In the Beginning... 1898-1923
When the Mohawk Golf Club founders filed for incorporation in October of 1898, there were some 250 golf clubs and 611 courses in the United States. By 1900, there were over 1,000 golf courses in the United States. Numerous State and Sectional Golf Associations conducted regional tournaments in addition to those sponsored by the USGA.
The Mohawk Golf Club participated in the tremendous growth and popularity of the sport, made its contributions to the progress of the game and earned an enviable reputation as a top club in the Northeast.
The very first of the Club's articles of incorporation stated the enterprise's purpose so well that it stands the test of time, almost to this day:
First, the particular objects for which the corporation is to be formed are to promote social interaction among its members; to encourage the playing of golf and other games and sports; to maintain a club house or club rooms and club grounds and to do such other things as may pertain to the advancement of sport and pleasure...
To get things underway, the Club leased the Schenectady Golf Club's 40 acres of property just off of Nott Street at the cost of $150 a year. Using money collected from "subscriptions" - donations above and beyond membership dues - the Board of Governors intended to build a clubhouse on their new property, and began playing golf there in the spring of 1899. By the end of the first year, revenue from subscriptions, dues, initiation fees, locker rentals, green fees, plus a $10 bequestion from the estate of founder F.C. Whitmore, totaled $4,053.05. Members got a lot for that money in the first year:
- A "handsome new club house" had been built
- The nine hole course was up and running
- Fourteen golf events had been held, for which trophies worth $500 had been donated by members
- A Greenkeeper and Assistant were retained
- Two tennis courts were completed
- The 277 member list included 99 women
In 1899, Mohawk adopted as its colors, red and dark blue, with the blue on the collar of a red jacket. That changed in 1900 when the by-laws were revised to read, "The Club's color shall be dark blue," as do our by-laws today.
Our logo, created in 1899, depicts two pine trees crossed and the letters M.G.C., the whole enclosed in a shield, representing the beauty of our mature golf course and the strength and unity of our Club and its members. Legend has it that the graphic derived from two crossed pine trees on the old Union College pasture course where some of the members hung their jackets.
Into a New Century
Before the end of 1901, a team led by Samuel M. Hamill, Mohawk's second President, found and soon closed a deal to buy a farm on Troy Road owned by a Club member, J.W. Smitley. The previous owner had been John C. Ellis, a top executive of the Schenectady Locomotive Company, forerunner of the American Locomotive Company or ALCO.
Hamill's golf course planning team, which included a course architect named Devereaux Emmet and Club member A. F. Knight, hoped to have members playing on the new course by the 1903 season. The big farm house on the property was to be expanded and converted by 1904 to a country club house, fitted with rooms for members who wished to stay overnight.
A dining room would offer "excellent cuisine so that the new facility... in every respect will conform to the ideas of a modern Country Club House."
Thus, the first era of the Mohawk Golf Club began drawing to a close. It did so happily, and prosperously and with great enthusiasm for golf and its future.
On November 30, 1903, Mohawk officially vacated the old links and club house on Rosa Road in favor of its new and permanent home that has become the hallowed grounds for more than a century for our members and generations of memories.