Muncie’s First Golf Course Part 1
In September 1920, there was a growing interest in Muncie for the construction of a municipal golf course. A suggestion was made to the Board of Park Commissioners that land to the north of Highland Avenue in McCulloch Park could be used for a six- or nine-hole course.
By the following year, when no action was taken, the Dynamo Club appointed a committee to begin planning for a municipal course. But by August 28, 1922, when still no action had been taken, an editorial appeared in the Muncie Evening Press entitled, “Where’s That City Golf Course?” It went on to state:
“Golf in Muncie seems to be entirely a Country Club sport, reserved for the comparatively few members of that organization. There are many…tired and retired business men living here, and the question regarding the new course has been heard a number of times recently.”
Fortunately, the Ball brothers, once again, stepped in to lend a hand. On March 7, 1906, Frank Ball had finalized a deal with Harry Wysor for the purchase of about 40 acres of land located south and east of the White River and west of Walnut Street, on the present site of Muncie Central High School. Because the land was prone to flooding, the brothers didn’t want it used for industrial or residential purposes. Instead, they later decided to give the use of the land for a municipal golf course.
In the summer of 1923, with work begun on the course, the Dynamo Club began accepting memberships in the new Minnetrista Golf Club: $25.00 for men and $15.00 for women. Within a month they were approaching the limit of 200 memberships. The bunkers and traps for the nine-hole course, which would be 2,297 yards long, were constructed in fall 1923. At the same time, the ground was seeded with grass.
To help with funding, the Chamber of Commerce approved the Dynamo Club’s project to publish a book on Muncie. The proceeds would go to the new municipal course.
With the opening set for Saturday May 31, 1924, there was a flurry of activity in May. The new triplex mower arrived and began grooming the fairways. The construction of the shelter house and pro shop began. And kudos were being tossed to John Batt who was in charge of construction and care of the greens. Roy Byrd was chosen as the club pro, and the stakes for yardage and par at each hole were made by students at Muncie Central.
At 1:30 PM on the big day, a large gallery watched Club president Roy Thomas drive the first ball from the first tee. This was followed by the first match between Roy Byrd and Jock Collins, pro at the Delaware Country Club. Collins shot a 38 on the par 34 course and Byrd shot a 43.
The Minnetrista Golf Club was an instant success. Between June 1st and August 22nd, 2,750 people played the course.
Minnetrista Golf Club looking toward downtown Muncie
Paul Harrold swinging a golf club
Roy Thomas, president of the Minnetrista Golf Club. Roy Thomas, Lester Milligan and Frank Harrold drew up the rules and served as the Greens Committee for the new course
Lester Milligan, member of Dynamo Club
Frank E. Harrold, Member of Dynamo Club
Book produced by the Dynamo Club to fund the Minnetrista Golf Club. The Dynamo Club was the predecessor of the Junior Chamber of Commerce
Clipping from the Star Press here