In September of 1915, an avid group of golfers took over a lease of 100 acres of land from Mayo Clinic doctors E.S. Judd and D.C. Balfour. Harry Turple, a Red Wing Course Golf Professional, was brought in to lay out a nine hole golf course – and Rochester Golf Club was born. The members desired a more challenging golf course and as luck would have it; a Mayo Clinic physician married the daughter of noted golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast. Tillinghast had become the pre-eminent golf course architect of his time by designing courses such as Winged Foot, Baltusrol and the San Francisco Golf Club. In 1916, Rochester Golf Club became incorporated and changed its name to the Rochester Golf & Country Club.
RGCC entered a new century in 2016, and a great deal has changed over the past 100-plus years. A new state-of-the-art practice facility was built in 2016, followed by work over the next 4 years of a new Aquatics Facility, Fitness Center, Trackman Golf Simulator Lounge, Kids Club, complete renovation of the entire Clubhouse, expansion of the restaurant outdoor dining patio and pool patio, construction of a new 10th Tee Snack Bar, 4 on-course bathrooms, and an outdoor event lawn space to accommodate up to 300 guests. Yet the biggest change to Rochester Golf & Country Club, under the direction of renowned golf course architect Tom Doak, is the complete restoration of the A.W. Tillinghast designed Golf Course. It reopened in 2020 for its first full year of golf play after 3 years of restoration and partial year closures, to the applaud of its members and long-standing golf course experts. Now truly offering year-round amenities to its membership, Rochester Golf & Country Club has become a hub for social activities with the absolute best patio dining in the city and surrounding communities, a robust and diverse social calendar of events with opportunities for growth for all facets of the membership.
Tillinghast had become the pre-eminent golf course architect of his time by designing courses such as Winged Foot, Baltusrol, and the San Francisco Golf Club. In 1916, Rochester Golf Club became incorporated and changed its name to Rochester Golf & Country Club. Construction began on Tillinghast's new course in 1924, and it opened the following summer.
|Walter D. "Pop" Shelden, MD
One of the original members who has also left his thumbprint on Rochester Golf & Country Club was Walter D. "Pop" Shelden, MD. "Pop" Shelden had played a great course in Texarkana that was cut out of a pine forest and brought that idea back to Rochester with him. In the early 1930s, he bought 5,000 pine seedlings for ten dollars and started a nursery at the southwest corner of the course. Over 30,000 trees were eventually transplanted to the course over the next fifteen years. Unfortunately, "Pop" passed on before the overall project was completed. He has since been honored by the playing of the Walter D. Shelden Golf Tournament that is now played as our Member/Guest Tournament.