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061620_countryclub

The handsome clubhouse at the Westmoreland County Club was designed by Verus T. Ritter, one of Huntington’s more prominent architects.

Editor’s Note: This is the 344th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

UNTINGTON — The Westmoreland Country Club was designed and built by Hermon Shute, a club-maker from the English midlands who immigrated to this country, arriving in Huntington in 1906.

The “father” of golf in Huntington, Shute built the city’s first golf course, the old Cabell County Club, located at 17th Street West at the banks of Four Pole Creek. (The site of today’s St. Cloud Commons.)

Next, he built in and served as professional at the Westmoreland Club, then the Guyan Golf and Country Club and, finally, the Spring Valley Country Club, built to replace the Westmoreland course.

The greens at the Cabell Country Club regularly flooded, so that prompted club officials to go looking for a new site. They found it just east of Camden Park and the mouth of Twelve Pole Creek. The new Westmoreland Country Club opened in 1911.

Two years later, the Westmoreland Club had more than 260 members and a handsome new clubhouse designed by Verus T. Ritter, one of Huntington’s most prominent architects.

But flooding was still a recurring problem, and the record-setting 1913 flood caused officials with the Westmoreland Club to start looking for a new location that would be high and dry. Thus, the Guyan Club, located on a rolling hillside tract on U.S. 60 East, was born in 1922.

Footnote: Wherever Hermon Shute went in Huntington to build a golf course, his young son Denny followed. His father handed him first set of clubs when he was 2 years old.

In 1923, at age 18, he became the youngest winner of the West Virginia Amateur. Two years later, he won it again before launching his career as a world-class tour professional and enshrinement in the National PGA Hall of Fame.

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