club history

Over One Hundred Years of Tradition

Vesper-Country Club is the result of the union of two organizations. The older of

the two, Vesper Boat Club was organized in 1875, prompted by interest in aquatic sports, especially rowing.  A boat house was constructed in 1870 on Pawtucket Street in Lowell, near the junction of the Merrimack River and the Pawtucket Canal. During the 1880s Vesper engaged in frequent regattas and competitions with other boat clubs.Vesper Boat Club


The other organization, the Lowell Country Club, was organized in 1892 by a few members of the Vesper Boat Club, along with other friends. In 1893, Lowell Country Club purchased Tyngs Island for the sum of $7,132.00.

Tyngs Island in the Merrimack River, had originally been called Wickasee Island and had served as the permanent residence of the great Indian Chief, Wannalancit for many years until he left the island in 1686. During the mid 1800’s the island became a favorite spot for outings and picnics, and in the 1880’s it housed an amusement park until a fire leveled most of the wooden buildings in 1887.

In 1893, the membership of Lowell Country Club voted to build the original clubhouse on the Island consisting of a one story frame building located in the exact spot of the current Golf House. The most popular sport of the day was bicycling and in 1894 a bicycle track was laid out around an oval which is now part of the 3rd fairway. The oval track was one third of a mile in length and housed two baseball fields within. Remnants of the oval track still exist in front of the forward tees and up to the cross bunkers located in front of the 3rd green.

Establishment of Vesper Country Club

In 1899 The Vesper Boat Club and Lowell Country Club merged to formally create Vesper Country Club.

After the first nine hole golf links in America had been built in 1890 in Newport, Rhode Island, interest in the game of golf was growing. In 1895, a notice was sent out that Mr. Lloyd, the golf expert at the Essex Country Club would be at Tyngs Island to talk about the game of golf. Subsequently, the Executive Committee decided to lay out a course of six “links”. By the end of 1895, the course was so crowded that three more “links” were added. In 1897, golf had become the principal attraction on the island.  

In 1903, the Massachusetts Golf Association was organized with Vesper being a charter member. The very first Massachusetts Open Golf Championship was held at Vesper in 1905 and was won by Donald Ross, the renowned golf course designer, who was to return 14 years later to design the new nine holes on the Mainland and to redesign the existing 9 holes on the Island.

In 1905, a new clubhouse was built on the site of the present Main Clubhouse. That building burnt to the ground in 1923, was rebuilt and reopened the next year. The new 18 hole course was formally opened on June 23, 1921 by a four ball match which included the legendary Francis Ouimet on one team and U.S. Open champion Jesse P. Guilford on the other.

The Present

Today, Vesper's golf course is considered one of the finest in New England. The golf course has hosted numerous major golf events, including five Massachusetts Open championships, several Massachusetts Amateur Championships, and the New England PGA (held in 1977 and won by the Vesper host pro at the time, Tom McGuirk). The professional course record of 65 was set by Jeff Lewis during the 1990 Massachusetts Open.

In 2008, the membership voted to completely rebuild all 18 greens to U.S.G.A. specifications and to restore the bunkers on the course. The rebuilding of the greens and the restoration of the bunkers was overseen by architect Brian Silva, who was faithful to the original design and plans of Donald Ross. This rebuilding project was completed at the end of 2009. In 2016 the club started a process to increase casual dining options and improve other amenities for its members and guests. The signature 1875 Grille is an energetic gathering spot that members enjoy regularly, including an outside fire pit patio. Enhancements to the tennis courts, pool, and driving range are just some of the items addressed as part of the Clubs continual improvement model.