ABOUT NEWPORT GOLF CLUB
The origins of the club began just prior to 1920, when two residents of Newport, Bob Gould and Sid Rollins, grew tired of making the 10-mile trek to Claremont to play golf. Gould and Rollins believed that their town should have its own course and thus assembled a group of like-minded individuals to create the Newport Golf Club.
The first assembly of the club was on March 30, 1920 where members aimed to find a suitable location to build the course. After careful consideration and the blessing of former British Open winner Will Park Jr., it was determined that the course would be constructed at its current location on Unity Road. The property, leased with an option to buy, was a conglomeration of several small parcels of land, with the largest being owned by Dr. J. Leavitt Cain and William Davis. According to Park, the property, located in the scenic Sugar River Valley, was an ideal location with natural features that would enable the construction to be cost effective.
Construction of the 9-hole course began in the summer of 1920 and was completed in 1921. By 1927, Dr. Cain had passed away and the club decided that it was necessary to exercise their option to purchase the property to ensure that the course remain intact. On April 4, 1928, the property was officially transferred to the Newport Golf Club where the original Willy Park Jr. 9-hole design remained intact for nearly 70 years with only minor renovations.
John H. Cain, grandson of the late Dr. Cain, grew up working at the course and for a time moved to Rhode Island to train as a greens superintendent and club professional. When his training was complete, he returned to Newport and resumed working for the club until his death in January of 1965. Upon his death, the Newport Golf Club renamed itself the John H. Cain Golf Club in honor of his life-long dedication to the club and the community.
The newly named John H. Cain Golf Club continued to operate as a 9-hole, members-owned club until 1988, when the members passed a motion to purchase additional land adjacent to the club from George Catsam to expand and become an 18-hole course designed by Phil Wogan. In May 1991, the new course was opened with great reviews. The Wogan design has remained intact with only minor renovations recently done to lengthen the tee boxes on holes 2, 3, 11, and 13.
In March 2003, the club was sold to John and Nick Catsam, sons of the late George Catsam and previous landowner of what was to become the back nine. Under new ownership, the name was restored to the Newport Golf Club in an effort to better associate the club with the town and people of the surrounding area. In January 2008, John’s eldest son, Joseph Catsam, joined the ownership group which continues to manage the club to this day with a community first approach.