Reading Country Club

Rolling golf course with green and flag in forefront.
Reading Country Club view of the course in the northwest portion of the property

Photograph by April Frantz, courtesy of Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Quick Facts

Location:
5311 Perkiomen Avenue, Exeter Township, Pennsylvania
Significance:
Architecture/engineering
Designation:
Listed in the National Register – Reference number 100002521
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Yes
MANAGED BY:
Reading Country Club
The Reading Country Club golf course is an important example of an Alexander Findlay-designed golf course, and is significant for landscape architecture. Findlay’s design at RCC is among the best examples of his work and one of the few Findlay courses that has maintained his design with little change. The period of significance begins in 1922, with the installation of the first nine holes, and extends to 1931, when the existing clubhouse was completed, and the primary portion of the property’s landscape essentially took its final form.

Findlay (1865-1942), emigrated from his native Scotland to Omaha, Nebraska, in the mid-1880s. He was an accomplished golfer and is credited with shooting the sport’s first score of 72 in competition, this occurring in 1886 at the Royal Montrose Golf Club, Scotland. In 1887, he built a 6-hole golf course west of Omaha, considered the first golf course west of the Mississippi River. From there, he became one of America’s pioneers of the game.

Findlay at one time was in charge of designing and building golf courses for the Florida East Coast Railway. In 1897, Findlay was hired by the Wright and Ditson Company, Boston, to design a line of golf clubs. Wright and Ditson, founded in 1871, was acquired by A.G. Spaulding in 1892. In 1900, he brought Harry Vardon, the great British professional, to the United States for a series of exhibition matches, often playing against the Englishman. The matches garnered wide-spread newspaper coverage, which helped popularize golf in America at the turn of the 20th century.

In the early 1920s, when he designed Reading Country Club’s golf course, Findlay was associated with the Wanamakers department store in Philadelphia, retiring in 1936 following a 27-year career. Findlay also wrote a column for the now-defunct Philadelphia newspaper, The Evening Telegraph. His column was titled "Breezy News About Golf And Golfers; Tales of the Links as Told by an Expert Whose Fame Spreads Over Two Continents".