"A Golf Course Would be Nice"
In the early 1950’s an idea of a golf course in the forest began to germinate. Local mill operator, Southwest Forest Industries was interested since it meant a recreational area for their executives working in McNary, then a bustling milltown. The U.S. Forest Service was approached to set aside some land around a former Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. The Forest Service did not approve of the idea at the time, but in 1954 they did agree and a large area of beautiful forestland was made available in what is now White Mountain Summer Homes.
The White Mountain Golf Club was organized May 8, 1954 with Milt Coggins Sr., Richard H. Lee, and James J. Cox named as incorporators. Forest Service permits were approved later that year when the first board was elected. Milt Coggins Sr. was chosen President, Thomas J. Frost, Vice-President, Frank Crosby, Treasurer, and James J. Cox Jr., Secretary. Capital stock was offered at $180 a share and by May of the following year, the Treasurer reported 234 signed and fully paid contracts for the purchase of one share each of the Capital Stock of the Corporation.
Our Founding Members were an eclectic group. Membership included teachers, postmasters, salesmen, clerks, physicians, and businessmen. All contributed in the building of the first nine holes and clubhouse. Pleased with the progress made with the first nine holes, The Forest Service announced that 70 lots in the area would be offered for home leasing.
The first nine holes were built through multiple volunteer efforts, including major firms leaving heavy equipment on weekends for use on the course. Southwest Forest Industries helped in financing the first clubhouse and lumberman Harold Britt volunteered return use of lumber trucks to bring back supplies free. One day while playing a championship match, Gray Madison lined up rows of golf spectators with instructions to walk forward slowly and pick up every rock they saw on the course.
By means of such frugal volunteer effort, the first nine holes were built for $40,000 and as a result, the club had a nine-hole course valued at $80,000! Coggins announced the course would be open for play July 7, 1956.
The Forest Service, approving these volunteer efforts to provide unique recreation on National Forest Land for rich and poor alike, asked the Board to submit plans for the second nine holes of the course. The area was completely tree lined. The trees were sold to Southwest Lumber Mills to reduce the costs. Meanwhile, additional lots were made available for lease for homes around the course.
On August 2, 1959, Gray Madison reported the new nine completed and that it should be seeded in a few days. In May of 1960 the Board was informed the second nine was ready for play. September 4th of that same year, club memberships were increased to $500 and the name changed to the White Mountain Country Club.
By 1967, Joe Clifford, Past President, reported that after 10 years, “We are out of Forest Service Control.”
With the Homeowners Association retaining control of their own roads, White Mountain Country Club has retained a premier position in the White Mountain area, offering a retreat amid the pines where privacy is a premium and beauty a dividend of our founder's vision.