Yardley Country Club
|Golf Professional||John Shapcott||(215) 493-4531|
|Architect||Alexander H. Findlay|
|Tee Sheet||Front 9||Back 9||Course|
The father of golf at Yardley was Edward A. Rembe, a prominent local resident who used to take his children horseback riding at the Harper farm. He thought that the land would make good golf holes, and he broached his idea to Jesse E. Harper, who owned the land, Colonel Stephen H. Barlow, and Counselor William A. Moore. They were equally enthusiastic, and the Yardley Country Club was soon incorporated (curiously enough, under the laws of New Jersey).
In early April, 1928, the first officers were elected: George A. Maguire, president; Algernon Cadwallader, vice president; Colonel Barlow, treasurer; Counselor Moore, who had prepared the papers of incorporation, secretary. In addition to these officers, the members of the original board were Jesse Harper, Colonel David Hill, Newton A. K. Bugbee, Herbert Bradley, D. William Scammell, Arthur E. Noon, Ridgeway E. Moon, Francis M. Walker, Henry W. Comfort, Thomas B. Stockham (mayor of Morrisville), and the man who started it all, Edward Rembe. These men and a number of others bought shares of stock in the club that afforded them “life member” privileges. With the proceeds from the stock sale, the club acquired the Harper farm, which included on its 131 acres a three-story 18th-century dwelling with walls of stone that, in places, were 20 inches thick. Don Delaney, a Trenton Times reporter, recalled it affectionately many years later: “. . . . the 200-year-old clubhouse was… much too small for social affairs and its locker room facilities were primitive. But it had a homey quality, an intimate coziness…. Sitting on its screened-in porch with a bottle of beer was a perfect way to wind up a round of golf on a hot summer da
200-year-old residence that served as Yardley’s first clubhouse, from 1928 to 1968.
Frederick A. Findlay, Scottish-born golf professional/greenkeeper/golf course architect and brother of Alex Findlay, was chosen to create the course. Because most of the acreage covered the higher expanse of a wide and gentle hill, drainage was not a problem. A fine landscape artist who worked instinctively by feel, Findlay had no time for blueprints, claiming that the land was his drawing board. He moved as little earth as possible.
The course—6,325 yards from the back tees then and much the same length today—was formally opened for play on April 29,1929. One newspaper account noted that while Yardley Country Club’s course “is open to the public, it is not a strictly public links in every sense of the word. More than 100 life memberships have already been issued to many of the best-known golfers of Trenton….”
The highlight of the 1930 season at Yardley was an exhibition match pitting Gene Sarazen and Johnny Farrell (1928 U.S. Open champion) against Yardley’s head professional, Al Nelson, and his assistant (and brother-in-law) Marcus Greer (three-time club champion at Cobbs Creek and runner-up to Woody Platt in the 1922 Philadelphia Amateur). Local knowledge did not help the home team. A warmup nine-hole match—better ball of partners—saw Farrell and Sarazen, who himself fired four birdies and unleashed a 350-yard drive on the 8th, win every hole but the 6th. After lunch, with the stars each shooting 73 and teaming for a better ball of four-under-par 68, the host pair was again outclassed. Still, the gallery of some 400, including New Jersey’s Governor Morgan F. Larson, had witnessed plenty of sparkling shotmaking. And the young club, by staging the exhibition and earning the attendant publicity, had put itself prominently on the golfing map.