Golf arrives in Seattle in 1895.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 2/23/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3013
In 1895, the game of golf arrives in Seattle when 12 prominent citizens play a game in the Wallingford (sometimes claimed as Fremont) District. The five short holes are laid out along what would later become Stone Way N in a borrowed pasture. Greens and tees are maintained with a hand mower and the fairways are grazed by dairy cattle. The clubhouse is a tent.

Fifteenth Century Putting

Golf has been variously traced to Scotland and the Netherlands in the fifteenth century. In 1888, John G. Reid, a Scot, organized the first golf club in the United States, at Yonkers, New York. The game became popular among the affluent and by 1890, there were 10 golf clubs in the United States.

In Seattle, Josiah Collins, E. A. Strout, and James "Gillie" Gillium started playing in the pasture in Fremont. In 1900, Collins visited Victoria, B.C. and saw the Oak Bay Club. He was inspired and returned to Seattle and formed the Seattle Golf and Country Club with 53 members. They rented 55 acres of farmland in Laurelhurst from a man named Ferguson and they retained the services of professional golfer John Ball to design a 9-hole course. Ferguson's home became the clubhouse. Players rode the Madison Street cable car to Madison Park where they took a launch across Union Bay to Webster's Point, in Laurelhurst.

In 1908, the club moved to The Highlands, four miles north of Ballard, and it was renamed The Seattle Golf Club. (Note: Some sources place the date of the opening of the Seattle Golf Club at The Highlands as 1907 or 1909, but they appear to be incorrect.)


Sources: Don Sherwood, "Jefferson Park Golf Course," in "Interpretive Essays of the Histories of Seattle's Parks and Playfields," 1977, typescript, Seattle Room, Seattle Public Library; Tim Harville, "Laurelhurst is a good place to move up to," The Seattle Times, April 4, 2009 (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/).

Related Topics:   Firsts | Recreation | Seattle Neighborhoods | Sports

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