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A Brief History of the Woodstock Golf Club

SINCE 1929

The Woodstock Golf Club, originally called the Woodstock Country Club, opened in the spring of 1929. The founders' short-lived vision of an 18-hole course, tennis courts, and a posh clubhouse succumbed to the Depression, but the club survived—the name was changed in 1980—and continues to thrive.


Since the beginning of the 20th century, the town of Woodstock has been known as the Colony of the Arts. Fittingly, artists have played a prominent role in the life of the golf club since its inception. Among the local artists who were members of the club in the 1930s and beyond were the landscape painter John F. Carlson, who was a founder of the Woodstock Artists Association; the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and facetious "inventor" Rube Goldberg; the influential painter Charles Rosen, who was a vice president of the club in the early 1930s; and Anton Otto Fischer, a noted illustrator of books and magazines and a painter of landscapes and seascapes, whose works today grace the walls of the clubhouse.


The nine-hole course today makes the same roughly circular, counterclockwise sweep, with a back-and-forth jog in the middle, that it did in the beginning. Bounded by Route 375 (known in 1929 as the Kingston Road), Birch Lane, the Sawkill Creek, and Route 212, the course measures 5,456 yards and plays to a par 70 for 18 holes. The course was originally designed by Ralph Twitchell.


On September 4, 2012, 16-year-old Ethan DeForest, a high school junior, shattered the competitive course record of 63 by shooting a stunning 10-under-par 60 en route to winning the amateur division in the 77th Woodstock Open. Ethan’s historic round included two eagles, seven birdies, and a single bogey. Also in the Open field that day was Ethan’s father, John DeForest, a longtime golf professional from the area, who was one of four men who held the previous course record.

Less than one year later the course record would fall again as Club Pro Judd Noto would shoot an astounding 11 under 59. Noto eagled his second shot (from the fairway on the par-4 15th) and he had all birdies up to that point. Noto was as surprised as anyone with the record round, which featured six birdies and an eagle on his 8-under 27 back nine, and three more birdies on the 3-under 32 front nine -- their second nine.


The Woodstock Open is reportedly the longest-running U.S. golf tournament held at the same course and open to both amateurs and professionals. The legendary Gene Sarazen competed twice in the Open in the 1960s, remarkably failing to win either time. Golfers at Woodstock are challenged not only by the Sawkill Creek, which comes directly into play on the finishing hole, a long par 3, but also by rugged rock ledges, stately trees, and ponds that are home to waterfowl and native vegetation. The historic clubhouse, with its outdoor deck, overlooks the rushing Sawkill and offers a view of the first tee and fairway, making it a perfect place to relax, before or after a round of golf.

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