Golf in Kirksville has an extensive history and the Kirksville Country Club has been at the center of it for more than 90 years.
Here is a look at some of the key moments in the history of the Kirksville Country Club, as recorded by the Kirksville Daily Express and detailed in the book, “A History of Kirksville Country Club” by Frank V. Colton.
Feb. 3, 1921
The Kirksville Country Club organized during a meeting at the Adair County Courthouse. The first officers were Judge J.A. Cooley, president; R.N. Howell, vice president; N.E. Winn, secretary; and directors J.A. Cooley, C.C. Givens, Warner Mills, Lou Garges, Karl Miller, S.H. Ellison, D.I. Stephenson and A.C. Bigsby.
The club’s temporary home was a nine-hole course on land known as “Charlie’s Pasture,” which was owned by Dr. Charles E. Still and located near Ray Drive, north of W. Michigan Street.
June 9, 1921
The Adair County Circuit Court granted a decree of incorporation to the Kirksville Country Club.
Aug. 11, 1921
The Kirksville Country Club plan folds after a number of original members dropped out.
Sept. 22, 1922
The Kirksville Country Club incorporates again and establishes by-laws. The club purchased 80 acres from J.A. Milstead for $15,000. The land was along what was then known as “La Plata Road,” which is today Baltimore Street. The farm house already located on the land would serve as the first clubhouse.
Oct. 30, 1922
The Kirksville Daily Express reports “Kirksville’s first real golf tournament” was held at the “Charlie’s Pasture” course. Todd Kirk won the tournament with a score of 92.
June 24, 1923
The first golf match was played at the Kirksville Country Club’s new course, located along “La Plata Road.” The nine-hole course measured 2,711 yards with a par of 33. All but the course’s second hole were arranged in an east-west fashion.
The first match was a team event pitting Kirksville players against those from Unionville. The score, as reported in the June 25, 1923 Kirksville Daily Express, was Unionville 34, Kirksville 17. Individual scores were: Kirksville, Sermon, 100; Vanskike, 104; Dr. Earl Laughlin, 100; S.W. Arnold, 108; Dr. Turman, 106; S.H. Ellison, 115. Unionville, Lewis, 104; Hunsaker 110; McCalmut, 108; Ratsford, 95; Martin 97; Farrance, 106.
The Kirksville Country Club was redesigned with a new nine-hole layout. The layout utilized land that bordered Highway 6.
May 1, 1935
Kirksville Country Club President Ralph Lehr arranged for Olin Dutra, the 1934 U.S. Open champion, and Jimmy Thomson, a golf champion in Australia who would finish second in both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in 1935 and 1936, respectively, to play a match at the club. They played against Kirksville Country Club champion Sam Arnold and Illinois amateur champion Larry Moeller. Dutra shot a 68, Thomson shot a 71, Arnold had a 75 and Moeller carded a 77.
The Kirksville Country club’s nine-hole layout was redesigned for a third time. The new course asked players to drive the ball over water on the sixth hole, the first time the course had utilized its lake in such fashion.
Dec. 3, 1959
An overnight fire destroyed the Kirksville Country Club clubhouse, which had been constructed in the late 1920s to replace the old farmhouse.
The Kirksville Country Club begins construction on its new clubhouse.
The Kirksville Country Club purchases 80 acres of land owned by Louis “Pete” Anesi at an expense of $40,000. The land was located to the east of the existing club property and was purchased for future development.
An 11-acre lake to be used as a water source for the fairways was constructed on the newly-purchased land at a cost of $7,800.
Dec. 18, 1984
The Kirksville Country Club membership approved a plan to sell part of its land on the southwest portion of its property and use the proceeds to develop a new 18-hole course.
Sept. 10, 1985
The Kirksville Country Club breaks ground on its new course, designed by Clete Idoux.
Aug. 9, 1986
The new Kirksville Country Club course, its fourth design, opens. The layout is the same that the club uses today, which stretches 6,418 yards from the blue tees. The course is a par 71.
Aug. 15, 1999
Bryan Daniels shoots a 64, the lowest 18-hole score in Kirksville Country Club history. The course-record round included seven birdies and not a single bogie.
July 2, 2012
Jen Lawson shoots a 67, the lowest 18-hole score by a woman in Kirksville Country Club history. Her record round featured three birdies and eagles on the eighth and 13th holes.
The Kirksville Country Club purchased nine acres of land for construction of a new lake to the north of the existing golf course. The additional lake is to be used to provide better irrigation for the course.
Article: Jason Hunsicker