Over the course of more than a century, the land known today as Ed Oliver Golf Club has evolved with a growing metropolis and a changing golf population. In May 1901, the Wilmington Country Club(WCC) announced to a select group of area residents that the club had been formed and a long-term lease of club land was secured. The club was officially incorporated under Delaware law — the result of a merger of the WCC and Delaware Field Club.
On that 129-acre plot of land, 25 workers with 8 horses raked the land and formed the WCC’s first course in August 1901. The 9 hole course cost just $2,000 to build (some $53,000 in 2014 – shocking still, right?). After the harvesting of a profitable tract of land growing wheat crops, the WCC authorized another $850 to build a second 9 holes. It was done in just three weeks. The following year, the clubhouse opened, as did tennis and trap shooting facilities and space to play clock golf, a putting game whereby players make putts to a single, central hole from different spokes on a circular setup, like a clock. But the original plan was clear: “Golf should have first place”. In 1937, the club turned its eye to the imminent end of its 60-year lease of 108 acres of its 129-acre space. Eventually, WCC found its new home in Greenville with the help of the duPont family, purchasing 335 acres of land on Rt 52 from the family in 1960. The clubhouse at the new location was christened in Nov. 1962.
WCC gave up its lease and the land returned to the duPont family, which chose to simply donate the space and the course to the City of Wilmington. It then became known as Porky Oliver Golf Course, named for the eight-time PGA Tour winner and multi-time major championship runner-up that grew up caddying on those then-Wilmington C.C. grounds.While the Ed Ault design has gone almost unchanged since 1971, the club has always found new ways to bring people into the game.
Under Billy Casper Golf management, Ed Oliver has offered innovative membership programs and opportunities to play golf with a unique slant, including tremendously popular Night Golf programs and the golf-lifestyle membership program, Women on Course.
Ed Oliver’s welcomes guests to try a new game on its grounds: FOOTGOLF
With the opening of our new course, and the first of its kind in Delaware, Wilmington will be in on a trend sweeping the nation. Players kick a soccer ball through a course built into rarely used parts of each golf hole into a 21-inch hole, trying to do so in the least kicks possible. FootGolf will be in addition to regular golf. Ed Oliver’s will remain, first and foremost, a ‘traditional’ golf course. FootGolf will be available during off-peak times.
In the more than half-century it has been a public course, Ed Oliver G.C. has been the home of public golf in Wilmington and will continue to evolve as the game and the people who play it do, too.
Ed Oliver’s is the only Delaware location listed on the AFGL (American Foot Golf League) website via www.afgl.us.
What Is FootGolf?
Rules for FootGolf
- All players must wear proper attire. Golf cleats are not permitted.
- Players are allowed to bring their own soccer ball, but Ed Oliver’s will have soccer balls to rent.
- Just like golf, please keep up with the group in front of you. If your group falls too far behind, you will be asked to skip a hole to catch up.
- Please be respectful of other footgolfers and golfers on the course.
How to play FootGolf
- When kicking off at the beginning of each hole, players must start behind the markers, but no farther back than 2 yards.
- The ball must be played in a single movement. Your foot should be separate from the ball, clearly behind, before kicking.
- The player farthest from the hole, kicks first.
- You must wait until the ball stops before you may kick it again, even if it is being blown by the wind.
- Play the ball where it lies, even if it lies behind a tree or in a sand trap.
- If your kick ends up in the water, the player must take a 1 point penalty. The player’s ball should be placed within two steps of where the ball landed in the water.
- Only on the green is it permitted to lift and clean your soccer ball.
Check out these links to find out more about the sport:
Visit Ed Oliver’s Golf Club on Facebook to find out What’s Happening! www.facebook.com/EdOliverGolf