Muncie’s First Golf Course Part 2
1925 began with some changes for the Minnetrista Golf Course. On Monday January 26th, Mr. & Mrs. Frank C. Ball and Mr. and Mrs. Edmund B. Ball signed over the land for Muncie’s first municipal golf course to the local Y.M.C.A. At the same time, Mr. & Mrs. George A. Ball conveyed the deed to the Walnut Street Baseball Park to the Y.M.C.A. Together, the two pieces of land became known as the Ball Recreation Field.
Since the directors of the Minnetrista Golf Club were all members of the “Y,“ a combined committee of Club and Y.M.C.A. directors decided that Minnetrista Golf Club would continue to supervise the course. It was also decided that Roy Byrd would continue as the pro.
In both 1925 and 1926, changes were made to the course. It went from a par 34 course to par 32. Tees were changed, traps were moved, fairways were shortened or lengthened, but the fact still remained that the course was often crowded. Its unquestionable success was creating a problem.
To address this situation, a committee composed of Joseph Meredith and Ray Sowers of the Minnetrista Golf Club and E. Kinney Miller, general secretary of the “Y,” was formed in February 1927, to acquire more land for the course.
An answer was soon forthcoming. On Wednesday April 27th, Frank Ball presented Hibbitts Field to the Y.M.C.A. The Ball Brothers’ gift of 15 acres was located on North Walnut, just south of the golf course. It had once been the site of the Hibbitts Mill Company’s flour mill, which was torn down in 1918.
At first, an 18-hole course was under consideration, but that would not relieve the crowding on the course. An enlarged 9-hole course was the answer. Plans were drawn up by Will Diddle of Indianapolis, with the assistance of club pro Roy Byrd. Ball Brothers agreed to finance the construction of the new course; George Ball gave the go ahead on November 21, 1927. Construction started the following day.
The new course would stretch over 3,000 yards, featuring elevated greens and tees, three dog legs, new traps and lengthened fairways. The willows on the north boundary would be retained; they helped keep balls from going into the river.
The dedication of the new Ball Recreational Field Golf Course was set for August 14, 1928. After the obligatory speeches, Frank C. Ball drove the first ball from the first tee. Following that, an 18-hole exhibition match took place between Guy Paulsen, an Indiana state open champion; Bill Tinder, a professional golfer from Anderson; Neal McIntyre, 1927 Indiana state open champion; and Roy Byrd, club pro. Paulsen won the match with a 2-over-par 72.
Even though the course had a new name, many people continued to call it the Minnetrista Golf Course. The Y.M.C.A sold it to School City of Muncie in March 1952, for $50,000. It was scheduled to be converted into a variety of recreational fields until a new high school could be built.
Aerial view of fairgrounds with the Minnetrista Golf Course in the foreground
Aerial view of downtown Muncie with the Minnetrista Golf Course in the foreground
The Muncie Y.M.C.A.
Three dapper young men ready for a game of golf