In the 1950s a farmer named Griefe Raible purchased a large area of land and named it Pebblebrook Farms. Pebblebrook Farms came to be known as one of the premiere farms in the area for breeding prize Guernsey Cattle. The main barn on the farm was also used for square dancing for the local families.
Raible had the desire and the funds to build what has become the jewel of Berkshire Hills Golf Course, the Manor House. The Manor House was designed by famed architect Monroe “Monty” Walker Copper, Sr. and has 31 rooms in total, including seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, two kitchens, and formal living and dining rooms. Raible’s vision was to create an affordable residential community out of his large Pebblebrook Farm and began plans for constructing roads that would allow for access to many home sites. Fortunately for us golfers, marketing of the land stopped short of the original plans, leaving most of the farmland and wooded areas undeveloped.
In 1954, Pebblebrook Farm was purchased by the Wagner brothers, Lou and Morrie. The brothers began the long and arduous task of creating a private country club with amenities such as an 18-hole championship golf course, a 25-yard swimming pool, tennis courts, and formal dining room and banquet facilities. After completing the construction and renovation, the Wagners named the club Pebblebrook Country Club, with the name derived from the streams and brooks winding through the golf course. The Wagners remodeled the barn structures that had been on the farm to serve as a clubhouse, banquet facility, and auxiliary locker room building. They then constructed a pro shop and, at the time, the largest lap pool in the area.
Milan S. Kapel Senior, his brother Frank J. Kapel, and a hand full investors bought the Pebblebrook property from the Wagner brothers and renamed it Berkshire Hills Golf Course. The name Berkshire Hills was decided because the hills in the area are the foothills of the Berkshire Mountain Chain of the Northeastern US.
The Kapel vision for the property was not unlike that of its original owner, Griefe Raible. However, providing a quality facility was only one aspect of Mr. Kapel’s dream for the course; he wanted to allow people to experience the facility without the customary restrictions to access, which the majority of the other private clubs in the area had. In 1983 Milan Kapel Senior decided to change the direction of the course and Berkshire Hills became a “daily fee” or “open to the public” golf course. This change of format created an even greater opportunity for more of the public to play on a course that was previously exclusive to members.
For over 22 years Berkshire Hills Golf Course was managed by Ron and Joyce Miesz of Arthur Management. Arthur Management was started by Ron’s father Henry Miesz, the developer of the former Landerhaven Golf Course in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Prior to leaving Landerhaven, Henry Miesz began looking for another golf facility to operate to keep the expertise and quality staff that Arthur Management had acquired over the years. Through a mutual friend and former investor in Berkshire Hills, a meeting was set up beginning the management relationship that Arthur Management and Berkshire Hills continued for many years.
Berkshire Hills was recently purchased in 2015 by a private investor. The plans for the course moving forward are to keep the course open and make many improvements to compete with the changing golf times.