Golf apparently was a bit of a novelty in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1899 — the year the Washtenaw Golf Club was founded. The club began as a three hole course in July of 1899 on property leased from a local farmer.
Not long after it’s beginning, one of the players heading to the course with his clubs was mistaken for an umbrella repair man. From the Detroit Free Press, August 17, 1899:
A Story For Golf PlayersDetroit Free Press, August 17, 1899
J.D. Ryan is amusing his friends with a good joke on Henry Platt of Ypsilanti, says the Washtenaw Times. “The other day,” said Mr. Ryan, “Hank was going out to the golf links. He had his sticks in their bag and the outfit was gracefully thrown over his shoulder. On his way he had to pass a house where an elderly lady lives. As she saw Hank and his golf implements, she hailed him and then called out to somebody in the house: ‘John get that old umbrella that needs mending. Here’s a man that’ll fix it up'”
Golf is no novelty these days, as Michigan has more than 800 courses and tens of thousands of golfers. No one would mistake a golfer with his bag for a tinker. The game has become part of our national fabric.
Some things don’t change, however. After all these years, the Washtenaw Golf Club is still in operation. A private club for many years, it recently was bought by Michigan Golf Hall-of-Famer Dave Kendall and is open to the public.
Washtenaw Golf Club is a beautiful old-school course that is worth a trip. You can read my Washtenaw Golf Club review at the link. (In fact, read all of GolfBlogger’s Michigan Golf Course Reviews here.)