A BRIEF HISTORY OF NORWOOD COUNTRY CLUB

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.

By Kathy Showler Elfner

Head Golf Pro - George L. Fotherham

Assistant Golf Pro - Johnny Showler

My Dad : John Showler

John ShowlerHollywood Golf Club abandoned its west end site and this site became the home of the new Norwood Country Club, which was incorporated in October of 1914. The new club leased the property from Hollywood, with James Lloyd executing the subleasing arrangement.

The golf course later was redesigned by A.W. Tillinghast, and the clubhouse rebuilt by the noted clubhouse architect of the time, Clifford C. Wendehack after the original building was destroyed by fire in 1919.

There was considerable overlap in membership between the two clubs, Hollywood and Norwood, and Hollywood offered the Norwood members use of its clubhouse facilities while their new clubhouse was being built. Norwood failed in the mid-1930's because of the depression, the real estate eventually falling into the hands of Hollywood member Howard Strauss. He sold the property to the West Long Branch Lion's Club in 1953, and the by-then dilapidated clubhouse was restored to become the West Long Branch community center the following year.

From Hollywood Golf Club - The First Hundred Years

The following was provided by Mary Gibbons Showler who worked in the office of the club and met and later married John Showler.

Norwood country club consisted of an 18 hole golf course, two polo fields, tennis courts, golf shop and club house, which was in the English Tudor style. Polo matches were arranged with other clubs in the area such as Suneagles.

It was the most exclusive club in the area whose members included the Gimbels, the Guggenheims and the like.

As you entered the foyer, there was a large blue rug with the club seal. The office was on the right and the stairs to the ladies’ locker room was on the left. The locker room was done in salmon pink. Beyond the foyer was a huge room where members came and met. There still remains the massive fireplace on the left. Here too were large rugs with the club seal. The men’s' locker room was above the kitchen and there was also a barber, masseur, shoeshine boy and valet boys whom were dressed similar to bell hops in full uniform with matching caps. Above the dinning room, there was an apartment for the manager, the last one being a gentleman by the name of Schwartz.

Off the dining room that was long and had many French doors, was a sunken garden. The members used this for parties and dances. They laid a wooden floor for these purposes and many famous bands of the era came to play such as Guy Lombardo, Lester Lanin and Dorsey.

The crash of 1929 hit the members of the club very hard because they had invested very heavily in the stock market. Eventually, the club went bankrupt. It lay dormant but part of it was finally resurrected as the Community Center. The Police Department and Library are both housed in the back. The polo fields and golf course now are all private homes and a senior citizen complex.

Although a part of the club remains, much has changed or has been torn down and renovated. The fireplace in the main room stands as a monument to remind all of a bygone era ñ the leisure lifestyle of the local rich and famous.

Norwood CC Norwood CC as seen from the top of the tennis house.

The Model "T" is my Dad’s