The 20th century brought the Machine Age, and then, with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the 2-day weekend. What did people want to do with their newfound leisure time? Apparently, hitting around a little white ball was becoming an increasingly popular pastime. Although Columbus already had two 9-hole golf courses, local Brahmins James Lyon Hamill, Samuel P. Bush (yes, those Bushes), William K. Lanman, and Butler Sheldon decided the city really needed an 18-hole course, and set about making it happen. James Miller, original owner of the property, was not keen on giving them a deal. Lucky for them, Miller soon sold his land to King Thompson. King was indeed interested in having the city's only 18-hole course to anchor his “country club” development. In 1916, the Scioto Country Club was founded.
While the Club has notable diving and tennis programs, its golf course put it on the national stage. Influential golf course architect Donald Ross designed the Scioto Country Club course, which is now ranked by Golf Digest magazine as #50 in the top 100 US courses. (Ross also designed six other courses on that list!) UA-superstar Jack Nicklaus learned to play on the Scioto course.
The Scioto Country Club is one of only a handful of courses to have hosted so many major competitions: 1926 US Open, 1931 Ryder Cup, 1950 PGA Championship, 1968 US Amateur, and 1986 US Senior Open. And in its centennial year, the Club will again host more than 150,000 spectators for the 2016 US Senior Open, August 8-14.
Here are several interesting books, articles, and databases if you’d like to learn more:
- Scioto Country Club: 75 years of history
- “A History of Scioto County Club’s Early Years,” an excerpt from the 1986 7thU.S. Senior Open Championship publication.
- “If These Walls Could Talk: Scioto Country Club celebrates 100 years,” in the July/August issue of Tri-Village Magazine:
- Daily life through History: Leisure Time: 1920–1939
- UA Archives