The Original Flagstaff Country Club

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The Original Flagstaff Country Club

Flagstaff today–circa 2020–boasts several 18-hole golf courses. The two I’ve walked are beautifully situated with views of Mt. Humphries and the San Francisco Peaks. These courses are tucked into the forest, with rolling hills and pine and oak trees. Both have creeks that meander alongside the fairways and it’s almost worth the fee to spend an afternoon enjoying the open space. While a popular way to exercise, golf as a sport is quite competitive and the game has been around for centuries. Flagstaff finally took notice in the 1920s.

While researching Flagstaff’s Walkup Family Murders I came across several old newspaper articles on the town’s search for land suitable for a golf course. A committee of influential men was tasked with the job and they reached out to Tim Riordan for assistance. Riordan had designed a three-hole course, with each hole having three different approaches, on his own property. Several sites were considered but Riordan convinced the group that the parcel of land four miles north of town and just east of the old reservoir was perfect. In early 1925 the land was obtained, the course was designed and the Flagstaff Country Club was open for play that summer.

The Country Club-golf course was an immediate success. It was nine holes and featured a wicked “dog’s leg” challenge toward the end. The fairways were hard-packed dirt that required regular mowing to keep them playable. The “greens” were actually cottonseed oil ovals that individual golfers (or their caddies) would roll out after the putts. The Clubhouse was not built for another six or seven years, but it was beautifully designed with a restaurant-bar and large dance floor. Visitors from all over the country would summer in Flagstaff and many praised the golf course for its unique style and incredible views.

I could go on and on about the 1925 Flagstaff Country Club; I’ve talked with a few people who actually played there in the 1960s and 70s. It was also the site where Marie Walkup chose to end her life that sad July in 1937. You can hear more about that story on one of our Freaky Foot Tours—join us, won’t you?!