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Club History


The Bass Rocks Golf Club was started in 1896 by a group of Bass Rocks summer residents who rented the land in the area surrounded by Beach Road, Moorland Road, Souther Road, and Nautilus Road. This area is known as "The Meadows" and is currently used for our 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th holes. The rental fee was based on the value of the hay crop that would normally have grown there.

The first six-hole course was laid out by Alex Findlay, a Scottish golfer who worked as a salesman for a sporting goods company. This job entailed the planning of golf courses to increase the sales of golf equipment.

The original course was known as the Intervale Links. Subsequently Madison Mott Cannon, Gloucester's City Engineer, designed a new nine-hole course. 

At a dedication of the new nine-hole course in June of 1904, a flag was raised proclaiming it to be the Bass Rocks Golf Links. The membership was about 250. In 1905, with increasing membership and more golf and social functions, it became evident that a more structured organization was in order and the Bass Rocks Golf Club was incorporated for the "purpose of encouraging athletic exercises and the establishment and maintenance of places for social meetings." A formal lease was entered into with the landowners, The Souther Estate. In 1909 the clubhouse was built and the rent increased.

More land was leased from the Souther Estate and the course was increased to 18 holes in 1913. Designed by Herbert Corey Leeds, who also designed the original Essex County Club (since redone by Donald Ross and modified by E.F. Wogan), a new 18-hole course began to take shape at Bass Rocks. Leeds also designed and maintained the Myopia Hunt Club course until his death in 1930.

Henry Souther, the landowner, died in 1917 and the Souther Land Trust informed the club of its planned liquidation of assets. The lease would not extend beyond 1922. The club then sold $150,000 worth of bonds to 60 members and purchased the land, buildings, and equipment in 1923. During the next nine years the bonds were being retired and interest was paid. The Depression stopped any further payments and by 1936 interest of $21,804 remained unpaid on outstanding bonds.

The club, having survived both World Wars I and II, considered bankruptcy on several occasions. In 1956 a new reorganization committee was formed and by planning, cajoling, and maintaining a few token payments, managed to retire the debt in 1967. Forty-four years of indebtedness had ended.

The past 32 years have seen an increasing interest in golf and a full membership of 500 that accepts the need for dues increases. In 1990 a proposal to borrow $1,200,000 and eliminate the 12th, 13th, and 14th holes (which dangerously abut public roads), replace them with three new holes, and irrigate the entire course, was narrowly defeated. In 1996 this concept was resoundingly passed by the membership and in 1999 three new holes, a fully irrigated course with holding pond, a practice area, and more parking were completed. The extensive design changes were done by Philip Wogan.