American Author and Humorist Mark Twain once described the game of golf as “a good walk spoiled.” If that is the case, the Blackford Golf Club is prepared to spoil many good walks this year. The golf course which is located on the West side of Hartford City at 1605 West Water Street, was opened in the 1920’s. Originally a 9 hole course, the back nine holes were added in June of 1998.
The history of golf in Hartford City dates back to the turn of the century. In local newspapers from the 1890’s there are several accounts of efforts to start a golf club. The Blackford Social Club was formed in the 1890’s. At the time, nearly twenty trains per day connected Hartford City to many points such as Chicago, Cincinnati, and New York. Many of Hartford City’s business men expressed interest in creating a golf club in April of 1901. At the time they did not feel that the economy was strong enough to allow them to leave their businesses to take a summer vacation and that a golf club in town would provide them some warm weather entertainment.
By May of 1901, around 15 members had formed a club and elected the following officers: President, Fred Swaim; Secretary, Pierce Schaeffer; and Treasurer, Roll Willman. Members secured links near the Hartford City paper mill and began practicing the game. A golf course was once located on the South side of Hartford City near the present day Amvets location.
What became of this original club is uncertain. The current club’s origins date back to 1919 when Charles Leonard and James P. Moffet began investigating the possibility of establishing a country club. The construction of the course began in the 1920’s mostly with horse drawn equipment donated by Mr. Stimson of the Renner Stock Farm.
The original clubhouse, which makes up the core of the current clubhouse was constructed with bricks salvaged from the American Window Glass Factory that was shut down earlier that year due to the depletion of natural gas.
For many years, the Wimmer family’s home was located right in the middle of the course. The water pump near the number three green is all that remains of the home. Many of the Club’s older members can recall getting a drink from the pump when the well was still there.
The course doubled in size in June of 1998. On June 27, 1998, a Grand Opening Ceremony and Ribbon cutting was held for the new back nine holes that were built by Ralph Biggs. The course was designed by Architect George Young. Then Mayor Opal Lord presided over the ceremonies which included public tours and a luncheon prepared on an outdoor grill, and a prize drawing.
The Blackford Golf Club is currently owned by Troy Batten. Brian Watson is the Club’s Superintendent. The Blackford Golf Club is managed by Cynthia Flint. the club’s new Bar Manager is Jenny Dailey.
The Blackford Golf Club’s bar is a full bar that is now open to the public from 5:00 PM until closing every night except Sundays and Wednesdays. The bar features weekend drink specials, as well as snacks and sandwiches, and chicken strips. The shop at the clubhouse sells gloves, hats, shirts, and balls.
The Club is also open for golfing depending on the weather conditions. The course in no longer for members only. Weekday rates for non members are $6.00 for 9 holes or $12.00 for 18 holes for those who are walking. If you wish to use a golf cart, the price increases to $14.00 for 9 holes or $22.00 fro 18 holes. Weekend rates for non members are $10.00 for 9 holes and $14.00 for 18 holes for those who wish to walk. Those wishing to use a cart on weekends will be charged $17.00 for 9 holes and $25.00 for 18 holes. Golfers under the age of 15 will be charged $8.00 per 9 holes with an adult golfer. Any non-golfing rider will be charged $8.00 per 9 holes. Children under 5 are free to ride and play with an eligible player. On Wednesdays, the Club offers a special rate for members of the military. They may play 18 holes with a cart for only $16.00. Anyone wishing to operate a golf cart must have a valid driver’s license.
Memberships to the club are also available. The cost is $375.00 per year for a single and $575.00 per year for a couple. Those under 18 can purchase a membership for $50.00 per year with an adult. Cart fees for members are $7.00 for 9 holes and $14.00 for 18 holes.
The semi-private Blackford Golf Club is an 18 hole 6168 yard course with a par of 72 and a slope of 114. The Golf Course operates under the rules of the United States Golf Association. No outside coolers are permitted and all alcoholic beverages must be purchased in the clubhouse. Blackford Golf Club offers terrific views and challenging play for golfers at every skill level. Well-groomed fairways and greens keep the Blackford Golf Club difficult yet friendly, and the staff can offer tips and tricks for playing your best round.
Those wishing to have their “good walk spoiled,” or maybe those just looking to enjoy a few drinks with their friends in a fun atmosphere should give them a try. For further details, check out their Facebook page or phone (765) 348-0700.