Course, Land and Designer History
Measuring only 6,400 yards from the back tees, the course at Shelbyville Country Club may look easy on paper, trust us, it is not. Buck Blankenship’s 1934 design has been expanded and modernized to provide a fun yet challenging golf experience. The links houses five par 5’s, five par 3’s and eight par 4’s. While length off the tee may be an advantage on some holes, it can easily be a hindrance on others. Narrow landing areas and gently bending fairways may leave long hitters in more trouble than they bargained for. The thoughtful design and multiple teeing grounds allow shorter hitters a more level playing field to challenge the longer player. With hundreds of mature trees, fast deceptive greens, and holes cut into the undulating landscape of Shelby County, the course at SCC demands both patience and control to navigate successfully. Our course is both challenging and fair, a combination that brings enjoyment to all our members and guests.
Shelbyville Country Club was design in 1934 by Clarence Riley Blankenship
Clarence Riley Blankenship, “Buck”
A native of Somerset, Blankenship was a long time PGA Member and built a legacy as a golf course designer (over 35 golf courses to his credit, primarily in Kentucky), golf course owner/operator, and promoter of the game. He designed, owned, and operated the popular Bright Leaf Golf Resort in Harrodsburg.
Humble Beginnings And Early Career- While Buck was a teenager, his father, a sharecropper, moved his family from Kentucky to California in search of work. Being a “farm boy,” Buck landed a job on the grounds crew at the exclusive Hillcrest Country Club in Beverly Hills and spent the next 21 years working there, eventually becoming the course superintendent.
Buck was in California when the Depression hit and his family whitewashed a chicken coop on a chicken farm in the San Fernando Valley and used it as its residence.
Even though he had a good job in California, Buck always talked to his family about moving back to Kentucky and that’s what he did in 1944. He bought a small farm outside of Hustonville with $7,000 in savings, then, a few years later, sold it for $14,000 and bought the 110 acres (along with a wheat drill) in Mercer County for $16,500.
Blankenship learned to love golf courses in California but his love of the land and farming brought him back to Kentucky. He was a busy man. In addition to farming, he found time to design and build golf courses. In 1963, he decided to build one for himself. After all, he had the land. Blankenship designed and developed Bright Leaf. The first course he built was a nine-hole regulation course and a lighted nine-hole, par-three course on that farm he bought in Mercer County and would eventually be named Bright Leaf Golf Resort.
Hall of Fame Status- Blankenship, is a member of the Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame after being inducted in 2009. He had designed dozens of courses, including Kentucky courses at Fort Knox, Owen County, Casey County, Frankfort, Nicholasville, Georgetown, LaGrange, Ashland, Lexington, Taylorsville, Shelbyville and Versailles. Many of the golf courses were built partially because of a federal program that allocated money to small towns without golf courses.
A full list of his course designs can be found here.