In 1914, the royal and ancient game of golf was introduced to the city of Sandusky. Introduced may be the incorrect word, for the privilege was enjoyed by only a small select group, which organized The Sandusky Golf Club with facilities for playing the game available on the August Pfaff property on South Hayes Avenue. At that time the top society of the city evolved around two Wayne Street families, the Butlers and the Marshs, and it was they who, having been exposed to the game in the East, decided to transplant it to their home town for their recreational enjoyment. These two gentlemen, E.H. Marsh and Watson Butler, asked George Steinemann as their attorney, to assist in the Club’s formation and Ed Gangware to handle the financial and secretarial matters. It was these men plus August Kuebeler and C. Faber Donahue who signed the Articles of Incorporation of the Sandusky Golf Club on January 29, 1914.
The Articles stated: “The purpose . . . is to promote golf and other athletic sports; to encourage outdoor exercise; and to promote sociability among it’s members and others, to rent, own, and maintain real estate and buildings for its purpose; and to all things necessary and incident thereto.”
In 1914 as a start, $600.00 was invested in grass seed, and on July 4, The Sandusky Golf Club opened for business.
The Sandusky Golf Club’s stay at the S. Hayes Avenue and Strub Road location was short. A visitor from the east on being shown the “links” of which the members were proud ridiculed the layout and is said to have called it “a cow pasture.” The Board of Trustees, after recovering from this insult, wisely decided to appoint a committee to search for a new location to be considered. This resulted in the location and purchase of the property at Galloway and Hull Roads. This new location had rolling terrain and Plum Brook flowing through the property. Thus the change in location and new name for the club – Plum Brook Country Club- 1916.
The committee stood on a hill near the present number ten tee, looking over some rolling farmland. With them stood Mr. Graham, the owner of the property, who had never heard of golf and wondered what idiotic pastime, was worth purchasing 55 acres at $350.00 per acre.
Bertie Way, a Cleveland Pro, was hired to design and lay out the original nine holes. In 1917 play was a reality. Some sort of temporary clubhouse was necessary, and a small building was erected near the present ninth green and tenth tee. This was used during 1917 and 1918 when a farmhouse on the northwest corner of Hull and Galloway Roads was purchased for better accommodations. At that time the original small clubhouse was moved across the street and attached to the rear of the farmhouse and was used as the first dining room and ballroom.
In 1920 a membership drive was started and in 1921 work began on the new clubhouse. The contract for $53,000 was awarded to Peterson and Hiss with Henry Millott as the architect. It was considered the last word in country club structures in its day, and two furnaces were required to heat it. At this time an assessment of $500.00 was decided upon to finance the project, with a choice of paying $55.00 per year for 10 years. In 1922 the new clubhouse was completed. Since then many changes and additions have been made to the original structure.
In the late 1920’s additional land was acquired, and the layout was changed and expanded to 18 holes in July 1929. Over the years, additional changes have been made to the layout until at present Plum Brook is a sporty and challenging course, even though not long in distance, 6,284 yards from the championship tees.
Many well known golfing names have played Plum Brook and have commented favorably on the course. Plum Brook has hosted many tournaments over the years and is currently hosting the Ohio Senior Open. Plum Brook is also the permanent home of the Northern Ohio PGA Golf Hall of Fame.
Plum Brook is a family club and is placing emphasis on junior golf. After all, it has the honor of having the first national caddy champion.
It is good to look back on the Club’s history, but it is better to look forward to the pleasant golfing times that members and guests can enjoy at Plum Brook in the future.
Our golf course ranks as one of the finest in Northern Ohio. It was improved by Arthur Hills in 1994. Plum Brook also offers the best in both informal and formal dining. Our facilities lend themselves beautifully to special events and parties. Our swimming pool is open Memorial Day to Labor Day to all age groups. Swimming lessons are offered each summer to members.
The Club closes during a portion of January. During the other eleven months, there are many special social events, which our monthly Newsletter carries full details.
The Club is opened Tuesday – Sunday, while closed every Monday except between Memorial Day and Labor Day when holidays fall on a Monday, then the Club remains open.