The Country Club of New Bedford had long claimed that Donald Ross was the man who designed our relatively short but very challenging course. Like many golf courses in America that also claim him as their architect, there remained an air of uncertainty about CCNB truly owning that distinction.
Late in the Fall of 2016, I set out to prove that Donald Ross was the golf course architect responsible for the design of our golf course. Thinking that this should be a relatively simple task, I soon discovered that historical proof is not always easily found.
Initially, my quest for information led me to the Minutes of the Board of Governors meetings, which date from the inception of our course in 1902. These Minutes somehow survived the fire that destroyed the clubhouse on October 30, 1922. If there were any other records that survived this fire they appear to have been lost over time. As an example of how limited the information contained in those recordings is, there is no direct mention of that fire in the Minutes. There is, however, a notation that members were assessed for the funds necessary to rebuild on 12/4/22. *23
My search for answers in the Minutes hit an immediate snag. Donald Ross is credited in multiple publications with redesigning our original nine-hole links course into the current eighteen-hole golf course in 1924. I found that there is absolutely no mention of Mr. Ross whatsoever in the Board of Governors Minutes of 1924. What is found in the 1924 Minutes is a reference to then member Minor Wilcox receiving free dues over a five year period for having supervised the course construction.
Next I tried 1923. No mention of either Donald Ross or Minor Wilcox was found. Not knowing where else to begin I decided to start from the earliest Minutes in 1902 when the Country Club of New Bedford was incorporated.
Board Minutes tend to be abbreviated notes lacking the kind of detail that any real historian would crave - as illustrated above by the lack of any mention of the 1922 fire. Unfortunately, they remain the only historical documents that I was able to locate at CCNB.
In the course of reading those Minutes, I became entranced with the history of the Country Club of New Bedford and the city itself. I discovered that the information I gleaned by reading them led me down a path where I soon found myself lost in history. I was so fascinated with what I learned along the way that I thought it was worthy of sharing.
What follows are some of the details I have uncovered about the history of the Country Club of New Bedford during the course of my research.
I hope the reader enjoys my journey as much as I did.
L. Michael Gouveia, DMD