Often seen as anti-egalitarian and elitist, the country club has provoked strong responses since its initial appearance in the late 1800s. Golf, another elitist identifier, was commonly dismissed as a pseudo-sport or even unmanly. Where and how had the country club and the game of golf taken root in the United States? How had the manicured order of the golf course become a cultural site that elicited both strong loyalties and harsh criticism?
Richard J. Moss's cultural history explores the establishment of the country club as an American social institution and its inextricable connection to the ancient, imported game of golf. Moss traces the evolution of country clubs from informal groups of golf-playing friends to “country estates” in the suburbs and, eventually, into public and private daily fee courses, corporate country clubs, and gated golfing communities. As he shows, the development of these institutions reveals profound shifts in social dynamics, core American values, and attitudes toward health and sport.