| Club History || |
A group of founding Members first met on March 29, 1928 in the Camp Hill Fire House to organize the West Shore Country Club. The Club was granted its Charter on April 30th of that year. The new Club acquired the 69 acre farm of Samuel Bowman and the accompanying farmhouse and barn that had been built in 1821. With the existing farmhouse serving as the Clubhouse, the new club officially opened on June 14, 1928 with approximately 125 Members.
In the late days of June 1863, the Bowman farm marked the nearest point to Harrisburg — the intended prize — achieved by General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate artillery and cavalry. Late information about Union troop movements led Lee to withdraw and march to the historic confrontation on July 1,1863 at Gettysburg. The last Union Army soldier wounded in the West Shore action was a Drummer Boy involved in the "Skirmish at Sporting Hill." He is honored by the Drummer Boy emblem of the West Shore Country Club.
Sixty-four years after the Civil War sounds of artillery, the farmland of the old Bowman farm echoed to the sounds of club striking ball on the first three pitch and-putt holes of what is now West Shore’s championship golf course.
An expert organizer and fund-raiser, the Club’s first President, Franklin Davies, used those talents to rally members in expediting the organization, financing and initial land acquisition. The entrance fee for Membership was the purchase of a $100 share of stock in the Club, and annual dues were set at $35.
In 1929, the course expanded to five holes, and in the third year it consisted of nine holes. In 1935, the Club purchased 95 adjacent acres and constructed another nine holes that opened in 1938.
The old barn was the scene of summertime social activities, with winter events staged at the Penn Harris Hotel in downtown Harrisburg.
In 1940, a ballroom and men’s locker room were added to the old farmhouse.
In 1943, Ed Tabor arrived from Wanango Country Club in northwestern Pennsylvania and took over as golf professional and golf course superintendent. Tabor had worked alongside Wanango’s golf course superintendent John Davidson who had been a senior foreman for the famous golf course architect Donald Ross. Tabor applied the Donald Ross style to his next decades of reconstructing, redesigning and reshaping West Shore’s greens and fairways. In most ways, the Course today remains much the same as Ed Tabor left it except for the two-year redesign, reconstruction and placement of bunkers by noted golf course architect Gil Hanse completed in the spring of 2004.
1948 saw the installation of a kitchen, dining room and women’s locker room.
In 1950, the ballroom and men’s locker room were enlarged. 1955 brought the construction of the first swimming pool and the installation of air conditioning. In 1958, the Clubhouse was enlarged with a new wing that included more dining areas, a new pro shop and new women’s lounge and locker room.
The golf course got a much needed boost in 1965 with the installation of a fairway watering system, and in 1973 the Club constructed four tennis courts.
In 1980, Bob Nickey succeeded Ed Tabor as the Head Golf Professional. The Members rallied in August to help clear the Club property of hundreds of trees felled by a violent thunderstorm. Restoration of the property continued until winter.
Throughout the next decade, the Club invested a million dollars in beautification and capital projects. Of some significance was the success of the West Shore Swim team that went undefeated in 1986 and 1987. Of lesser note was the installation of 20 Purple Martin birdhouses on the property with the hope that it would halt the summer invasion of gnats. The idea’s success is recognized by the absence today of birdhouses on the property.
1986 marked the beginning of a major Clubhouse building and remodeling program that lasted through 1988. An original painting of the Club property was presented to the Club by George C. Hoopy whose family had initially acquired the farm from the Samuel Bowman family. The painting is now "sectioned" and on display in the Hearth Room.
In 1993, the Club approved a plan to construct an enlarged million-dollar swimming pool on the grounds near the tennis courts, and immediately after Labor Day the old pool was demolished. The opening of the new pool took place in May of 1994.
1995 marked the end of the "male members only" policy of the Club as the full Membership of the Club voted to delete all references to gender in the Club’s Rules and By-Laws.
In 1996, all of the outstanding original shares in the initial 1928 stock offering were recalled and redeemed. Longtime former Club Professional Ed Tabor passed away in 1997.
In 1998, the Active members voted to approve the employment of an architect for the Clubhouse building project. In July of 1999, ground was "broken" for the new Clubhouse, and it was officially opened on November 4, 2001.
An extensive Bunker Renovation Plan designed by golf course architect Gil Hanse was approved by the Active Members in July 2002. The project was begun in the fall of 2002 and was finally completed in the spring of 2004.
"In the years since occupying the new clubhouse and completing the bunker program, considerable emphasis has been placed on beautifying both the golf course and the clubhouse landscaping. During the past four years over 500 trees have been removed from the golf course, revealing a magnificance that had been obscured for so many years, and native grass areas were added. Sadly, in 2008 the venerable Elm trees, which for 50 years welcomed visitors to West Shore, succumbed to the area’s worst ice storm in 25 years. They were replaced with new landscaping, Sugar Maple trees and shrubbery, that quickly relegatedthe Elms to fond, but distant, memories."
In 2008, thanks to a generous bequest by George C. Hoopy, an outside stairway from the main level to the lower entrance level and a furnished patio were constructed. The Hoopy Patio was dedicated in 2009.
In 2010 the Active Membership approved a new modern irrigation system capable of watering all playing surfaces and 80 percent of the rough areas. The start of the project was delayed slightly because of frozen ground but eventually got underway in March 2011. Despite over 80 inches of rain (double the average annual precipitation), Tanto Irrigation and our grounds crew, lead by Golf Course Superintendent Brendon M. Clark, completed the project below budget by August of 2011.
In 2012 the Hearth Room was totally refurbished with elegant new furniture, drapes, and carpeting. New furniture also beautified the pool area. In addition, the courtyard was transformed from grass to hardscape, providing an ideal location for member events, wedding ceremonies, charity events or corporate cocktail parties.
In 2013, West Shore, like many courses constructed in the "Golden Age", experienced problems with aging and dying trees that have been destroyed by storms or had to be removed for safety, agronomic and other reasons. The Grounds Department, Green Committee and Board struggled with the repopulation of trees and other plantings on the course to maintain the design integrity of our course. After much deliberation and consultation with our USGA agronomist, we engaged golf course architect Dan Schlegel to develop a Master Landscape Plan for our golf course. A major objective of the Master Plan development was to come up with a tree re-population plan to replace the aging trees removed for various reasons. In early 2013 this project culminated with the presentation of the Master Plan to the Membership at an informational meeting. Following that meeting the Board adopted the Master Landscaping Plan developed by Mr. Schlegel to be used as a guide to continue the beautification of the course with trees and other plantings.