HOW IT ALL HAPPENED...

In 1893, Janesville resident Alexander Galbraith returned home from one of his frequent business trips to Scotland.  With him he brought fifteen golf sticks, several dozen balls, and a sketchy knowledge of their use gleaned from a round or two of golf at St. Andrews.

He and five friends – Joseph P. Baker, Frank Fifield, Colin C. MacLean, Peter J. Mouat, and E.D. Roberts – decided to form a golfing club, thereby becoming the charter members.  Galbraith donated the use of a meadow on his farm on Janesville's East Side, bordering Ruger venue.  Sinnissippi – the Indian name for the Rock River – was adopted as the name of the club.

In 1895, the present location of the club was secured from the Woodruff family and an eighteen-hole course was plotted.  The length of the holes and their general direction were determined more by the boulders, tree stumps, and brushwood on the property than by present-day golf landscaping. Dues were one dollar a year, all members were directors, and all served on the preeminent greens committee.

By the next year, 1896, membership had increased and dues were raised to five dollars per year – a 500% increase! (Even then there were protests that the club would lose members as a result of the increase.  None resigned, however.)  In this same year, the nine-hole layout was developed which resembled much of the present course.  Number seven was, at that time however, a wilderness of brushwood and served as a source for soil to fill in the holes in other parts of the field.  A clubhouse and locker room were also erected.

In 1899 the stone part of the present clubhouse was erected.  To finance this, the Janesville Country Club was incorporated and capitalized at ten thousand dollars. The Sinnissippi Golf Club leased the property and the two clubs merged in 1916.

Janesville Country Club has the distinction of being the sixth country club established in the United States, the second in the Midwest, and the first in Wisconsin. Our mission is to enhance the life of its members. With over 120 years of tradition and experience, the Janesville Country Club offers championship golf, a full service outdoor pool, and outstanding dining and banquet facilities. We welcome new members that are seeking the best atmosphere and service available in the Janesville area.

Today, as you walk up and down the envied fairways lovingly nurtured by those early members, it is worth noting that one treasured constant remains – our acres of turf have never seen a plow. Rarely does a golf club anyplace in America have such a valuable heritage. 

Bringing this heritage to life are a dedicated staff and a supportive membership.

If, as it is said, history is but a prologue to the future, the next hundred years are certain to be equally memorable and satisfying for your club and its membership.

HISTORY OF THE JANESVILLE COUNTRY CLUB

Your club has a unique and proud history.

1894 –  Founding of the club: the first golf club in Wisconsin, second in the Midwest, sixth in the U.S.  This was the same year that golf's foremost organization, the prestigious U.S. Golf Association, was formed.

1895 –  The present grounds were purchased and the stone part of the present clubhouse was erected.

1901 –  During a three-day tournament at the Janesville Country Club, the Wisconsin State Golf Association was formed.   The first State Championship was Hamilton Vose, who, it should be noted “Kept his gutta percha golf balls packed in ice which provided more resiliency.”

1916 –  Up to this time, the club had been divided into two legal entities: the Sinnissippi Golf Club, and the Janesville Country Club.  That arrangement was dissolved in favor of a single entity, The Janesville Country Club.

1935 –  The Swimming Pool Association was formed and money was raised by individual members to build a pool.  In 1944, that money was returned to donors and the pool was taken over by the Club.

1964 –  Carol Sorenson, Janesville's most famous athlete, and clearly the Club's premier golfer, wins the British Women's Amateur Golf Championship at Prince's Golf Club, Sandwich, Kent, England.  She was twenty-one years old.

1967 –  A wind “resembling a tornado” tore off the roof of the Club (Tuesday, January 24th) and created extensive damage  to the building and also uprooted dozens of large trees.  Bartender Dave Williams was the only person in the  building.  Williams said he heard the strong winds, but did not realize anything serious had happened until  “I felt cold air coming down the stairway.  I went upstairs and there it (the open sky) was.”

1978 –  Extensive remodeling of the Club was begun.  A new building was built to the south of the clubhouse to hold a new  pro shop and storage areas for equipment.

1984 –  A new swimming pool was constructed.

1988 –  Extensive remodeling of the Club was undertaken.

1993 –  A new irrigation system, well and pump house was added to the golf course.

