People from all over Salem bought small shares of stock in Salem’s first golf club. With this money and a loan from his grandfather (in wool manufacture), Ercel Kay designed and built the first Salem Golf Course in 1923.
With one tractor, and many packed picnics, Ercel worked a flat field into the graduating green mounds and sculpted fairways we all enjoy today.
“Tommy” remembered waiting in a pile of sand for his father to reappear from the dust of planting and dirt shifting. The large firs were all planted by Ercel himself in the 1920’s, and then the orchard …after a truck load of fruit trees without tags became available for $15.00. Nature, beauty & conservatorship have all worked together into what is now marvelous testimony to the unspoiled beauty of Oregon.
Tom Kay worked to preserve his parents golf course all his life until 2018. It was his favorite place in all the world. It was Tom Kay’s dedicated efforts that initiated the conception of Salem’s Minto Brown Island Public Park.
Today, thanks to the many community partners and to the passionate support of these early pioneers, the Salem Golf Course continues with the vision of Tom Kay Senior, and his father, golf course designer, builder and State champion golfer, Ercel Kay.
Cherished as Salem’s oldest course Members welcome visitors & guests worldwide, while continuing the mission to support community, youth golf in schools, the YMCA and public play.
Salem Golf is the home of Salem’s annual Capitol City Amateur Tournament.