History of the Profile Golf Club
Profile Golf Links and Mount Lafayette from the 5th Fairway, by Detroit Photographic Co., 1901
Putting Green at the Profile Golf Club, c. 1905
A photograph dated August 1900 in our present clubhouse shows a gala opening of a new clubhouse ... The
Profile Golf Club is the offspring of the Profile House, one of the great resort hotels in the White
Mountains built in the late 1800's. The golf course became one of its features, and the name came from the
rocky "Old Man of the Mountain", then called the "Profile". Colonel Charles H. Greenleaf, the owner, must
have felt that the inn had everything a summer visitor could want so perhaps it was a shock to learn that
in the early 1890's a ridiculous game imported from Scotland was in demand.
Jack Cornell remembers hearing that his grandfather, J. M. Cornell, a longtime visitor to the hotel,
badgered the poor Colonel into consenting to the expensive addition. Mr. J.M. had seen the old St. Andrews
Links in Scotland and had fallen in love with the game. He may also have seen St. Andrews in Yonkers,
N.Y., the first golf course in the United States, a shaggy but viable six-hole course named after the old
St. Andrews. It was built by John Reid, "The Father of American Golf", in 1888. Colonel Greenleaf, at any
rate, gave in but asked help from his golf-minded guests in choosing a site.
From Eagle Cliff they saw beautiful clearing with just the sort of rolling hills they wanted. This they
investigated and found it to be a group of three old farms no longer producing, and by the greatest of
luck, bordering on the single track of the narrow-gauge Profile and Franconia Notch Railroad [then owned
by Boston and Maine]. The Profile Golf Links came into being in 1899 when the Profile and Flume Hotels
Corporation, owner of the Profile House, puchased the farms of the Chase Brothers and Obed Crane. This
location proved a boon as golfers could play a brisk round in the morning and get back to the hotel for
According to Herbert Warren Wind, author of "The Story of American Golf", it was in 1900 that Harry
Vardon, the famous British professional, made an exhibition tour of American golf courses which Mr. Wind
claims numbered over a thousand by then, with at least one in every state. We are pleased that in a
1962 Guide Book to the State of New Hampshire, there is a quoted letter from
Vardon. He wrote: "I have yet to see a lovelier place, or one with more natural advantages for golf, than
the Profile House Links in the White Mountains and other clubs might well copy the way the Profile Club
does in the matter of grass tees, and piped greens, and with good wet spring next year it will be a course
anybody will be delighted to play on."
-from notes by Mary G. Cornell
The records of the early years are lost, but some who served as officers are mentioned here. William B.
Symmes was "several times President". John B. Cornell, a founder, helped layout the course in 1899, served
as President and Director, and was awarded Life Membership in 1963.
-from notes by John L. Rowbotham (Club President, 1991-92)
Col. Greenleaf hired Arthur H. Fenn (1838 - 1923), a remarkable golf professional from Waterbury, to lay out the course.
Arthur Fenn was a remarkable golfer, and learned the game in just two years. A scratch player, he won the St.
Andrew's in 1897.
Harry Vardon teeing off at the Poland Spring House Golf Course in Maine.
Arthur H. Fenn, who designed the Poland Spring course in 1895, is at left leaning on a golf club.
In the golfing annals of the present year the big open tournament of the St. Andrew's Golf Club, which
finished Saturday, will be remembered as one of the most successful. Close, hotter, and more exciting golf
has been witnessed during the past few days than can be said of any other similar event this year, and the
member may just feel that their new eighteen-hold course at Mount Hope, in Westchester County, has been
most auspiciously opened. The final event, which furnished the excitement and sport, was the handicap, for
a silver cup, given by William H. Sands, the popular amateur champion of the club. Over fifty contestants
finished the eighteen-hole round and the honors went to Arthur H. Fenn, who was recently congratulated by
President McKinley at Lenox after winning the Lenox Golf Cup for the second year. Fenn was one of four
scratch men, and his record for the links was 76. It was a grand score, and notwithstanding the large
number of players whose handicaps ran up to nine strokes, the second best score was five strokes over
Fenn's. Fenn also won the gold medal for the lowest gross score of the day.
-from "Arthur H. Fenn wins the Opel Handicap and Takes the Cup", New York Times, 11
Arthur Fenn was considered a professional golf course designer. This is a partial list of his work:
Waterbury (CT) (1895)
Poland Spring (ME)(1896 - six holes, first resort golf course in U.S.)
Waumbek (Jefferson, NH) (1898 - expanded to 18 holes by Arthur Fenn. Course designed in 1895 by Willie Norton.)
