Playing golf at Salem Golf Course becomes a nature walk with all its natural beauty. Trees line the fairways and numerous wildlife (deer, squirrels, geese and ducks with hawks and osprey flying overhead) can be seen. What’s the story behind this desirable place of relaxation?
Back in 1925 local businessmen started this venture by donating $250 each to purchase the John Hughes land grant to develop a first class golf course. One man, Ercel Kay, the grandson of the founder of Thomas Kay Woolen Mills of Salem, brought it all together. Two hundred acres were purchased at $160 per acre including the surrounding land to prevent any housing that would obstruct the beauty. The first nine holes were finished in 1927 and the second nine in 1928. On the 6th tee was a Chinese farm. A four-acre apple orchard occupies the center bordering on three fairways. When the golf course first opened to the public, the green fees were 25 cents for the nine holes and 40 cents for the full eighteen holes. In 1965, son of Ercel, and great grandson of the Mission Mill owner, Thomas Kay) bought the course from his father.
Over the last 75 years the original buildings have been remodeled and enlarged many times. The club has re-built most of the greens and tees and added extensively to its practice facilities. It remains today, virtually unchanged, a semi-private facility enjoyed by the public as well as its 250 members.
Compiled and written by: Shirley Herrmann
Blue: yards 6236, rating 69.3, slope 116
White: yards 5894, rating 67.9, slope 109
Gold: yards 5519, rating 70.9, slope 121
Red: yards 5205, rating 69.8, slope 118