By Ken Love
About the Mirror
This weekend, Summit Country Club will host its 29th annual Best Ball Tournament.
The Cresson-area course began as a nine-hole course when it first opened in 1923, but like many others, eventually expanded to a full 18-hole layout.
Summit’s growth occurred during a time of economic prosperity in our country, the 1960s. More than half of the golf courses in our area were built during this prolific decade.
In the early 1960s, Summit Country Club was particularly fortunate to have local businessman Jack Calandra take a keen interest in golf.
During this time, Calandra was not only one of the best players at the club, but he had also begun to volunteer much of his time and effort for Summit Country Club.
Serving as club president, Calandra was the driving force behind Summit’s expansion from nine to 18 holes, which began in 1966.
“With everyone else expanding to 18 holes, we had no choice but to get on the bandwagon,” Calandra told Altoona Mirror sports editor Herb Werner when the draft was completed in 1968.
As the decade of the 1960s drew to a close, a whopping 225 holes of golf had been built in our area, the equivalent of more than a dozen 18-hole courses (by comparison, over the past 40 years, an average of only 18 new holes were built per decade ).
The following list shows how big golf was in our area in the 1960s:
May 1961 — Windber Country Club opens as Cambria County’s new nine-hole course designed by Ed Ault.
June 1962 — Iron Masters Country Club opens its new 18-hole, 6,623-yard course to the public. John Fellows is a master professional.
July 1963 – Sinking Valley Country Club opens as a nine-hole course. Ed Del Baggio is the club’s first head professional.
July 1965 – Oakbrook Golf Course opens its new golf course in Stoystown, Somerset County.
April 1966 — Windber Country Club, near Johnstown, expands from nine holes to a full 18-hole championship course.
May 1966 – Cambrian Hills opens its new nine-hole course in North Cumbria County. Initial greens fees are $2.
June 1966 – Elks State College opens its new 18-hole course in Boalsburg. Lowell Erdman is the course architect.
April 1967 – Center Hills Country Club, in State College, opens its second nine holes designed by world-renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Sr.
April 1967 — Sinking Valley expands to an 18-hole course. Construction of the new nine holes was overseen by club superintendent George Ord.
June 1967 – Parks Hills Golf Club adds nine new holes designed by course architect James Harrison.
July 1967 – River’s Bend Golf Course (now Down River) opens its new 18-hole course in Everett. Course designer is Xenophon Hassenplug.
April 1968 – Toftrees Country Club in State College opens as an 18-hole course with Flynn Smith as the club’s first professional.
June 1968 – After two years of restoration and reconstruction, the Immergrun Golf Course in Loreto is reopened by the University of Saint Francis. Bob Hahn is the club’s head professional.
July 1968 — Summit Country Club adds nine new holes designed by Ed Ault. (New holes include #6,7,11,12,13,14,15,16 and 17).
May 1969 — Penn State University adds an 18-hole Blue Course to compliment its 1920s White Course. The layout was designed by James Harrison.
June 1969 – Seven Springs Resort opens its new 18-hole course in Somerset designed by Xenophon Hasenplug.
July 1969 – After two years of work, the new Blairmont Club in Scotch Valley is completed.