A SHORT HISTORY OF THE DUPONT COUNTRY CLUB

DuPont Country Club is located on 525 acres in the beautiful Brandywine Valley in the state of Delaware. Although the DuPont Country Club was founded in 1920, the roots of a recreational club for DuPont employees can be traced back to the 1880’s. The Eleutherian Mills Mansion on the grounds of Hagley Museum was the location for the Rokeby Club. As members of the Rokeby Club, employees enjoyed sports and activities up to the turn of the century.

A few years later, across the Brandywine River at the DuPont Experimental Station, after-work employee activities included the DuPont Gun Club and the DuPont Athletic Association which focused mainly on baseball, with some interest in tennis. This diverse group of sports enthusiasts incorporated in May 1920 to form the DuPont Country Club.

The original club facilities consisted of a two story frame house (originally the gun club), a baseball diamond with grandstand and three tennis courts. By late 1922, a nine-hole golf course and eight tennis courts were constructed.

Club membership increased rapidly over the next few years and quickly outgrew their facilities. Mrs. George Copeland, owner of the estate adjoining the club, was instrumental in the expansion of the club. Mrs. Copeland contributed local stone and other materials for the construction, and in 1924 the new clubhouse was dedicated. An 18 hole golf course, designed by Donald Ross, was built next to the clubhouse and, by 1929, additional tennis courts brought the number of courts to fourteen.

As the popularity of golf at the DuPont Country Club continued, a second golf course, the Nemours Course, was constructed in 1937. Following World War II, club membership was once again on the rise. At the DuPont Experimental Station there was a growing demand for expansion of the research facilities. The Experimental Station was quickly becoming one of the largest industrial research centers in the U. S.

By 1946, plans were underway for the DuPont Country Club to move to Rockland Road.

The new DuPont Country Club clubhouse and golf course were dedicated on May 28, 1949. The Georgian Colonial clubhouse included a grand ballroom, dining areas and rooms of various sizes for meetings and events. Locker rooms with lounges awaited the ever growing membership. The new DuPont Course, designed by Alfred Tull, extended from the back of the clubhouse. The new course was specifically designed for spectator golf. At the time, the only other such course was Augusta National, home of the Masters Tournament.

The DuPont Country Club now had 5,000 members who could enjoy 45 holes of golf; the 18 hole DuPont Course, the 18 hole Nemours course and 9 holes on the old DuPont course. The Black Gates Course was added in 1955 and enlarged to 18 holes in 1965 and renamed the Montchanin Course.

The first McDonald’s LPGA Golf Tournament was played at the Club in 1986 and continued there until 2004. During the 1980’s, club membership was at an all time high of 9,360, enjoying a total of 525 acres with clubhouse and sports facilities.

Brantwyn Mansion, a 28,000 sq. ft. DuPont family home located on 60 acres, was purchased from the DuPont family in 1990. Delaware’s former Governor, Pete DuPont, grew up in this beautiful home.

The years between 1965 and the end of the century saw expansion of our tennis facilities. In the 70’s tennis had become a popular year-round sport. The Black Gates Tennis Center opened in 1981; home to six enclosed courts and nineteen outdoor courts (seventeen Har-Tru and two hard court surfaces, eight lighted for night play). The original 1970 tennis enclosure was dismantled and the area converted to all-weather courts.

A new tennis building was opened in November 1997. The new building was designed to provide a viewing balcony on the back side of the courts, locker rooms for men and women, a tennis pro shop, and a room to accommodate some exercise equipment.

A complete fitness center was established January 1, 1998. The center was filled with aerobic and strength building equipment and the first Fitness Center at the club was born. The Fitness Center was moved from the Tennis Center to the Club’s Rockland Room in 2009.

In 2003, the DuPont golf course underwent a complete restoration, which retained the historic qualities of the course design while addressing the requirements of golf in the new millennium. Clubhouse renovation and updates were completed in 2006, although the architectural qualities of the original building design have been retained.

Through the years, the club has welcomed several celebrities and officials. Our golf courses have been played by some golf greats such as Betsy Rawls, Nancy Lopez and Julie Inkster, as well as actor Bob Hope. The DuPont Country Club Tennis Courts have seen the likes of Wimbledon greats Margaret Osborne DuPont, Billy Jean King and Venus Williams.