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celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Galveston Country
Club has the distinction of being the first chartered country
club in Texas. In the late 1890s, Galveston's financial
prosperity and sophisticated atmosphere made it an ideal
place to import this "gentleman's game," popular
in urban and cosmopolitan areas on the country's east cost
at that time. With a flourishing port, the city's business
district thrived and Galveston attracted some of the wealthiest
and most influential people in the country.
The early years of the Country Club were
marked by numerous storms, fires, and financial crises,
paralleling the tumultuous history of the island itself.
But, like the great storms which have swept through the
island, it continued to survive. When faced with difficult
times, members drew on their love of the game and their
strong bonds of friendship to force themselves to rebuild
again and again.
Founded in March of 1898, with a membership
of just 30, the club’s first course sat on the beach
west of Fort Crockett, just west of present-day 53rd Street.
It was also the first course in Texas to be designed by
a professional golf course architect, Scotsman Mungo Parke.
Oddly enough, all of the greens at that time had two-foot
high barbed wire fences around them, to prevent cows from
grazing on the course during play.
Host to a number of professionals, including
Byron Nelson, “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, Jackie
Burke, Butch Baird and Jimmy Powell, the Galveston Country
Club has also entertained past U.S. presidents, celebrities,
and some of the most influential figures in Texas and the
United States. President and Mrs. George Bush are honorary
members of the club.
The Galveston Country Club is an integral
part of the community and hosts a number of professional
matches, including the National Super Seniors and the Senior
Series, as well as numerous state matches-even the inaugural
tournament for the Texas PGA. In addition, the annual Rudy
T Golf Tournament, benefiting university scholarships for
students who have overcome adversity, is held at the Country
club each year. In four years, the tournament raised more
than $330,000, and features NBA and Houston Rockets celebrities
such as Clyde Drexler, Maurice Lucas, Bill Worrell, Allen
Leavell, Matt Maloney, Mike Newlin and Jim Peterson.
Having weathered the storms of its tumultuous
past, the Galveston Country Club looks forward to its second
century – one certain to be filled with promise and