BEDFORD - Just south of downtown Bedford, along the meandering trout stream Shobers Run, sits a picturesque, nine-hole golf course the Bedford Elks.
The Elks course has plenty of history, having been built nearly 90 years ago, but is quite different, in many ways, to its close neighbor, the Bedford Springs Resort course.
Since a major renovation several years ago, the Bedford Springs has become a high-end resort course with most of its play reserved for out-of-town guests. The Elks, on the other hand, has developed into a hometown course with plenty of play from local members, as well as area greens fee players.
It's interesting to note, however, that the Bedford Elks course actually began as part of a resort itself.
The layout, constructed in 1925, was built on a facility known as the Arandale Hotel and Resort. In the early 1900s, many entrepreneurs looked to capitalize on the public's increasing appetite for leisure activities. The Arandale was built in an effort to mimic the success of the nearby Bedford Springs. The owners actually turned to the Springs' head pro, Arthur Goss, to design the course we see today.
The resort operated in private hands until 1946 when the local Bedford Elks Lodge purchased the property. The Elks renovated many of the facilities including the existing nine-hole golf course and original hotel, which operated until the mid-1970s when it was razed.
In the late 1970s, the existing Elks Lodge building and pro shop were built - where they remain to this day. In addition to golf, the Elks Lodge offers 20 bowling lanes, a swimming pool and a large ballroom reserved for special events.
Total membership for the Bedford Elks Lodge numbers well over 400; about a third of those opt for the golfing memberships, which can be purchased separately.
The man in charge of managing the daily activities of the lodge is Everett native Rick Grubb.
"The job keeps me pretty busy," Grubb said. "In the summer, I get here at 7 in the morning and work until dark."
Grubb is only the third head professional in the club's history, following original club pro Joe Gardner and longtime head professional Edgar "Peabody" Cypher, who Grubb replaced in 1983.
A respected instructor in the area, Grubb is also an accomplished player. He was a District 5 golf champ for Everett Area High School and also holds the Bedford Elks course record - a 62 shot in 1983.
Although the course is just nine holes, it is typically played twice, to an 18-hole total of 6,364 yards from the back tees.
One very unique feature of the course is the use of two separate greens on the sixth hole. The original green for the hole is situated at 409 yards from the tee for a challenging par 4. Beyond this, across a nearby creek, is an optional green which, when played, makes the hole a 490-yard, par 5.
"Historically, the secondary sixth green hasn't been used much, but I plan to have it played a lot more this year," Grubb said.
Longtime member Mike Arnold, of Bedford, feels Grubb has been a good fit for the club over the years.
"Rick does a great job for us," Arnold said. "I think a club reflects the personality of its head pro, and our membership is fun loving and easy going - just like Rick."
Arnold, who has won nearly 20 Bedford Elks club championships, began playing golf at the club while in the second grade, when his parents moved next door.
"I've played here for the past 58 years and have seen a lot of changes," he said.
During that time he's witnessed the maturing of the course into the scenic layout it is today - under the watchful eye of longtime course superintendent Gary Redinger. Since its inception as a small resort course in the 1920s, the Bedford Elks has become one of the area's most scenic and popular public courses.