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Portage Country Club feature image
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Portage Country Club
The Portage Country Club has come a long way since its beginnings as a rough, unpolished nine-hole course in 1894. At the club, which later became known as one of the finest and most prestigious golf courses in the country, balls were originally handmade, and locker facilities were elementary at best and located on the second story of a nearby stable.
This modest start was no hint of what was to come for this local treasure. Over the years, the Portage Country Club has been graced by various professionals, some whom became employees of the club: Robert Bonar, George Cunningham, Harry W. Smith, Willie Still, George Currie, Al Espinosa, Denny Shute, Cliff Cook and currently Rod Johnston.
With a success story that mirrors the development of Akron’s rubber industry, the early history of Portage Country Club is associated with some of the key players of the rubber world. The founding members included Charles C. Goodrich, son of company founder Dr. Benjamin F. Goodrich; Charles G. Raymond, an executive at BF Goodrich; and Bertram G. Work, a co-worker at Goodrich. These men successfully persuaded Raymond’s father-in-law, Colonel George T. Perkins, to allow them to use his farm as grounds for the course.
The club quickly accumulated interest from the community. Membership grew, and by the turn of the twentieth century the course was considered “fairly good, though somewhat short,” according to “The Official Golf Guide For 1900.” In 1904, the club was affiliated with the U.S. Golf Association and was incorporated under the name the Portage Country Club Co. on Jan. 5, 1905.
That same year, the club relocated to its present site at the corner of Twin Oaks and Portage Path. Renovation took place again in 1918 when William B. Langford, a prominent golf course architect, designed a new, noteworthy 18-hole course. The Portage Country Club was now one of the most exceptional clubs in the country.
Despite its glory days, two devastating fires consumed the clubhouse, one in 1921 and one in 1999. Each time the clubhouse was redesigned to be more sophisticated than before, while still maintaining the original character and atmosphere of the building.
Despite the Portage Country Club’s humble beginnings, it has evolved into an established club that has received national acclaim as well as local affection. Many of today’s members have enjoyed the club since childhood, and their families have been members for generations.