Kingsbury County Country Club celebrates 50 years
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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In 1961, the De Smet Recreational Development Association was formed to promote recreational activities in the area. They had a dream to build a nine-hole golf course and a swimming pool.
The dream started to become a reality in 1963. At that time there were 61 members of Kingsbury County Country Club Inc. Each member had invested $100 and paid $50 in yearly dues.
More than $10,000 was raised for the project locally by various organizations.
One location considered for the project was across the highway from the De Smet forest, but there was not a sufficient water supply and, by early 1964, investors decided to purchase 43 acres of farmland on the southwest edge of town for $225 an acre from Harold Fritzel.
According to the Feb. 27, 1964, issue of The De Smet News, the project was approved to receive a $1,000 Farmers Home Administration loan for the down payment. The rest of the loan was contingent on there being at least 135 investors.
The May 21, 1964, issue of The De Smet News reads, “An $82,000 loan to a group of 135 Kingsbury County residents to develop a recreational project has been approved by the Farmer’s Home Administration.” The loan enabled Kingsbury County Country Club to develop the agriculture land for use as a golf course and to build a swimming pool.
The original work on the golf course, including dragging and plowing the field and putting in water lines, was done by volunteer labor. Merle Klinkel, who had never seen a golf course before, did the dirt work. Putting in the greens, using volunteer labor, cost about $1,000, a tenth of what it would have cost to pay to have it done.
The original plan was for the swimming pool and the golf course to be only open to members, but because the community had donated time and money, the pool opened to the public on July 4, 1965. The golf course and clubhouse remained private.
An advertisement in a July 1965 issue of The De Smet News invited everyone to become a member. Membership benefits included free swimming, golfing and use of clubhouse facilities for members and their families.
Public admission to the pool was 50 cents for adults, 35 cents for high school students and 20 cents for children. Family or individual season tickets were available.
The golf course and clubhouse opened in August 1965. By this time, there were 158 members of the corporation. The first golfers to play on the new course were Vern Johnson, William Long and Don Buchele.
The De Smet News