Golf, Twin City style…


As always, click pic for full size. Last line in caption should read “Forsyth Country Club”

Last week, in response to a post that stated that Katharine Smith Reynolds’ 1911 Reynolda golf course was the first in Winston-Salem, I pointed out that the Twin City Golf Association built a course in a cow pasture near Twelfth and Highland Streets in the late 1890s.


Forsyth Country Club, 1918  (Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection)


Forsyth Country Club golf course, 1924  (Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection)

On Saturday, I was chatting with a friend who reminded me that neither the Reynolda nor the Twin City course were inside the city limits when built, nor was Forsyth Country Club, which opened for play in 1913, so the question arose: what was the first course actually built inside the city limits? The Westover Golf Course, near Miller Park, opened in 1925, well outside the limits. I knew from some work we did a few years ago for a local law firm that Old Town Club was not inside the limits when it was built. Reynolds Park was briefly a contender, but we soon ascertained that it was not inside the city when built in 1939.


Westover Park Golf Course, Ardmore, 1925  (Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection)


Old Town Country Club, 1940  (Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection)


Reynolds Park Golf Course, 1939  (Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection)

A bit of work later, the startling conclusion…there has never been a full sized golf course built within the limits of the Twin City. There are several now, but none of them were originally built in the city.


For many years, the #8 hole at Hillcrest held the world record for the longest hole in one…425 yards. If you could get a good skip off your drive, the ball would roll down a long, steep hill onto the green. Imagine what the guy who made that hole in one thought when he peered over the hill and did not see his ball.

We know that there had to be one or more miniature golf courses in the city…there were fads for them in the 1920s and again in the 1930s. They were probably adjuncts to bowling alleys, but we don’t know anything about them. The first well known one was Putt Putt, which opened in the spring of 1955, next to the Thruway Shopping Center site, a few months before Thruway itself opened. And my friends and I built a pitch and putt in my back yard around the same time. Katharine Smith Reynolds’ course had sand greens. Ours had hard dirt ones, with vegetable cans sunk in the ground for cups. The next time you hear them talking about the lightning greens at Augusta, imagine trying to putt on our red clay ones. Both Putt Putt and our backyard course were built inside the city limits, but I don’t think they count.


The second Putt Putt in the world was originally located next to the brand new Thruway Shopping Center in 1955. It moved farther out Stratford Road around 1970.  (Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection)

Purvis Feree, the pro at Old Town Club, and Wiley Fleenor built a par three course next to their new Tavern on the Green bar around 1960. It was lit for play at night, and it was definitely in the city, annexed in 1957. That is as close as you are going to come.


The #10 hole at Winston Lake Golf Course is one of the most beautiful in the area.


Pinebrook Country Club opened in the 1950s


The business side of the Reynolds Park clubhouse, 1940. Pro Thurmond Edwards was a bit crusty, but treated young golfers awfully well.


Old Town Club scorecard


Bill Jones was a great guy…he nurtured a lot of young golfers, and appeared annually for years on Jerry Lewis’s national telethon…


Tanglewood, 1970. Despite the water at the left, #1 was an easy hole…if you hit it straight and kept it low you could drive the green and two putt for a bird. The second hole, seen beyond the pond, was a short par five, also a good birdie hole. After that it got harder. Later the nines were reversed and #1 became #10, making #18 a great finishing hole for tournament spectators.  (Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection)


The #10 green at Reynolds Park provides a great view of downtown Winston-Salem

Filed under: Genealogy, Local History


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