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Willamette Valley Country Club

Our History


This is a condensed history of Willamette Valley Country Club's founding and early years. Once known as "Lucky's Pasture", we have a story worth telling. Thanks are due to many, but these stand out:

  • Truman Collins of Collins Timber Co., owner of "Lucky's Pasture," for his compassion and patience with our early struggles.
  • Our forty Founding Members - and their perseverance and pocket books.
  • Founder Fred Stefani for his recollections on which this record is based.

To all of these and many more unnamed we give thanks for caring enough to build our fine club.

At 8:00 p.m. on the second day of August 1961, in the offices of Clifford S. Beckett (Butler Building, Oregon City) the seeds of Willamette Valley Country Club, as we know it today, were planted. In attendance at this first organizational meeting were Messrs. Clarence Van Dorn, John Rasmussen, Clifford S. Beckett, and J. Wesley Lawyer. Mr. Rasmussen had obtained a 60-day option on 220 acres owned by the Collins Lumber Company, known as "Lucky's Pasture". The purchase price was $235,000.

On August 30, 1961, the same gentlemen met to discuss methods for financing the purchase. $60,000 was needed immediately to exercise the purchase option, as the option deadline was fast approaching. Therefore, at this meeting it was decided to recruit 15 men, each willing to invest $4,000-$5,000. Commitments had been made by John Rasmussen, Wesley Lawyer, Glenn Onion, Frank Blecha, and Fred Stefani. Fortunately, additional pledges were received, the initial 15 members increased to 40 founding members, and the group became incorporated as Country Club Estates, Inc. Country Club Estates was now a reality and efforts were underway to obtain 200 more members in the Willamette Valley Country Club.

Progress was such that an architect was hired and plans for the course began. Shirley Stone was employed as designer, and on May 1, 1962, Western Turf was awarded the contract to build our first "nine" (now the back nine) for a total cost of $60,000; completion date was to be October 1, 1962.

Construction of the course proceeded on time, so an opening date with appropriate celebration was scheduled for October 13 and 14. Ads were placed in newspapers, dignitaries were invited, refreshments were arranged, and golf-related activities were scheduled. Unfortunately, Mother Nature intervened on October 12, Columbus Day, with the worst storm in Oregon history, canceling all plans for the opening. October 28 was set as the new date for the opening and all the plans were back on track.

With the course now open, it was determined that someone was needed to collect green fees and to monitor play. Wesley Lawyer was hired at $400 per month. He also sold snacks in a small building that was built at the first tee. This building was eventually moved out by the well on what is now #14, then moved again to serve as a cart storage shed, and again for use by the pro. It was finally placed at its present location by the equipment sheds.

In 1962, membership fees were set at $520 ($20 tax) and dues at $18 per month, including $3 tax. Green fees were charged at $1.25 per nine holes for members and $1.50 for guests.

From this account one might believe that progress went smoothly with few difficulties encountered. Actually, the original 40 members had a frustrating time and there were occasions when it appeared they were doomed to failure. It was Truman Collins, and later his heirs, who made possible the necessary extensions of payment dates on notes for the property, thereby enabling the members to continue their forward progression.

Still, it became necessary to borrow money to stay afloat. When $160,000 was urgently needed, the banks didn't clamor for the opportunity to lend money. As it turned out, all 40 members were required to personally guarantee the loan that involved three institutions - The Canby Union Bank, Citizens Bank of Lake Oswego, and Citizens Bank of Corvallis.

In the spring of 1963, construction of the second nine holes was started, to be completed in the fall. Also in 1963, construction commenced on the clubhouse starter unit. At the same time, a commitment was made to pay the county $2,000 for an extension of Amrivis Road from Territorial Road to provide access to the club. This extension became Maple Street.

Contract negotiations between Country Club Estates and Willamette Valley Country Club were begun in September 1963 when the minimum membership goal of 200 was reached - at $500 per member. Three months later, in December, the Willamette Valley Country Club was purchased as a complete facility from Country Club Estates. A $400,000 indebtedness was assumed in the transaction, with $100,000 paid immediately from membership funds. With the optimism that 200 additional memberships would be sold, a commitment was made to pay another $100,000 by January 1, 1966.

However, calendar year 1964 produced few new members, an income of $57,600 and expenses of $59,000. It was necessary to vote on an assessment which, unfortunately, was defeated. Finally an agreement for new terms was reached with Country Club Estates, but finances remained a struggle.

In January 1964 Gene Herring was hired as Pro and Manager at a salary of $250.00 per month, plus equipment sales, lessons, and club storage. His wife leased and operated the snack bar. Green fees were raised to $2.00 for 9 holes and $4.00 for all day play.

The first cart storage shed was built by Fred Stefani and held 16 carts. He was repaid at $5.00 per stall for 48 months. Member work parties were needed to do much of the work on parking areas and around the clubhouse. In return, the Board of Directors agreed to furnish these groups with a reasonable amount of beer.

Financial problems continued, but novel and imaginative financing plans were worked out to keep progress moving. Country Club Estates continued to be a driving force behind the Willamette Valley Country Club, principally because of the club's indebtedness. Moreover, Country Club Estates needed money to put in street and other improvements so construction on the sub-division and the sale of lots could begin.

All members are greatly indebted to the 40 founding members who persevered under very adverse conditions. They made loans from their personal funds, guaranteed them with their own notes and mortgages. It is because of these 40 we are now Willamette Valley Country Club and not "Lucky's Pasture".

Now you know how it all began.

Willamette Valley Country Club
Founding Members

  • O.E. Amundson
  • G.R. Andrus
  • J.W. Beck
  • C. Beckett
  • F. Blecha
  • C.A. Braman
  • Val Chronovsky
  • L.D. Criteser
  • G.T. Cutsforth
  • G.T. Danielson
  • C.F. Dietz
  • R.B. Eversole
  • S.B. Harkson
  • W.E. Herman
  • L.P. Hill
  • G.W. Irwin
  • C.E. Johnson, Jr.
  • J.C. Kent
  • T.W. Kent
  • W.B. Koch
  • J.W. Lawyer
  • R.R. McCarter
  • L. McDuffee
  • D.W. Matzke
  • A.J. Millar
  • R.K. Morse
  • W.T. Moy
  • E.J. Oliver
  • G.M. Onion
  • J.M.Rasmussen
  • F.X. Rice
  • A.J.Sisul
  • L.M. Snow
  • J.L. Spagle
  • F.G. Stefani
  • R.G. Tatone
  • C. Van Dorn