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A brief history of Woodstock Golf Course

Woodstock Golf Course is one of the oldest 9 hole courses in Connecticut. Originally built in 1896, the course is more than 110 years old. The very first match took place during the first week of July 1896 on a sheep pasture which eventually became the home of the Woodstock Golf Course. The contestants were Clarence Bowen, a son of Henry Bowen and Judge George  Holt, a son-in-law of Henry Bowen as well as a federal Judge from New York. The match began at ten-thirty in the morning and ended at three o’clock with an intermission for lunch. There's no record of the score or the match results.

Judge Holt had first seen the game of golf played at St. Andrews, Scotland, and together with Bowen he invited the Green Keeper of the Chevy Chase Club of Washington to visit Woodstock in 1896. The result of the visit was an 18 hole course laid out on what was then Holmslea land owned by the estate of William Williams Mathewson.

After two years the original 18 holes were reconfigured to 9, in much the same layout as seen today. The land of the nine hole course was eventually purchased by Clarence W. Bowen, who in 1919 gave the golf course to the trustees of Roseland Park.

The idea of the founder of golf in Woodstock, as expressed by Clarence W. Bowen in The History of Woodstock Connecticut, was to make the game as inexpensive as possible, so that all could play. Over the years the Trustees of Roseland Park have endeavored to do just that. The tradition of affordable golf carries on today.

Henry C. Bowen was a Woodstock native who became an influential New York merchant, publisher and abolitionist. Roseland Park, which is right across from the golf course, was built by Bowen in 1876.

He spent his summers at his house on Woodstock Hill. It is now known as Roseland Cottage or “The Pink House” and is maintained by the Society for the Preservation on New England Antiquities. It is open to the public and is situated directly across from the Woodstock Academy campus on Route 169.