CLARK SHOULD KNOW; he’s worked on the grounds staff of nine
Major Golf Championships and four PGA TOUR events.
No. 3 may be the best of the aforementioned three. It is a 211-yard par
3 from the back tees, with a narrow opening in front guarded by a pair of
bunkers. Its green slopes ever so slightly front to back at the front third
of the green while the back slopes slightly back to front. With the trees
now removed from behind the green, the blue tinge of the distant hills
becomes prevalent. It’s a striking hole.
Clark’s statement is bold for sure. But West Shore’s pedigree has made
it a must-see in an area that sports well-regarded clubs like the Country
Club of Harrisburg, Colonial Country Club and at the far reaches the
Country Club of York.
The original nine holes was designed by George Morris. Morris’
great uncle was Old Tom Morris. Yes. That Tom Morris. The one recognized as the father of modern greenskeeping, an accomplished golfer
and a legendary course designer in the British Isles in the late 1800s.
Morris completed the first three holes (today’s Nos. 1-2-9) in 1929.
The full nine holes opened on May 3, 1930 – the same day Gallant
Fox won the Kentucky Derby and went on to become the second
Triple Crown winner.
Soon thereafter, conversations began to purchase the Brinton Farm
adjoining the property to the north to create another nine holes. The purchase finally took place in June 1935. A resolution to employ an architect
at a cost not to exceed $200 was abandoned by the club after a dues
increase was halted by membership. At a 1936 board meeting, Greens
Committee Chair M.E. Moyer submitted a development plan. He is credited with the design and golf professional /superintendent Jack Norrie with
supervising the project’s construction. The second nine opened in 1939.
Tabor, who also served as the superintendent, headed the next stage
of West Shore’s course development. During his 35-year tenure, Tabor
rebuilt every green and expanded or added 62 bunkers. He had no
formal golf course architecture training but worked with John Davidson at
Wanango Country Club in Dubois, Pa. prior to West Shore. Davidson had
been a senior foreman for Donald Ross. Tabor became a Ross savant. He
also was influenced by Dick Wilson of Pinehurst fame as well as drawing
from the courses he played. Wilmington Country Club is one mentioned
that caught his fancy.
In 2002, a bunker renovation project started under the eye of then
up-and-coming architect Gil Hanse. This phase consisted of a complete
rebunkering, recontouring of fairways, tree removal and establishment of
native grass areas.
“The course layout works with the wonderful terrain in many impres-
sive aspects,” said Hanse at the time. “The topography with numerous
natural features allows the course to be skillfully routed and provides a
sold framework for the golf course.”
Recently, as stated earlier, Green has assisted the club with bunker
work and the creation of a Master Plan.
The most recent transformation at the club is the result of a 2011
project to install a state-of-the-art irrigation system. The club went from
460 heads to 1,700. Ironically, the club measured a record 83 inches of
rain the year it was installed. The irrigation system is a three-row unit
with the ability to water rough only around the fairways and the greens
as well as any part of the course when needed. Clark said more than 750
trees have been removed in his nine years at the club.
“The sky is still the limit with the course,” said Clark.
It’s nice to have an upside after 90 years. m