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On September 17, 1965 Jackson Hole’s first golf club opened for business. Fifty-one years later the Club has completed a major $15 million Club improvement project and once again the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club is entering a new era. With a newly renovated golf course, a new tennis and pool complex, a new private events patio, and a gorgeous new Clubhouse and fitness center, it is a very exciting and transitional time for guests and staff alike. The following is the story of this great Club, then and now.
Jackson Hole is a vibrant community set at the gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Sitting in the shadows of the jagged Grand Teton Mountain Range, Jackson Hole spans a total 4,214 square miles of water and glacier carved earth. The beauty of the Teton skyline jutting out of the flat expanse of the Snake River Valley is one of the most familiar images in the American West. The Tetons have become the quintessential representation of what all mountains should look like, mountains of the imagination. Sitting at the base of these storied peaks is the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club.
When the Club opened in 1965 the population of Jackson Hole was 4,629. The majority of these Teton County residents were hard working blue-collar laborers. Local industry was spread between ranching, agriculture, construction, retail trade, and recreational services. The median household income was $9,667 and the median price per home was $27,800. It was during these years that locals began realizing the potential of the region as a recreational paradise for visitors from around the globe. The Jackson Hole tourism industry was in the midst of consecutive record years and local knowledge became a sought after commodity. Entrepreneurs began organizing businesses that offered guided recreational options such as skiing, white water rafting, mountaineering, hunting, horseback riding, fishing, and camping. One local visionary built a golf club…
After founding the Jackson Hole Ski Corp, and in the midst of building the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the legendary Paul McCollister and his partners became interested in developing Jackson Hole’s first golf course. They determined the course should be located out in the valley allowing the most spectacular views. Just North of the town of Jackson and with 360-degree views of the Teton, Snake, and Gros Ventre Mountain Ranges, the Karns Ranch was the ideal location for a golf course. Bordered by the Gros Ventre River to the East and the Snake River to the West, both merging one-mile South of the property, the land was naturally irrigated and fertile, allowing cottonwoods, aspens, and spruces to thrive in an otherwise desert like plain.
In 1958 McCollister purchased the ranch for $30,000 and hired Bob Baldock and son out of California to design the golf course, which opened to great acclaim in the fall of 1965. Originally envisioning the golf club as a limb of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, McCollister had high hopes to build a bridge over the Snake River attaching the two properties. Unfortunately, the County disagreed with his proposed bridge and it was not approved. Due to the county’s decision and to budget issues, McCollister and his associates put their new Club on the market only two years after it opened in March of 1967.
On April 14, 1967, one month after the Club had been put up for sale, The Grand Teton Lodge Company, with Laurance Rockefeller at its helm, purchased the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club for the sum of $850,000. In 1973 Rockefeller commissioned the young and ambitious Robert Trent Jones Jr. to redesign the golf course. This original redesign improved the course to one of the countries finest mountain resort courses and set the stage for more than four decades of spectacular golf. Over the years the golf course has been consistently ranked the finest course in Wyoming and in the top 100 resort golf courses in the country according to Golf Digest Magazine.
In 1999 Vail Resorts purchased the Grand Teton Lodge Company and began planning a significant improvement project at their newly acquired Club. Eight years and $15 million later the new improvements span the entire property and include the total renovation of the golf course by Robert Trent Jones II, a new tennis and pool complex, a new 12,000 sq ft. western lodge style Clubhouse and fitness center, and a private events patio. With the project complete 2007 marks JHGTC’s Grand Re-Opening.
Envisioned by Paul McCollister in 1958, brought to fruition by Laurance Rockefeller and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in the late sixties, and dramatically improved by Vail Resorts in the new millennium, JHGTC continues to offer one of the most remarkable opportunities in all of Jackson Hole. With one of the best views on the globe, $15 million in Club improvements, and a newly renovated Robert Trent Jones II championship golf course, this great Club will rank among the most reputable mountain Golf Clubs in all of North America. The Tetons will once again stand witness to a new and exciting era at the legendary Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club.