This week, we are delving into the history of the Salem Country Club, which strangely enough is located in Peabody. While it may be too hot to enjoy a round this week, golf is a beloved summertime activity for many.

In 1895, a group of 12 men from Salem started the Salem Golf Club, and they used the Gardner Farm in North Salem as their first course. Today, the Gardner Farm area is the Gardner Park neighborhood along the border of Salem and Peabody.

After the first year at Gardner Farm, they moved onto a parcel of land on the border of Salem and Marblehead, along Loring Avenue. There was no clubhouse, just a contractor’s toolbox. Members kept their clubs in the toolbox and could only gain access with a key.

By 1897, the club was back at Gardner Farm. Membership at the time included 30 men and 40 women.

Above image is courtesy of Gary Larrabee. The image appears on page 12 of his book “Salem Country Club / One Hundred Years / 1895-1995.”

At the turn of the 20th century, there were two distinct golf groups that eventually merge to become the Salem Country Club.

The Salem Golf Club continued to play at Gardner Farm. The Salem Country Club, a separate organization, was located along Proctor’s Crossing in Peabody.

The Salem Country Club, Clubhouse, Proctor’s Crossing, Peabody, circa 1900

A view of the Salem Country Club, Proctor’s Crossing, circa 1900

By 1910, the Salem Country Club had fallen into financial difficulty and merged with the Salem Golf Club. The Proctor’s Crossing course was sold and the property was turned into a sanatorium.

Together both organizations used the Gardner Farm course, along with 9 new additional holes where Bishop Fenwick is now located. This disjointed arrangement never really worked. The organization desperately wanted enough land for a complete 18 hole course and a sizeable clubhouse.

In 1925, the Salem Country Club bought the Sanders Farm, along Forest Street, in West Peabody, as seen below. They hired preeminent golf course architect Donald Ross.

Above image is courtesy of Gary Larrabee. The image appears on page 68 of his book “Salem Country Club / One Hundred Years / 1895-1995.”

Print of the Salem Country Club from a program cover, 1933; the clubhouse was built in 1926.

The Salem Country Club Horse Show Ticket, 1934

Ticket for the Women’s National Golf Championship, 1932

Group of young golfers outside the club house, 1950s

Famed golfer and Olympic track star Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the Women’s Open in 1954, held at the Salem Country Club.

Even more astonishing, Zaharias had surgery for colon cancer only 15 months before. She used her victory to speak to those living with cancer. At the awards ceremony at the 18th hole, she declared:

“I wanted to show thousands of cancer sufferers that the operation I had, colostomy, will enable a person to return to normal life. I’ve received 15,000 inquiries from those who have undergone the operation. This [her victory] is my answer to them.”

How inspiring!

Course map, the Salem Country Club, 1954.

From the program for the U.S.G.A Women’s Open Golf Championship held at the Salem Country Club.















Our brief history barely touches on all the important, more recent events that have taken place at the Salem Country Club. If there’s interest, we can certainly do a part 2!

What are your recollections of the Salem Country Club? Were you a caddie? We’d love to hear your stories!

Special thanks to Gary Larrabee for allowing us to use his images. His comprehensive book “The Salem Country Club / One Hundred Years / 1895-1995” was essential for writing this postcard.