Source: VT Golf Magazine | Issue: Summer 1996 | Author: Arthur Ristau
Synopsis: This article is about the Country Club of Barre and how it created the extinction of other surrounding clubs.
The insidious alders have overwhelmed the once lush greensward. They have devoured the remnants of the long-stilled brook, and they clutch at the intruders’ ankles, grudgingly unveiling a severe, leaf-strewn passageway. “Right over there,” Frank Wilson whispered, almost reverently as he brushed back the overhead branches. “See? You can still make it out. That was the first tee.”
Fittingly, the first tee of the Meadow Brook Country Club borders the northwest boundary of Barre’s celebrated Hope Cemetery. The course and the interred nearby are all resting in peace. Meadow Brook is one of the half-dozen formerly flourishing golf courses within a seven-mile radius of central Vermont’s twin cities that, more than half a century ago, challenged countless numbers of the region’s golfers. Most of the courses are now so overgrown that they are indiscernible, and two have yielded to the inroads of urbanization. None are recognizable, and few golfers are still here to tell of these Vermont vestiges. There are just 27 golf holes that one can play in the Barre/Montpelier area today. Seventy-five years ago there were almost three times that many.
Wilson, who is 87, learned the game from his father who, like many of Barre’s 19th-century immigrants, learned about both golf and granite in Aberdeen, Scotland. “This certainly wasn’t an exclusive club,’ remembered Wilson, the club’s last surviving member, “but most of the members- and there were around 200-were Scottish. That’s because most of the people who played golf around here in those days were of Scottish ancestry.”