Portsmouth Naval Yard (1896)
Bristol (RI) (1896)
Oquossoc (Rangeley, ME) (1899)
Profile Golf Links (1899)
Crawford House (1899)
Twin Mountain House (1899)
Fabyan House (1899)
Bryn Mawr (1899)
Abenaqui (Rye Beach, NH) (1899)
Fall River (Fall River, MA) (1900 - nine holes)
CC of Farmington (CT) (unk)
-from Golf, Bulletin of USGA, Jun 1899
Drawing of the Profile Golf Links as designed by Arthur H. Fenn in 1899,
published as an advertisement in the 1900 edition of Golf, Bulletin of USGA.
This drawing appeared in 1900 in advertisments for the Profile House in the back of Golf, Bulletin of the
USGA. It's interesting for a couple of reasons: it's the only drawing we're aware of that shows how closely
the Profile and Franconia Notch Railroad came to the clubhouse. It also shows the small shelter for
passengers which functioned as an early clubhouse. The golf course was developed from three farms which were
no longer being operated. The road from Franconia Village to these farms was up Cole Hill Road to Magowan
Hill Road which then, after crossing Black Brook, came into the golf course near the 6th tee. The road from
the farmhouse past the 7th green became Butter Hill Road.
Section of a Franconia map from the 1892 edition of Hurd's Atlas showing the W.B. Chase Farm
(where the tennis courts are now) and the Profile & Franconia Notch Railroad.
Click here for a large
The Daniel Webster Highway (now Route 3) came from the south into the Notch and ended at the
Profile House, and the only road north from there was the Three Mile Hill Road. (A road was eventually built
from the Profile House to the Golf Links. Route 3 from the Notch to Twin Mountain is shown on a 1929
The following are some newspaper clippings from the Society pages of the New York Times from the early
The Profile Golf Club in the White Mountains has announced an open tournament for Aug. 28, and the
following days of that week. The competitive season has already begun, and events for men and women are of
weekly occurrence. The annual meeting of the club was held last week, and the following officers elected
for the year: President-W.N.P. Darrow of Columbus, Ohio: Vice President-Arthur B. Twonbly, New York;
Secretary-Irving Cornell, New York: Treasurer-C.H. Greenleaf of the Profile House. Mrs. Darrow is Chairman
of the House Committee, and John Kendrick Banks is one of the Directors.
-from Golf Notes of Interest column, New York Times, 1 Aug 1900
... The Profile House Golf Club, in the Franconia Notch, is exceedingly well kept, as since April it has
been under the watchful eye of Gen. W.N.P. Darrow of New York, who is one of the keenest golfers in the
White Mountains, and with his wife, an equally expert golfer, an annual visitor to the White
This club has an exclusive membership made up of New York and Boston society people, and among the New
Yorkers already arrived are, besides Gen. Darrow, Mr. Charles Steward Smith, John Hawkesworth, Jr., Irwin
Cornell, John M. Cornell, George, Frank and Adams Ratcheller, Judge Martin J. Keogh, Phelps Montgomery,
George Roe Lockwood, Dr. Charles Atwood, John Kendrick Bangs, second. Cornelius N. Bliss, Jr., and many
others of equal prominence. The teas given weekly at the Profile Club are very smart affairs, and Mrs.
W.N.P. Darrow, Mrs. Arthur B. Twombly, and many other society women act as hostesses in turn.
The August events at the Profile club are always noteworthy, particularly since the Misses Fanny and
Hannah Osgood of Boston are there during the month. ...
-from "White Mountain Golf Courses" column, New York Times, 2 Aug 1908
The Profile golfers drove down to the Golf Club on Monday morning for a strenous day's play, taking their
luncheon with them to serve at the clubhouse, which is gay with striped awnings and comfortable for a
midday rest. Fishing has been uncommonly good this week in Profile Lake, and Mr. and Mrs. W.N.P. Darrow,
the Messrs. Stuart, Mr. William F. Bridge, Mr. John C. Tappin, and Mr. R.H.P. Durkee are of Profile guests
who often go out in their boats at sundown or early in the morning when the dew is still on the grass to
take a string of speckled trout.
-from "In the White Mountains" column, New York Times, 1 Aug 1909
... Irwin H. Cornell has taken the cottage formerly occupied by the late William F. Bridge at the Profile
House and will arrive with his family in August. Mr. and Mrs. John M. Cornell will arrive about the 20th
with Mrs. Frederic Wendell Jackson. ...
-from "In the White Mountains" column, New York Times, 7 Jul 1915
PROFILE HOUSE, N.H., Mrs Bernie H. Evans, H. Ray Paige, and W. B. Symmes, Jr. are the committee in the
annual tennis tournament at the Profile House which comes to finals today. Mrs. Hermann Fleitman has
joined Mrs. Ewald Fleitman at her cottage here. ...
-from "Tape Races in the White Mountains" column, New York Times, 24 Aug 1915
View of the Farmhouse and Clubhouse in 1901, by Detroit Photographic Co.
This next section covers the period after the devasting fire that destroyed the Profile House.
