De Leon-Dublin Country Club
The game of golf was apparently first brought to De Leon during the oil boom by Judson J. Cleveland, a nephew of President Grover Cleveland who was sent by his family to manage the Cleveland oil interest in the the area. He built a three hole course adjacent to his home located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Rusk Street and the Sipe Springs highway. The course ran along the east side of Rusk Street to the north of his home. He not only taught many of the young men how to play the game but also supplied clubs and balls.
Almost a decade after Mr. Cleveland left De Leon, locals from De Leon and Dublin got together on March 1, 1929 to organize a golf club between the two cities. Gorman and Comanche were invited to participate. Gorman agreed to join but Comanche insisted that the course be built near that city. As was stated by Bill Livingston, “It seems Dublin and De Leon could always come to an agreement on anything before Comanche and De Leon.” The course was just east of the Comanche-Erath county line north of what is now Texas Highway 6. Work got underway probably in April 1929 and was nearing completion in late June.
Twenty-eight men representing the two cities were the charter members. W.H. Smith Sr. of De Leon was elected President of the association and W. Hamilton of Dublin was named Vice President. Charles Foust who lived in Dublin and had a lumber yards in both towns along with L. White, Green Coan and Rouse Bacher of Dublin and J.O. Stone and J.D. Tate of De Leon formed the Board of Directors.
A building that was about to be demolished in Dublin was moved to the site. It was placed about a half mile north of the present highway. At the time, the state highway from Waco passed through Dublin to De Leon and then south to Comanche. It was several years later that the road from Dublin to Comanche was built.
A well was dug to obtain water and because the club house was located near a gas transmission line, natural gas was available for cooking and heating the building. The club house was 88 feet long and 42 feet wide and contained a large club room, a ladies parlor, dining room, kitchen, and locker room with shower facilities. The facilities also included a tennis court, croquet lawn, and a horse shoe pit.
Depending on the source of the information or which city is laying claim to the course, it was called either the De Leon-Dublin or Dublin-De Leon Golf Country Club, although the latter seems to have been the more frequently used name. Dublin-De Leon is engraved on a 1931 trophy given to the third flight winner of a tournament held at the course.
It was on this course Dublin’s Ben Hogan often played golf after moving to Fort Worth. The nine holes featured sand greens with rollers that could assure a smooth putt once the “green” was reached.
Many of the kids learned to play golf on the nine hole course by caddying. Bill Tate, Grady Terrill, Sam Weaver, Victor Wayne Ornmsby and Bill Livingston were among the De Leon boys. Most accompanied their fathers and would earn 25 cents per round.