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1976 AVCC Bi-Centennial Pro-Am

At Aroostook Valley Country Club you will find the Stars and Stripes and the Maple Leaf flying side by side - and why not - for here is a golf course that is the success story of the combined efforts of members from both sides of the border. The site was chosen on land located a few miles from Fort Fairfield, Maine and near Four Falls, New Brunswick. A nine hole course was laid out on the Canadian side -- but so close to the border that a right-hander's hooked ball on Number 1 or Number 9 went right out of the country! They also chose the Canadian side for the clubhouse, probably as Maine was in the throes of prohibition. However, the parking lot was allocated for the American side. On October 4, 1927 they applied for letters patent. Renowned golf course designer, Howard K. Watson, was commissioned to design the original 9-hole layout.

The first by-laws limited membership to 150 men--family membership--wives and children between 16 and 21 years. Associate membership to unmarried ladies over 21 or a daughter or widow of a deceased member. A lady, if sponsored by an unmarried male member, was entitled to the privileges of the club for the current season. Members were elected by secret ballot--two nays and he's out!! Membership quota was Fort Fairfield 50, Presque Isle 40, Caribou 27, Perth-Andover 10, Grand Falls 3, Washburn 4, un-allotted 10. Dues were $40.

The golf course was not opened to the ladies on Sunday until 2:00 PM and players were warned not to drive from the tee until players in front were past the distance markers - 175 yards.

In July, 1929 a meeting was held at the clubhouse and a committee was given $5,000 to complete the clubhouse, furnish it, complete the four tennis courts, and grade the grounds.

On August 26, 1929 they held their official opening with an exhibition match between the pros from Woodstock, Houlton, Saint John and Aroostook Valley. The big celebration ended with a dance, music furnished by the Ritz orchestra.

The depression years were hard on the club. It was decided to do without a pro and employ a manager who would run the dining room and also collect the green fees. Dues were reduced to $20, and a still greater effort was made to encourage new members. One scheme was to give complimentary passes to clergy in the area, another was to see that all hotels had information about the course and their guests could pay green fees without a member sponsor.

In 1933 the directors were delighted when the dance committee showed a season's profit of $15. Homemade breads and ice-cream were house specialties in the dining room and gourmet Sunday dinners were 50 cents.

By 1935 AVCC changed its by-laws and opened the membership to anyone in the area - associate membership to anyone living beyond a 35 mile radius. Fees were now $30. Membership increased and in 1954 land was purchased to enlarge to an 18 hole course. By 1960 the "new" 9 holes were ready and officially opened when Slammin' Sammy Snead played an exhibition match at AVCC. AVCC has also seen other professional tour players play our course, including Babe Zaharius and 1990 PGA Player of The Year, Wayne Levi.

After a tremendous amount of work and cooperation from various members and organizations, including Loring and Presque Isle AFBs, the new course (one of the finest on both sides of the border) was complete. By 1971 there were 316 playing members and 54 social members.

Today the work continues and AVCC is blessed with a tremendous staff and corps of volunteers. Most recently we have made significant updates to our facility with a tee-to-green irrigation system, a state of the art POS computer system which includes an online tee time booking system for our members and in the fall of 2007 we added a new teeing area to our practice tee. All these additions have been done with relatively little increase in cost to play as a member or guest at AVCC. In 2009 AVCC experienced huge changes. Due to the changing world we live in and due to our most unique location, AVCC will not continue to experience the relatively free access our US and Canadian members and guests have enjoyed. US Homeland Security has determined our location a border security problem and will now require all visitors to AVCC, originating from Canada, to enter the US through a manned port of entry. This presents new challenges for AVCC. We have been fortunate for the past 80 years as a country club and will face this challenge head on, continuing to offer our members and guests the same professional service they have grown accustomed to. AVCC celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009.

In the spring of 2012, the replacement of the 15 casement windows in our clubhouse was initiated. The former 40 year old windows were replaced with energy efficient windows. The project was started by member and director Jeff Murchison and member Himie Towle III. Through their efforts and the generous contributions of many, financial and otherwise, the success of this project was realized in short time.

On Friday, June 29, 2012, AVCC was hit hard by a violent thunderstorm and microbursts. Approximately 200 trees were lost and a substantial amount of damage was inflicted on the clubhouse, Pro Shop and cart sheds. Fortunately, the damage was restricted to AVCC property. The 20 or so members and employees present were unharmed, although shaken by the experience. As always the staff and membership of AVCC immediately responded and the course was playable within two days. It will be during the 2013 season before AVCC fully recovers from Mother Nature's wrath as fallen trees are removed, cart shed(s) rebuilt and/or  repaired.

 

 
Aroostook Valley Country Club - 2011