The club under the wing of the Profile House flourished until 1923 when one hot dry summer day that
splendid hotel burned to the ground. After the shock had worn off many of the guests decided not to leave
the White Mountains and I think the golf played a big part in their decision to stay. Since the hotel was
not to be rebuilt, they bought land and built summer cottages or went to other hotels nearby, ... proud of
having, as Harry Vardon had prophesied, "a course anybody will be delighted to play on." He never wrote
-from notes by Mary G. Cornell
After the Profile House fire, Tracy Voorhees and a group of prominent summer residents under the
leadership of William B. Symmes, Jr. joined together to form Profile Properties, Inc. which bought the golf
club property from the Profile and Flume Hotels Corporation. Community ownership proved successful in
spite of the ups and downs of succeeding years, but problems raised by World War II brought Profile
Properties, Inc. within sight of failure. Lowell Ross Burch was President of Profile Club during the
leanest years of depression and war, keeping it going with a very small membership. His daughter, Katy
Symmes, recounts that during those years only five members paid dues, as few had sufficient gasoline
(because of rationing) to make the trip. The sale of lumber and gravel delayed the crisis, but in December
1945 the directors of Profile Properties, Inc. decided to sell the club and property to Mrs. William
(Gladys) B. Symmes who had agreed to maintain the golf course and facilities.
The Profile Club, Inc. was incorporated in 1945 by Gladys Dwight Symmes (widowed in 1942), Roland Peabody
of Franconia and Attorney Jobn Carlton of Manchester, N.H. Working with Roland Peabody, she restored the
buildings and club, and ran the club until 1949 when she died. Her children, Barbara, Dwight, and David
continued until 1952, when the responsibilities of operation had become too heavy for one family to
maintain. Under the leadership of Milton Cornell a new corporation was formed in 1952, the Profile Golf Club, Inc. The club was now owned and operated by the members, but leased the real estate and facilities from the Symmes family.
In a few years, many members of the Golf Club expressed a desire to become owners of the property. The
President appointed a Long Range Planning Committee in 1959 under the Chairmanship of Francis L. Blewer to
investigate ways and means of returning the property to community ownership.
The plan adopted was enthusiastically supported by the Golf Club and Symmes family, and involved
selling the ownership corporation (Profile Club, Inc.) at what the Directors regarded as a favorable price
of $30,000. Golf Club members in good standing were offered a total of 90 shares at $300 per share representing 90% of the stock (the Symmes family retained 10% for themselves). The offer was accepted by the membership and completed in early 1960.
-from a letter by Josephene P. Voorhees, Club President (1959-60) and notes by
John L. Rowbotham, Club President (1991-92)
In 1961, the Profile Golf Club, Inc. corporation was dissolved leaving the single Profile Club, Inc. corporation.
Map of Profile Golf Club showing the Old Golf Club Road from Cole Hill Road,
Peckett's Black Brook Camp, greens for holes 4, 5, 6 & 7, and tennis courts, c. 1940
Click here for a large
Map of Profile Golf Club from 1929 by R.T. Gile, redrawn Sept 1959 by David Symmes
Click here for a large
-History compiled by Bill Symmes, grandson of William B. Symmes
Presidents of the Profile Golf Club:
1902-08 General W.N.P. Darrow (first president)
John B. Cornell
John F. O'Brien
William B. Symmes, Jr.
Thomas F. Vietor
Lowell R. Burch
1952-56 Milton L. Cornell
1957-58 David Symmes
1959-60 Josephine Voorhees
1961 Francis L. Blewer
1962 Louis L. Cornell
1963 Captain David Burns
1964 Tracy Voorhees
1965-66 Benton L. Moyer, Jr.
1967-68 James Alexander
1969-70 Joseph Connors
1971 Edward Morehouse
1972 William M. Deutsch
1973 George Roorbach
1974 Marcia B. Holder
1975 Robert Whitney, Jr.
1976-77 H. Ashton Crosby
1978-79 Charles Weston
1980 David McPhaul
1981 David Schaffer
1982 Shelly Connors
1983 Robert Scully (interim)
1983-84 Dorothy Guider
1985-86 Bertram H. Dube
1987-88 William E. Tucker, Jr.
1989-90 Frederick W. Griffin
1991-92 John L. Rowbotham
1993-94 H. Taylor Caswell, Jr.
1995-96 George Roorbach
1997 William E. Tucker, Jr.
1998 William M. Hallager
1999-00 Edward Carbonaro
2001 James McCusker
2002-03 Beth Perlo
2004-05 C. Boyd Bush
2006-07 Charles de Rham
2008-09 Bradley R. Thayer
2010-11 Jack L. Ernsberger
2012-13 Milton C. "Bud" Weiler
2014-15 James K. Cornell
2016-17 Jennifer R. Opalinski
2018-19 Randall Kunz
2020 Jack Resch