1994 –  The Club celebrated its 100th Anniversary.  A time capsule was placed in front of the clubhouse, to be opened July 4, 2094. The Wisconsin State Golf Association Men's Amateur Championship was staged at the Janesville Country Club. A record score of 64 was shot in the third round by the eventual champion, Tom Strong.

1997 –  The Club was chosen as a Qualifying Site for the U.S. Open Golf Tournament.

1998 –  Our clubhouse was refurbished and a new dining area, the Galbraith Room was constructed.

2007 –  Our clubhouse was renovated which included a new Trophy Room, stair tower, locker rooms, administrative area and kitchen on the first floor.

2011 –  An athletic facility was added to the Club, providing members with additional healthy accommodations.



Alexander Galbraith
First President
Sinnissippi Golf Club
1894

Sinnissippi Golf Club 1894-1916
Janesville Country Club 1894-2016


Past Presidents

1894 Alexander Galbraith1925 S.S. Solie1955 Donald M. Erikson1986 Charles J. Elliott
1895 Alexander Galbraith1926 P.J.E. Wood1956 Merle A.. Hanson1987 Thomas J. Basting
1896 Joseph A. Baker1927 P.J.E. Wood1957 Sidney J. Thronson1988 Don C. Holloway
1897 Charles L. Fifield1928 P.J.E. Wood1958 Dr. John W. Smith1989 David R. Baus
1898 James C. Wilmarth1929 B.M. Palmer1959 Dr. J. Richard Schroder1990 William Moxley
1899 W.A. Jackson1930 Otto A. Oestreich1960 John G. Mack1991 Douglas (Duke) Kelly
1900 Peter J. Mouat1931 Otto A. Oestreich1961 T.S. Willis1992 Curt Parish
1901 Albert Schaller1932 William G. Wheeler1962 William C. Cummings1993 Robert Lisser
1902 Victor P. Richardso1933 William G. Wheeler1963 Walter W. Lindemann1994 William Kennedy
1903 C.C. MacLean1934 Kenneth B. Jeffris1964 Robert E. Solie1995 David MacDougall
1904 E.D. Roberts1935 Edger A. Kohler1965 Renile E. Bowles1996 Suzanne VanGalder
1905 Wilson Lane1936 George Kalvelage1966 Albert F. Billings1997 Richard Schumacher
1906 M.G. Jeffris1937 A. Paul Owen1967 Bernard J. Wortmann1998 Gary Riley
1907 William G. Wheeler1938 William J. Snively1968 Dr. Gerald P. Gredler1999 David Johnson
1908 William G. Wheeler1939 Franklin C. Wilcox1969 Gerard W. Mulder2000 Doug Stevens
1909 John G. Rexford1940 Roy B. Dean1970 John B. Francis2001 Larry Everhart
1910 H.G. Bliss1940 A.R. Schaller1971 James Fitzgerald2002 Bruce Ginzl
1911 J.P. Baker1941 George E. King1972 Jerry C. Johnson2003 Robert Mills
1912 J.L Wilcox1942 George E. King1973 John P. Cullen2004 William Murphy
1913 H.H. Bliss1943 Dr. George S. McRoberts1974 Bruce Douglas2005 Joe Nemeth
1914 Arthur J. Harris1944 Allan L. Atwood1975 Roman Fueger2006 Phil Galassie
1915 Dr. F.B. Farnsworth1945 Robert B. McRoberts1976 Martin Kennedy Jr.2007 Bruce Corner
1916 A.P. Burnham1946 James A. Mustard1977 John W. Gibb2008 Charles J. Elliott
1917 Norman L. Carle1947 James A. Mustard1978 Dr. Robert Karraker2009 William Kennedy
1918 Norman L. Carle1948 A.R. Schaller1979 Elliot J. Resneck2010 William Kennedy
1919 David W. Holmes1949 Eugene W. Tuhtar1980 Ralph H. Weaver2011 William Kennedy
1920 David W. Holmes1950 Oscar T. Hagen1981 Peter C. Jacobs2012 William Kennedy
1921 George E. King1951 Robert L. Jacobs1982 Raymond W. Kitson2013 David Babcock
1922 George E. King1952 Floyd K. Yeomans1983 Richard F. DiStefano2014 David Riemer
1923 Roy E. Wisner1953 Dr. Melville Smith1984 Walter L. Kercho2015 Sarah Klawitter
1924 J.L. Wilcox1954 William H. Ryan1985 Bruce R. Briney2016 Barry Brandt