Shelridge begins 7th decade of links action

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 7 July 2020 at 8:58 am

Contributed Photos – Now beginning its seventh decade of links competition the Shelridge Country Club’s first nine holes were constructed in 1959. The course opened for competition in 1960. Here workers grade one of the fairways.

Slowed at the start by restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Shelridge County Club’s season is now well underway, a season which marks the start of the club’s seventh decade of links activity.

Planning for the course began in 1958 when a group of local golf enthusiasts formed the Medina Golf Association.

And the list of inaugural club officers, directors and committee chairman reads like a who’s who of local businessman and professionals at the time.

Robert Waters served as the  first club president. The other officers included John Zimmerman (head of the Development Committee), Joe Brundage and Van Hungerford.

The seven Directors included Bernard Hart, Robertson Vosler, John Garlock, R.L. Walters, Barbara Balcerzak, John Lapp Sr. and Paul Parsons.

Committees on membership, bylaws and development included Carl Tuohey, Knud Hansen, Walter Hilger, Henry Pollard, Rolland Birch, Harvey Robbins, John Lapp Jr., Robert Balcerzak, Dr. Fulton Rogers and Fred Benson Jr.

In 1959 the course was named the Shelridge Country Club, one of the names suggested by members, because the course runs through both the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway.

Although it was planned from the start as an 18 hole course only the first nine holes were developed at the start.

During construction, the first nine holes were tested for yardage and hazard placement. Here Stafford Club Pro George Myers tests out the yardage becoming the first player to “play” the new course.

The construction of those first nine holes took place in 1959. During that work tests were done on yardage for the proposed holes and hazard placement. In conducting those yardage tests Stafford Club Pro George Myers had the distinction of playing the first “round” at the site.

The course was officially opened on Sunday June 12, 1960 and Carl Tuohey and Joe Brundage were the first to tee off. However, John Lapp Sr. had the honor of playing the first round on the newly completed course during a Grounds Committee inspection the Friday before. In all some 150 rounds of golf were played that first week.

The inaugural event was a Husband-Wife Scotch Foursome Tournament which saw a tie between Helen and Walter Levanduski and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Broom.

Highlighting that first season was the crowning of Walter Levanduski as the men’s club champion and Mrs. Edward  Slack as the women’s club champion.  Interestingly, Levanduski’s win was a memorable 56 hole marathon victory over Edward Slack which went 20 holes over the then regulation 36 holes.

The organizers dream of having Shelridge become an 18 hole course became a reality in 1985 when the back nine holes were constructed. That work was done by skilled landscaper and course developer Horace Smith.

Another major project was the conversion of the large old barn on the property into a club house and pro shop replacing the small building created the first year by members at the east end of the course near the then Apple Grove Inn.

It has been six decades of steady growth and development for the course which Waters, on the occasion of the course’s 50th anniversary, well stated that “It’s the story of volunteerism at its best, a real community effort. We were playing golf out of town and we really wanted a local course so we decided let’s give it a shot. We just kept putting one foot in front of the other.”