DuPont Country Club
|Golf Professional||John Burke, III||(302) 421-1702|
|General Manager||Dan Bradway||(302) 421-1702|
|Superintendent||John Klempa||(302) 421-1792|
|Architect||Gordons-DuPont, Cornish & Robinson-Nemours|
|Tee Sheet||Front 9||Back 9||Course|
The same enlightened attitude toward employees prompted the founding of the DuPont Country Club, in 1920. A memorandum from the then president of E.I. duPont de Nemours & Company, Irenee duPont, came right to the point: “The object of this Club is to advance the physical welfare of the employees of the company, to promote social intercourse among the members of the Club, and to maintain a clubhouse and grounds for their use.”
Some seven or eight months prior to this memo, a questionnaire had been circulated among the company’s Wilmington employees inquiring about their choice of activities at the new club. Although golf eventually became the predominant sport, it ranked ninth in the preferences of the 1,793 employees who responded to the survey. Chosen ahead of golf were swimming, tennis, bowling, canoeing, trapshooting, baseball, pool, and basketball. Farther down the list were hammer throwing, croquet, shot putting, and jumping.
Provided at the outset were a baseball diamond, eight tennis courts, and a nine-hole golf course. These facilities occupied approximately 41 acres of land owned by the DuPont Company—rolling and partly wooded terrain embraced by a sweeping curve of the Brandywine Creek. As at Philadelphia Electric, turfgrass for the golf course was not initially a consideration. Here the tees were clay and the greens were sand. The clubhouse was a tiny, two-room frame structure, once used by the DuPont Gun Club, with little more than enough space for a foursome to change clothes. Still, 600 out of the company’s 3,000 local employees wasted no time in joining the club within a few weeks of its opening. And they could scarcely quarrel with the cost: a one-time entrance fee of $10 for men, $5 for ladies, plus annual dues in the same amounts.
In 1923 the club got its first 18-hole course, a completely new layout that made use of the ground containing the original nine plus some 70 additional acres. It also got its first golf professional. Tommy Fisher. One year later, in June, 1924, a handsome new clubhouse opened; it was made of the same Brandywine granite that went into the old powder mills and workers’ homes. With its great hall and massive fireplace, the clubhouse was imposing. It should be noted, however, that the tees were still clay and the greens still sand. Two years later the great conversion took place, so that by 1926 the members of the DuPont Country Club were playing golf on grass. As the future would prove, this was, in truth, simply a prelude to the development of one of the finest full-facilities country clubs—one that included four golf courses at three locations—ever founded and sponsored by a business entity.
DuPont clubhouse that opened in 1924.
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