Our History

Exploring Westbrook’s History

Discovering the Hidden Gem of Westbrook Country Club:

A Diamond in the Rough

The West, The Brook

Over time, as the club expanded and evolved, it relocated to its current location, which is up on a hill and away from the brook. However, the name “Westbrook” stuck, due to its historical significance and recognition among the local community.

Westbrook Country Club is known for being one of the most beautiful locations in North Central Ohio. Its history is closely tied to the early days of golf in America when the sport was still gaining popularity. The United States Golf Association (USGA) was founded in 1894, and Westbrook Outing Club joined the golfing movement by laying out their first golfing links 7 years later in 1901.

Originally, when the club was first established with just nine holes, it was situated west of the town, specifically on West Fourth Street in Abe Heineman’s horse paddock. This location earned the club its initial name association with “west.” However, as the club grew and the sport of golf flourished, it moved to its current location atop a hill, which is no longer west of Mansfield, and it is no longer close to any brook. Despite these changes, the name “Westbrook” remained, reflecting the club’s roots and heritage.

As time passed, Westbrook Country Club became a prominent destination for golf enthusiasts and a beautiful course for the city’s residents to enjoy. Its historical significance, scenic setting, and well-maintained golf course make it a hidden gem worth exploring for both golfers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Map showing where the original nine holes of Westbrook were located
A.J. Heineman’s pasture on West Fourth Street, located just south of North Lake, served as the initial site for the golf course. Over time, as the city expanded and urban development took place, the landscape transformed, and the fairways were intersected by several residential streets. Today, these streets include Parkway Drive, Rae Avenue, and Helen Avenue.
Historic photo of two men and one woman playing golf at Westbrook
In the photograph captured near the tee of Hole #1, pictures the three individuals, possibly dressed in the fashion of that era, standing with their golf clubs at the ready. They were likely eager to take their shots and experience the thrill of playing on the brand new golf course. The caddy, responsible for carrying their golf bags and offering assistance, and the ball fetcher, tasked with retrieving their balls during the game, stand nearby on the lush green grass, ready to assist the golfers during their game.
Historic photo of Westbrook
A careful look at the background of this North Lake photo reveals the fences of Abraham Heineman’s horse paddock that ran around and through the originals Westbrook golfing links.
Historic photo of the Clubhouse
The original clubhouse of the Westbrook Outing Club stood on the north end of what is today Rae Avenue, overlooking North Lake. Ultimately, the building was moved straight north across the valley to Springmill Street, where it served for a few years as a maintenance building at the relocated golf course.

Play It Where It Lies

It seems that the early golfers kept their golf clubs in the Club House, which was originally located on Rae Avenue overlooking the lake. When the Outing Club moved from its Fourth Street location, they took the Club House with them.

Due to the increasing popularity of golf and the desire for more holes to play, the golfers relocated the club to a new location a mile north of the original site. The new location was atop a prominent hill with a beautiful view, and it spanned 170 acres. This new establishment was named the Westbrook Country Club.

To match the grandeur of the new location, the renowned architect Vernon Redding, who was Mansfield’s most prominent architect, designed an impressive and striking country estate to serve as the clubhouse for Westbrook Country Club.

The Scottish Landscape of Mansfield

It’s fascinating to learn about Donald Ross and his significant contributions to golf course design in America. Donald Ross is considered one of the most prominent and influential golf course architects in the United States. His work is highly regarded for its distinctive style and attention to the natural landscape.

Born in Scotland, the birthplace of golf, Ross drew inspiration from the Scottish landscape, particularly his hometown of Dornoch. He identified certain elements, such as deep, small sand traps, knobby knolls, and tilted greens, as essential components of any golf course. These elements occur naturally in the coastal terrain of Dornoch near the sea.

Ross’s most well-known work can be found at Pinehurst in North Carolina, but he has designed around 400 golf courses worldwide between 1900 and 1948. His expertise and vision led him to create unique and challenging golf courses that are still recognized and appreciated by golfers today.

For our golf course, Ross applied his distinctive style to sculpt the hillside landscape. For the last hundred years, conventional wisdom has it that if you want to play Westbrook’s greens you have to realize that they all slant toward the Steel Mill.

With Donald Ross’s influence, the Westbrook golf course showcases his signature design elements, making it a point of pride for the town and a remarkable addition to his extensive portfolio of golf course designs.

Historic photo of Clubhouse and part of golf course
The design for a new clubhouse was drawn up by the Mansfield architectural firm of Althouse & Jones, completed in 1942.
Aerial photo of Westbrook
An aerial photo taken in the 1970’s.

“Exploring Westbrook’s History” has been provided by History Columnist, Timothy Brian McKee.
McKee, Timothy Brian. (2018, September, 8) Westbrook: The Scottish hills of Mansfield. richlandsource.

The Clubhouse

If you visit Westbrook Country Club today, you won’t find the classic old clubhouse that Donald Ross saw in the 1920s due to a fire that occurred in the 1940’s. However, the club was resilient and rebuilt, replacing the original structure with a new Georgian Clubhouse, which remains beloved through modern updates and is still utilized by its members and guests to this day.

Despite the clubhouse change, the picturesque grounds have remained true to Donald Ross’s original vision. Over the course of more than 100 years, the fairways and greens of the Scottish landscape have received meticulous care and attention, resulting in their current state as a true gem, akin to a polished and rare jewel, often referred to as “a diamond in the rough.” The landscape’s beauty and quality have stood the test of time, providing a delightful and cherished experience for all who visit Westbrook Country Club.

A Diamond in the Rough

At Westbrook Country Club, we take immense pride in not only our stunning Clubhouse and meticulously maintained grounds but also the wide range of amenities we provide for our esteemed members and guests. Delight in the exquisite dining experience, partake in exciting club events, and engage in corporate activities while fostering new friendships and partnerships along the way.

Our club offers top-notch facilities, including a swimming pool with lessons available, and boasts the finest golf course in central Ohio. The Clubhouse itself is a sight to behold, with various dining areas and event spaces that offer awe-inspiring panoramic views of our 18-hole course. Whether you seek a relaxed and casual ambiance or an elegant setting for special occasions, our Clubhouse provides the perfect backdrop for any event you have in mind. Come and experience the finest that Westbrook Country Club has to offer, and create unforgettable memories in our idyllic setting.

The Lahm Lounge

Frank Purdy Lahm (1877-1963) was a prominent figure in aviation history, hailing from Mansfield, and considered a proud American aviation pioneer. He held the distinction of being recognized as the “nation’s first military aviator” and attained the rank of general officer in both the United States Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces. Lahm’s fascination with flying stemmed from his father, who was a skilled balloonist. Notably, Lahm was among the first to receive civil qualification certificates related to aviation.

In recognition of his significant contributions to the field of aviation and his visionary understanding of aircraft’s military potential, the Westbrook Lahm Lounge was dedicated in his honor.

We kindly request that our members and guests dress in Country Club Casual attire during lunch service. However, for evening dining, jackets are required for gentlemen.

The Lahm Lounge offers a splendid experience, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows that provide panoramic views not only of the lush greens but also serve as the perfect vantage point to witness aviation traffic coming and going from the nearby Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport. The Lounge serves as an exceptional space to enjoy the legacy of aviation while appreciating the natural beauty that surrounds Westbrook Country Club.

Brigadier General Frank P. Lahm