Schuylkill Country Club
|Schuylkill Country Club|
877 W Market St
Orwigsburg, PA 17961
Architect: Donald Ross
view larger map
The club was formed in 1905 in Pottsville as the "Outdoor Club of Pottsville." The club’s original charter and bylaws were created at this time, and the basic outline and structure of these documents still exist today. In 1919, the members of the "Outdoor Club of Pottsville" decided to purchase a scenic piece of property in Orwigsburg, Pa., and to build a nine-hole golf course. They purchased four pieces of land totaling 113 acres for $11,850 from Franklin P. Seltzer, Milton D. Reber, Henry B. Genslinger, and Susan Katyuch. Francis X. Reilly was hired as architect of the clubhouse and Gordon Nagle as contractor, and together they built a beautiful clubhouse on top a hill at a cost of $32,875. The view allowed for all to see for miles in all directions.
The original nine holes of the golf course were built by Frank James at a cost of $20,700. In 1921, the course and clubhouse opened and the members officially moved from the Pottsville location to Orwigsburg. The same bylaws and charter were kept, just the name was changed to Schuylkill Country Club.
The existing building is still the main focus of the clubhouse today. The Schuylkill Haven room (behind the fireplace), living room, dining room, grill room and kitchen area are all part of old structure. The 2nd floor was the original ladies locker room. It had showers, bathrooms, lockers and a sitting area. What many people do not know is the 2nd floor also had rooms that were used for different employees as living quarters throughout the years. These rooms have since become unlivable and are now used for club storage.
The golf course received many changes through the beginning years, but none as much as when the club decided to expand to 18 holes and hired world renowned golf course architect Donald Ross. In the mid 1940s, Ross made plans that required changing the original nine-hole layout by adding holes to the east and west ends of the existing course. The original 113 acres were expanded to encompass the current 166 acres that are now the Schuylkill Country Club. With the changes to the original nine holes and the addition of nine more, Schuylkill was the proud owner of a Donald Ross design which stands the test of time even to this day. Twenty-seven of Donald Ross’ courses are ranked in the Top 100 in the country on many golf course lists.
The clubhouse continued to make changes throughout the years to get to where it is today. The pro shop originally existed as a separate building until renovations in the mid 1990s connected it to the main structure. This expansion allowed for the ladies locker room to be moved to its current location. It also gave us the much needed storage space for carts, which in the early 1900s could never have been imagined as they are used today
After Ross visited in the 1940s, the course continued to evolve with changes that were made by the membership, and trees that were planted throughout the property. It was impossible to have the foresight as to how the game of golf would progress over the years. The technology used to cut grass today has far surpassed what some of the original course designs had intended. At Schuylkill, we have realized this and have made a commitment that before moving forward with any changes to the golf course, we will consult with the leading Donald Ross expert in course restoration/renovation, Ron Prichard.