In 1880, the Springdale Country Club wasn’t there. If you stood where the club is today, you would see a Blacksmith shop, wagon trails to “Uncle” Van Peerson’s farm, an apple orchard and a surrounding expanse of trees and forest. Now cut to 1927, when club founder’s Harold Henson, John P. Stafford, W.A. Claypool and John Meyers purchased the 75-acre Van Peerson farm for $7,000, and the landscape began to change…
Using mules, wagons, dynamite and hard work, the land was cleared in about a year. In 1928 Golf Pro L.R. Hackbarth from Little Rock is hired to layout a 9-hole golf course. The #1 tee box is not there – instead it is the home of James and Mary Boswells, caretakers of the course. Founder Harold Henson remembers them as “hard workers” who earned all of $75 a month.
Back then, there were no tees or fancy platforms. Instead, the golfers lined up on a dirt tee box about the size of a dining room table and mounted their ball atop a sand mound dipped out of a bucket that the groundskeepers replenished daily. The greens were quite different too, made of smooth oiled-sand surfaces instead of the short Bent Grass surfaces SCC golfers putt on today. The original club had 62 charter members, but as the club grew in popularity, so did the golf course and club facilities.
In 1940, the Club hosted the first “Springdale Open,” later to be named the Chick-A-Tee in 1970, and awarded tournament-winner Truman Fitzgerald a prize of $100 for his winning card of 31. New grass greens began to be installed in 1943, and by 1948 the tournament is still running strong and opens to the public with a greens fee of $3.
Expansion and renovation of the SCC was completed in 1957 with a new Club House featuring a swimming pool, bath house, billiards tables, dancing and dining rooms, a golf shop and added acreage for course expansion. The growth was celebrated with a 40th Anniversary party and reveal that was published in the Springdale Morning News.
While John Kennedy and Richard Nixon are making headlines in 1960, so is 14-year-old Ricky Richardson as that year’s winner of the Springdale Chick-A-Tee. Awards were given to him by Tex Gage, the club’s Golf Pro who started his 11-year tenure the year prior.
Arguably one of the Club’s most notable golfers, R.H. Sikes won the Chick-A-Tee tournament in both 1962 and 1963 before going pro later the same year. As a member of the University of Arkansas’ Golf Team, Sikes’ victory at the NCAA Championship in 1963 was the only Razorback national championship recognized by the NCAA until track and field took a title in the 1980s. He played on the PGA Tour in the 1960-1970s and won various titles along the way, including being named Golf Digest’s Rookie of the Year. He was inducted into the U of A Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.
In 1972, Dwight Collins takes over as the new Golf Pro and the course undergoes a remodel adding elevation, restructuring of the greens, and sand traps. The annual Fourth of July Springdale Ladies Golf Association invitational, now known as the “Summer Sizzler,” has become tradition by 1975 and brings in about 65-70 competitors that year.
Membership, loyalty and tradition enriched the club’s success over the next decade. A sense of community and family deepened among members, and the club hosted countless parties, social clubs, tournaments and holiday celebrations. However by the early nineties, it was clear the club needed another overhaul of the outdated facilities. The club house was demolished in the mid-nineties and by 1998 construction was nearly complete on the state-of-the-art 27,000-square-foot facility we enjoy today. The 18-hole course remains in exceptional shape and is enjoyed by golfers year-round.
The history of the Springdale Country Club laid the foundation for the values we still hold close today: family, community, friendship, camaraderie and sport. We welcome all new members to join and experience the pride of belonging to a pillar of the Springdale community as we look towards the celebration of our 100th year in 2027.
*Historical information was compiled by The Springdale Morning News Archives, Historical Club Archives and First-Hand Account of Members