HISTORY OF THE KALONA GOLF CLUB

 

Born in the spring of 1928 on land that was formerly a cornfield and pasture owned by Ulysses Grant Snyder.  The course was originally laid out by Dr. Walter Gingerich, a Chiropractor; Rollin H. Peterseim, a barber and undertaker; assisted by an out-of-town golfer named Jack Anderson who was married to Vera Stumpf of Kalona.  Among the original members were: H.V. Beck, Bert Britton, Dr. J.L. Fry, Ivo Grady, E.J. Hesselschwerdt, Virgil Hochstetler, Ora Rogers, Fred Skola, Weller Snyder, L.C. Stillwell, Frosty Stickler, Frank Swartzendruber - Sec'y, Harvey "Peck" Swartzendruber, Joe Swartzendruber, Everett Teets, Gerald Teets, and Lyle J. Zehr.

 

The original membership fee was $5.00 per person with green fees of 25 cents.  Frankie Swartzendruber, a victim of infantile paralysis, was the Secretary and ran the pro shop--which was his old Plymouth sedan from which he took in green fees, sold balls and other supplies.  He had an old wash machine tub with water and a chunk of ice for the pop machine at 5 cents a bottle.  Golf balls sold for 25 and 50 cents and were something you tried to hang on to.  There was a nameplate that could print the whole name on the ball and if it was lost and subsequently found it would be put into the ball box and returned to its original owner.

 

The fairways were mown with a horse-drawn mower and sometimes the fellows would bring their hand-push reel mowers to help out.  They had a 2-hole toilet.

 

Most of the players had only 3 or 4 clubs; One wood, mid iron, a mashie and a putter.  Some golfer who wanted to show off came up with a wood driver, wood brassie and a wood spoon and then a driving iron, a mid iron, a mashie and a putter.  Any golfer that amounted to anything would go "Bobby Jones" style and would wear knickers, either plus fours or plus-sixes, and usually a flat cap.  Golf shoes were mostly tennis shoes or shoes with spikes put in.

 

There were no golf carts and there were no real bridges.  If you played golf you walked and you jumped the ditches.  Someone came up with some lumber so they put 2 planks together and made some narrow walk bridges to get across the water.  At one time Walt Ledman took a team of horses and a slip scraper and built a dam so there was a nice water hole until a heavy rain took care of the dam.

 

The maintenance of the course was first taken care of by the members.  Members built bridges, planted trees, built up the tees and laid a lot of sod.  It was a real Community Golf Club which was re-organized in 1946 when stock was sold for $50 a share. 

 

The sand greens were replaced by bent grass and the course was expanded to its current configuration by noted golf architect Edward Lockie and re-opened in 1984.