Discover Our History
From our humble beginnings in 1891 through today, The Country Club of Indianapolis is Indianapolis’ top-notch private golf and recreation club, brimming with tradition. For over 130 years, the goal has been to provide exceptional facilities and personalized service to our members.
Our CCI Heritage
The Country Club of Indianapolis was born more than 120 years ago on June 4, 1891. It was the first country club in the city and among the earliest in the nation.
Those who formed the club were prominent social and industrial figures in the thriving city of 40,000. Incorporators and members of the first Board of Directors were Chapin C. Foster, William L. Elder, William R. Richards, Ferdinand L. Mayer, William H. Coleman, Charles F. Sayles, Charles E. Collins, Cortland VanCamp, and Horace Bennett.
A remodeled farmhouse where the Woodstock Club is now situated served as the first clubhouse.
It burned November 4, 1904 and was rebuilt only to burn again later.
Back then, a day at the club was a full day. Members took a streetcar from downtown to Mapleton (which now is Illinois Street and Maple Road) for the first leg of the journey. Then they were picked up by the club’s “carry-all”, a wagon-like vehicle with seats along the sides for the last lap of the trip.
Originally, it was not golf, but tennis and enclosed bowling in the clubhouse that attracted members.
Golf Comes to CCI
In 1897, a distinguished member, Alvin S. Lockard, toured the world and discovered golf in India. The popular Scottish game had been introduced there by the British. Mr. Lockard was attracted to the game, and upon his return to Indianapolis, purchased a set of “sticks” and balls from Charles Mayer & Co.
Two golf holes were constructed, and an annual fee of $1 was charged to interested members.
Later, as the popularity of golf increased, enough ground was leased for a 9-hole course. Mr. Lockard assumed most of the expense.
The enclosed bowling alley was converted into a locker room. A shop was built to accommodate Arthur Tweedy, Indiana’s first golf professional, who arrived here in 1900 from England where he had been Great Britain’s Junior Amateur Champion.
The Decision to Move
There was not enough land to expand the 9-hole course, and when the clubhouse burned the second time, a decision was made to buy land far enough from the city to warrant the name “Country Club”.
In September 1909, CCI President Roscoe Hawkins was directed by the Board to appoint a committee of five members to consider, select and recommend a site for the new club.
While the committee sought a location, the members voted 218-18 on January 16, 1912 to sell the existing club, investigate the acquisition of a new site, the erection of new buildings and construction of a golf course.
By the spring of 1912, the committee had narrowed its choice to two sites considered adequate for the Club’s purposes.
A Chicago golf architect, Tom Bendelow, was hired to inspect the sites and offer his opinion as to which was more desirable.
The result was the present site, then known as “Barnhill Farm,” a tract of land consisting of 154 acres (plus), located on Crawfordsville Road approximately 8 miles west of the center of Indianapolis.
On June 12, 1912, the land was purchased for $250 an acre for a total of $38, 522. A deed was delivered to the club with the first mortgage payment due on September 5, 1912.
Building a New Club
A month later, on July 8, 1912, the Board authorized President Samuel D. Miller to appoint a general committee to investigate the construction of buildings, tennis courts, a golf course and to do whatever else was necessary to complete and equip the new property for the use of the Club.
First, the general committee had to raise funds to start the project. Sale of the old property netted %50,298.05 (a sale price of $82,000 less than existing mortgage and interest charges). Sixty Life Memberships were offered for $1,000 each. Fifty-nine were sold.
In March 1913, the architectural firm of R.P. Daggett & Co. was retained to submit plans for the clubhouse, a caddie house and servants’ cottage.
The plans were adopted that summer, and contracts were let. Work began in the fall of 1913 and was completed by August 1, 1914.
In 1990, the Board and President David McNamar appointed a Centennial Celebration Committee consisting of past presidents. The committee named Robert E. Donnelly (1985) as Centennial Chairman; James C. Baldauf (1988), Programs, and Justin L. Albers (1973) Coordinator.
All members of the family were treated to scheduled events. During the celebration held in July 1991, women were feted with a luncheon and a golf tournament. Children were entertained by clowns and magicians, and juniors with swimming events. The men held a tournament, and the celebration was topped off with a Saturday evening dinner and dance.
There was extensive local newspaper coverage featuring extensive interviews with President Dick Wetzel, Golf Professional Larry Bianco and Centennial Chairman, Robert Donnelly.
Facility improvements are constant. Some improvements updated buildings and/or systems; others enhanced the beautiful grounds and facilities. These include the practice tee area and swimming pool renovation.
In 1996, the Board and the Membership voted to construct a new clubhouse. The new facility was dedicated for the membership’s enjoyment and use on June 21, 1997.
Responding to member demand, the main dining room was redesigned in 2003 to allow members a full view of our beautiful course. The screened porch was also enclosed at that time to create year round dining in a new Four Seasons room.
Many staff members have been long-time employees. Virginia Hampton came to the Club as a young girl with her father in 1946 and served 48 years as the women’s Locker Room attendant and as a friend and confidant until her retirement on March 1, 1994.
The Tradition Continues
Being a member of CCI always has carried with it a great deal of pride. Everyone associated with the club cares, and it shows.
For most, the core of interest is the golf course, not only a gem to play, but a pleasure to introduce to guests. All members and their families are provided with a fine swimming pool and a clubhouse with scheduled activities all year round.