After serving the club for 26 years as secretary, Kuch said he was “turned out to pasture” with a life membership.
He gazed out the window over the fairway, just below the clubhouse. “Sure has been a change through the years,” he said. “That used to be all raw land and I remember when they had horse races in that very spot. They used to call it Recreation Park”. Later they held carnivals there and for three years it was the site of the Chelan County Fair.
Kuch grabbed his cane and motioned me over to the entrance wall where he pointed to a framed black and white picture. “There’s me playing in the band and in the background is a carnival – right out there where the fairway is now”.
He explained that he had gone to school in Peshastin until his family moved to Leavenworth. “That was in 1917. I went to the 10thgrade at Peshastin and then graduated from high school here. I went to Pullman (Washington State University) for two years and then started work here on Oct. 1, 1921, as a postal clerk. I worked ever since and retired in 1961 – almost 40 years.”
When the 15 or 20 young men of the area became interested in golf they put together enough land at Recreation Park to play three holes. That was in 1926.
A copy of the club history tells us that the small group of men “first astonished and then annoyed the other local sportsmen by batting golf balls around the race track and audaciously laying out a three hole course which they soon enlarged to eight holes.”
A short time later, the Leavenworth club was organized with H.G. Krollpfeiffer as president and Henry Woldtvet as secretary. There was a membership of 30 and the annual dues we $12.50. Membership now totals 400 and the dues are $150 a year.
In 1929 the original, haphazard eight holes were reworked into a compact six. According to the record book, “The smooth greens were composed of a mixture of dirt, oil and sand which was a considerable improvement over the original cinder greens, the principal drawback being the necessity to recondition the greens with mops after each use.” In 1937 and 1938 three more holes were added.
Under the leadership of Mrs. Joe Guiberson, in 1947, the women’s division of the club secured a used construction office building, 20 by 20 feet. It was moved to a location near the first tee and equipped with donated furnishings. It became the first official clubhouse.
Improvements have followed at a steady pace. “In 1967 we bought 20 acres of land from R.B. Fields and brought it up to 18 holes,” Kuch said.