How the club was founded is told well by Ruby Phillips Bram in the following excerpt from a chapter in her forthcoming book, "The Story of Salina". The September 23rd, 1922 issue of Collier's Weekly Magazine carried an article "How Golf Came to Salina". It was illustrated with a picture of the clubhouse which was almost the exact replica of the one in use in 1967. One balmy spring day the Baptist minister was chatting with D. W. Cowden, who was complaining of not feeling well, and he suddenly exclaimed "You need golf. Ever play it ?" "No, I haven't," responded Mr. Cowden. "Have you?" "Lots," said the minister. "Say, you come with me this afternoon. We'll go out in the country to some nice smooth pasture and try a few shots. I have a set of clubs." They went ... The next day Mr. Cowden sent for clubs and the two men went to Oakdale Park, laying out three holes with tomato cans sunk in the ground for cups. Senator J. L. Bristow and Bishop Griswold heard about it and went over to the park when Mr. Cowden and the minister were knocking the ball about over the rough ground. Something about it got them. When they returned to town they hailed R. P. Cravens, the first man they saw, and told him about the game, ending with "Let's lay out a golf course somewhere in Salina."
Prairie Dog Holes
ohn Eberhardt, Fred Shellabarger and others were consulted. The Anderson pasture and Tom White hill -- the location of the present Country Club -- were mentioned and a crowd of these early day golf bugs went out to look the ground over. It had a thick sward of buffalo grass in which prairie dogs had already sunk a generous supply of holes.
A few weeks later at a meeting in the Farmer's National Bank -- the present First National Bank and Trust Co. -- the Salina Country Club was born. On February 4th, 1911, a charter was issued to the ten directors appointed for one year, W. P. Cravens, Fred S. Abel, John J. Eberhardt, P. D. Shellbarger, C. A. Lee, Charles L. Schartz, D. J. Hanna, F. C. Bulkley, W. D. Stevenson, George M. Watson. It had a captial stock of $25,000.00 divided into 200 shares of $100 a share. Over one hundred members purchased one share apiece.
For the clubhouse, costing $12,600 with $2,400 extra for furniture and fixtures, native rock quarried from the grounds was used for the foundation, porch piers and great stone fireplaces.
When completed, it presented a commanding position high on the hill east of the city, an attractive landmark to be seen by all people passing through Salina on the train. The closest building was the home of Dand A. Van Trine on West Iron, which is now owned by John Simpson.
The formal opening was held July 27th, 1912. The committee in charge of the brillliant affair was Raymond Geis, Dr. E. Paul Bucke, Ray Gebhardt and Charles Lee. Gleaming with gas and electric lights and lavishly decorated with green plants, each room was shown to the 300 members and their guests. Young ladies served frappe or icecream and cake on the screened porch on the north side of the house.
Five months after the club house was finished, December 19th, 1912, J. J. Eberhardt, Mac Stevenson and Walter Cravens were appointed by the Board of Directors to lay out an 18 hole golf course. After finishing this they had the road graded and the water systems installed. The response was 100 percent.
The big thing that golf brought to Salina was a strengthening community spirit -- East and West sides worked together as one.