and a porch . A caretaker moved in and brought along cats and dogs and cows which roamed the fairways and made "caution" the word. Animals were still on the course as late as 1942. The setting was complete was the "CHICK SALES" situated where the golf storage shed is now located.
On June 4, 1925, ten acres of sagebrush was acquired on the east of the original boundary. The Pioneers', original members, laid out the fairways, made the sand greens and planted all of the original trees. The women had a very active organization and the planting program was started as soon as the club was located on the present site. Some of the Siberian Elms are still among the Hazards. They were Kept alive by hauling water with teams of horses and by members who carried buckets of water to the nearest trees so they would survive. They gathered rocks in the hills and eventually built the fireplace in the club house that then consisted of one large room a small kitchen and a tiny pro shop. Colin Bleiler donated a portable bar which was used by members for social occasions. The club house was heated by an oil stove that stood where the kitchen door is now located. During winter months blankets were hung across the dance area on the south side making it possible to heat the kitchen and the pro shop. A front porch was also built on the east side with a door opening into the dance area. The fireplace withstood the ravages of time, storms and a fire in 1954. Shortly thereafter, the front porch was torn down and a new patio was built . In 1972 an addition to the kitchen was made and new restrooms and showers were added, the fireplace was taken out and replaced by a large picture window on the north end of the dance floor. The building was revamped on the outside and many of the original trees in the parking lot were cut down. This renovation was completed in 1972
The golf club has been an active place over the years with many social events, dances and golf tournaments. In 1946 the first sand greens tournament was held at Mt. Adams and was called the "Washington State Sand Greens Tournament". Jack Todd of Bend, Oregon, formerly of Mt. Adams, was the winner in 1946and again in 1947. John Fahenbruch of Fort Lewis, Washington, won in 1948. Joe McCauley of Yakima won in 1949 and Ken Fields of Yakima won in 1950 and 1951. Ken had the distinction of being the last golfer in the state of Washington to hold the official title of Sand Greens Champion. For many years Mt. Adams golfers traveled to Goldendale, Leavanworth, Pasco. Prosser and sunnyside for Sand Green Tournaments.
Twenty-nine years after its inception, on April 7, 1952, the club seeded its first grass greens. Play opened July 21,1952. Governor Langlie of Olympia was a guest of Wapato Mayor Joe Meyers September 3, 1952, and said these were the best new greens he had
ever played on.
Green fees were 75cents weekdays and $1.00 on weekends. Dues in 1951 for man and wife were $24.00 a year and $9.50 for single women.
Water for the new greens was supplied by individual wells and some may still be found if you know where to look. The watering system on the original nine holes was completed in 1955, with much help from the various members. Farmers brought in plows, ditch diggers, tractors and some even brought in their farm laborers, the expenses being borne by each individual contributor. Pete Sliger and Dan Rhodes were chairmen. Every member of the club assisted in some manner.
In 1966 seventy acres of sagebrush land on the east boundary was purchased for another nine holes. A new well was drilled and fairways and greens were built, again with much help from the members . Pete Sliger and Dale Williams were co-chairmen of this project. Many trees were planted and by 1975 they made wonderful growth progress to the point they were to be recognized if you got out of the fairway. Fairways were laid out with the thought in mind of building a new club house between the old nine and the new nine- still a dream that in future years may become a reality. The overall cost of purchasing the land and the construction of the new nine was $60,000.
The YAKIMA VALLEY CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT was started in 1958 with Pete Sliger as the winner. Due to poor participation, the tournament was canceled until 1968 when it was reestablished . Gross winners were Dennis Grove, 1968; Bill Flodin, 1969 and 1970; Mike Chambers, 1971; Lynn McSherry, 1972; Tim Bond, 1973; Keith Crimp, 1974, and Bill Flodin 1975.
Net winners were: 1968 & 1974, Don Galbraith; 1969, Charles McNurlin; 1970, Al Maney; 1971, Ev Doty; 1972, John Bator; 1973, Greg Nagle; and 1975 Wendell Oliver.
Junior championships: Paul Dalton , 1969; Paul Dalton and Patty Pabisz, 1970; Scott Stobaugh and Kathy Wilson, 1971-72-73; Don Sandberg and Jana Pitts, 1974; and Pat Perrault and Tammy Oliver, 1975
Men's Club Champions: 1923 and 1924, I. H. Crabtree; 1928, Halen Trimble; 1929, Paul Benz Sr.; 1930 Frank Bradbury; 1931, Corwin Lancaster; 1932, Paul Benz Sr.; 1933, Art Trimble;1934, Corwin Lancaster; 1935-36, P.D. Wilson; 1937, Art Trimble; 1938-39, P.D. Wilson; 1940, Clarence Hibler; 1941 Don Burnett; 1942, Joe Meyers; 1944, Pete Sliger; 1961-62, Dale Williams; 1963, Pete Sliger; 1964 Dale Williams; 1965, Pete Sliger; 1966 Dale Williams; 1967, John Bator ; 1974-75, Scott Stobaugh. Pete Sliger had one ten club Championships by 1975, with eight holes -in-one and John Bator was a nine-time champion with seven holes-in-one.
Ladies Club Champions since 1942 include Edna HIbler, Vera Lancaster, Jewel Sliger, Zee Patnode, Lucille St. Mary, Lala Regimbal, Betty Rhode and Olive Ruff, who was champion from 1968 to 1975
Professionals employed by the Mt. Adams Golf Club were Tex Smith, Bob Connelly, Joe McCauley, Hugh Powell, Don Sherwood, Dave Evans, Don Wilkey, Woody Forrest, Jim Bartleson, Mike Dale, Bill Warner, Bill Porter, Lee Roberts, John Chapin, Rick Cullen and Scott Galbraith.
Among those who contributed greatly to the development and maintenance of Mt. Adams Golf Club the late Ezra Benz is to be remembered for his outstanding work. He was a past-president and secretary and did a great job of both.
The club continues to progress. Men's Day is every Thursday, with a steak fry after play and cards in the evening. Ladies Day is every Wednesday with lunch served by our cook Irene Davie, and cards played in the afternoon. Every Friday night is a mixed Two Ball, with dinner following. The third Sunday of each month is mixed play, followed by a potluck dinner.
And a good time is had by all.