In the spring of 1964 Bill and Vi Davis purchased a rocky potato field, that had been turned into a hay field, from Winfield Anderson and began constructing a golf course. They had a farmer come in and remove about 700 bales of hay. They couldn’t plow the place up for the planting of grass until they had removed all the stones from the soil, so the entire area was covered with hay-stubble that they cut with a flail-type mower. They spent two years clearing rocks. They would rake the smaller rocks into piles and shovel the piles by hand into a two-wheeled trailer and take them to the stone fences. They also cut up and disposed of several miles of barbed wire and the supporting posts.
The Maintenance Building was completed in the summer of 1964 and the raised 8th tee next to the maintenance building was built up gradually over several years while they scrounged up enough large stones to make an elevated tee. Mr. Davis was finally able to finish the 8th tee when he purchased a Ford tractor with a front end loader and could lift the stones and put them in place. The old blue tractor was still used to mow the fairways until Peter Trenchard purchased a fairway mower. The old tractor is still used to pull the gang mowers and cut some of the rough, put heavy rocks back in place and pull broken down equipment in to be repaired. Mr. Davis should know that it is still alive and well.
In the late summer of 1964 the construction began on the 7th green. Construction began on the house in the fall of 1964 and the clubhouse was constructed throughout the winter of 1965-66. In 1965 the first irrigation trench was dug along the sixth fairway.
Numerous small trees were planted, most no more that 6-12 inches high. Today those baby trees are 30-50 feet high and hundreds of additional trees have been added through a vigorous tree planting and replacement program. The land was overseeded with Park Kentucky Blue, but it took a number of years for this fast germinating grass to take over for the stubble and cover the rocks.
All the holes are now defined and there are more than 75 different kinds of trees. Also, many of the tees have been defined by flower gardens.
Bay Ridge officially opened to the public on July 4, 1966.
Bay Ridge Golf Course is a family owned and operated golf course that reflects a history of involvement and care that only comes when a business is considered personal. Built by Bill and Vi Davis and opened in 1966, the course has evolved from a hay field to a beautifully maintained and manicured 9-hole golf course. The course was purchased by Peter Trenchard in 1976. Peter began a program of planting 50 trees a year and added an irrigation system. In 1982 his wife Dianne began adding flower gardens.
Peter’s interest in golf became national and he was one of the founders of the National Golf Course Owners Association and from 1990-1993 was a member of the Executive Committee of the USGA. The Trenchards built and operated Cherry Hills Lodge and Golf Resort from 1990-2004 while still running Bay Ridge. They were particularly proud of the restaurant at Cherry Hills and their signature Sunday brunch is still remembered and missed. Since selling Cherry Hills they have focused on improving Bay Ridge and continuing with their commitments to Door County and their community. Over the years Peter has made significant contributions to the Clearing, Peninsula Players, Midsummer Music, the Fairfield, the YMCA and the Door Community Auditorium. He was a member of Sister Bay Village Board and was instrumental in getting a harbor in Sister Bay and wine licenses in the State of Wisconsin. Dianne has served on the Gibraltar School Board, the board of United Way of Door County and for the past 10 years has been on the board of the Peninsula Music Festival. She is also known for her gourmet cooking skills, particularly her desserts, and some of her delicacies are occasionally available in the golf shop.
In 2011, the Trenchards sold Bay Ridge Golf Course to their son Erik Anderson. Erik may have been the youngest Bay Ridge employee. He began “helping” in the clubhouse when he was eight. The president of his own company in Los Angeles, Erik grew-up on the course and is hoping to return the Bay Ridge rocks to their rightful place near the 4th tee so they can be seen by everyone coming down the hill on their way to Sister Bay. What goes around, comes around!