Few golf clubs in America offer up the tradition and pedigree of The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. It was here in 1913 that a young 20-year-old amateur named Francis Ouimet stunned the golf world by upsetting British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff to claim the U.S. Open, a victory that would transcend the game in America. Ouimet had grown up across the street from the club and had risen from the caddie ranks to become a champion.
Founded in 1882, The Country Club is one of the five original clubs of the USGA, along with Newport (R.I.) Country Club, Shinnecock Hills, Chicago Golf Club and St. Andrews Golf Club. The original club was focused on horseback riding and other outdoor pursuits; the golf course was not created until 1893.
In the early years, conflicts arose between the golfing and non-golfing members over land use, and the original course overlapped with the pre-existing race track. The first six holes were laid out by three club members in March 1893. The following year, Scotsman Willie Campbell was brought in as the club professional. Campbell helped with club expansion and by 1899, The Country Club had a full 18-hole course. Following an additional land purchase, three club members designed new holes that opened in 1908.
Modern architect Rees Jones further renovated the course in preparation for the 1988 U.S. Open, won by Curtis Strange in a playoff over Nick Faldo.
Today, The Country Club features 27 holes, with the Main – or Composite Course – taking most of the holes from the Clyde and Squirrel nines. This is the competition course used for major events such as this year’s U.S. Amateur. The Primrose Course is the third nine. It is an executive layout that was designed by William S. Flynn and opened in 1927.
Three and a half holes of the Primrose Course are used to comprise the Composite or Open Course, essentially replacing three holes of the Clyde Nine to allow the course to be extended beyond 7,000 yards.
Besides its USGA pedigree, The Country Club hosted the 1999 Ryder Cup Matches and has conducted a record 10 Massachusetts State Amateurs. The first USGA championship conducted at The Country Club was the 1902 U.S. Women’s Amateur, won by Genevieve Hecker.
This year’s U.S. Amateur will mark the 100th anniversary of Ouimet’s stunning U.S. Open victory.