Yahnundasis Golf Club
In 1897 the Yahnundasis Golf Club was formed with 51 charter members (only six of whom knew how to play golf). In its first year, 75 members were added. The new club was named after an Indian word used to describe the early pattern of settlement in Utica and New Hartford—"around the hill" —Yahnundasis.
The land for this club was at the rear of McQuivey's greenhouse, adjacent to the Baby Hospital (later the site of St. John's Home & School). A 9-hole course was laid out on leased land and a small room in the Baby Hospital served as the "club house". Dr. Willis Ford was the first president—the club was nicknamed "the doctor's club" because of the large number of doctors who were members.
The club then purchased the Sherrill farm and part of the Moore farm in New Hartford, a total of 120 acres for $13,650. The farm house was opened as a club
house May 18, 1907 and a locker room was built. George Lowe, the pro at Baltusrol, New Jersey helped lay out a nine hole course. In 1911 an additional 9 holes were laid out making this the first 18 hole course in the area.
In 1920 an additional 100 acres of the Moore farm were purchased, along with land from William and David Schaible, and the intervening land and pond from Edward Risley.
The present club house was designed by Lin Kinne, Egbert Bagg, and Roy Newkirk, cost $130,000 and formally opened April 22, 1924.
The depression brought problems for the club. The resident membership was almost halved by resignations in the four year period following 1931. Somehow, they weathered through, and were financially stable by 1950. With the repeal of prohibition additional income was produced by a small bar. The rationing and shortage of food during World War II made the dining room popular and was a stimulus to membership.
The largest party held at the Yahnundasis was a dinner dance and charity bazaar for British War Relief on January 25, 1941. During the war the golf course was used by convalescing soldiers from Rhoads Army Hospital on Burrstone Road.
The years 1953-56 saw extensive repairs and improvements to the club house and grounds. Of the $50,000 spent then, $30,000 was raised by voluntary contributions of the membership.
Although the club resisted efforts to change the name to the Yahnundasis Country Club, other activities have been important to the club. There have been tennis courts since 1901. The New York State Championship matches were played here from 1914-1919. Interest in tennis was revived after 1959.
The pool was put into order after the purchase of it from Edward Risley. Bath houses were built in 1921-22 from timbers of the old barn. A big event for the club was when President Taft played golf here with Vice President James S. Sherman. The President was granted one of the few honorary memberships.
Paul Paye came to the Yahnundasis when he was still too young to caddy. He finally prevailed upon Peter Robertson, the pro, to let him caddy. He served as assistant to Gene Coghill for one year, then became the golf pro in 1960. He retired in 1978.
Today, the course is in terrific shape.