The Marietta Country Club was established in 1901-but not in Marietta. The first clubhouse was built that year on farm land in the Devola area leased from J.H. Devol.
A March 1901 newspaper article, headlined "The Marietta Country Club Will Have Most Delightful Quarters," described the club's first home that was located just south of Devol's Dam:
"Over the dining room and kitchen will be located the locker rooms, each being replete with closets, wash stands and shower baths. The entrance to these rooms is from a balcony reached by a stairway from the 'Great Hall' and wide enough to accommodate the musicians during a dance ... The Club House will be lighted at night with its own system of gasoline electric lamps and will be fully equipped with a water supply of its own and plumbed throughout..."
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Dennis Bates of Vincent, right, gets ready for a practice shot with a few pointers from George Offenberger of Marietta at the Marietta Country Club. The private club has been in business for 113 years.
Photo courtesy of Marietta Country Club
The original Marietta Country Club was built in 1901 on farm land leased from J.H. Devol, located just south of Devol’s Dam. The facility had its own water supply and a system of “gasoline electric lamps.”
Twenty-six years later a golf course designed by P.O. Hart of Parkersburg was constructed on 220 acres along Ohio 7, just east of Marietta. An old homestead located on the property was renovated into a clubhouse for what was originally named the Washington Country Club. That clubhouse was destroyed by fire in the early 1970s, and members had another building on the property remodeled into the current clubhouse.
Today the Marietta Country Club is a private, nonprofit facility with approximately 200 members, according to club president Barbara Jenkins, who noted the country club's place in local history.
"I think it's become an icon of our community," she said. "There's a sense of history here that goes back to 1901, and we work to preserve that. But the country club is also a business, and I think the club's longevity comes down to the loyalty and support of its members over the years."
Marietta Country Club
The Marietta Country Club
705 Pike St., Marietta.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays.
Phone 373-7722 for hours, course and membership information.
Information is also available online at mariettacc.org
1901-Marietta Country Club is established on the J.H. Devol farm in Devola.
1927-Golf course constructed by P.O. Hart on 220-acres just off Ohio 7, originally known as the Washington Country Club. Homestead on the property is renovated into a clubhouse.
1945- Swimming pool, including baby pool, is constructed.
1956-Jack Nicklaus won the Ohio Open Tournament at the Marietta Country Club.
1972-Original clubhouse destroyed by fire.
1974-Tennis courts constructed at the country club.
1999-Long range plan established to include installation of an irrigation system and new greens.
2011-Renovation of current clubhouse begins.
Jenkins noted that many of those who belong to the club carry on the tradition from their families.
"A lot of people are at least third generation and some fourth generation with the club," she said.
Longtime club member George Offenberger had one of his first summer jobs at the Marietta Country Club.
"I started out caddying, along with my brother, Tobe," he said. "When I was 13 I began working in the pro shop, too."
Both brothers still enjoy a round of golf on the 18-hole course, as does fellow member Doug Robinson, who also started out as a caddy.
"I caddied as a teenager. My dad had been a member for some time," he said. "The country club was just a good place to be in the summer time. We could play golf or swim in the pool. It was great."
Jenkins said another reason the club has lasted so long is that the club membership and board of directors are willing to make adjustments to continue to meet the needs of the local golfing community.
"In 2011 we started a new renovation of the clubhouse," she said. "The ladies and mens locker areas, the loft bar area, grill room, dining room, patio and office have all been updated. An elevator was installed for easier access to the banquet hall."
In addition, a major course upgrade for holes two, three and four began in 2012. The creek that runs through the course was dredged and two ponds created on the property's front nine holes. Jenkins said that project is nearly completed with reseeding and tree planting around the ponds to be done this year.
A variety of club membership options are available, including a new corporate membership created by the club's board of directors this year.
Jenkins said ladies and mens league golf tournaments are held on every major holiday throughout the golfing season, and many nonprofit groups schedule golf outings at the club to support various causes.
Most folks play golf as a way to relax, she said.
"Golf is a leisurely sport. You can spend a whole afternoon on the course," Jenkins said. "And that can make it difficult to attract families, although it's a great family sport, too. So we try to adjust by offering activities for everyone, like tennis, swimming, even fishing. Or people can just come out and walk the cart trails around the course. That's great exercise."
She said the club also has special activities on traditional holidays like Mother's Day and Easter buffets, and Wednesday night family-style dinners.
"We want to get more families involved with the country club as families have always been a big part of our tradition," Jenkins said.