Golf arrived in St. Louis a little late. The east coast was alive with courses, but the movement west was much slower. Whether Foxboro GC or the Dorset Club or St. Andrews (NY) or Oakhurst Links were the first clubs that are still in existence, all having begun between 1884-88, is not the issue here. Golf was being played in Chicago in 1892 and in the early 1890s in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, California, Georgia, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Quincy (IL) had a club in 1898, and there were courses in Kansas City, St. Joseph and Omaha prior to 1895, though many of these would later be abandoned for various reasons. One of the earliest courses was established in Fairfield, Iowa – the Fairfield Golf & Country Club – which documents the founding of its course in 1892! Other courses were established in Gearhart, Oregon (Gearhart Links) and Riverside CC (Riverside, CA) with each of these also showing 1892 as their origin. Each of these courses west of the Mississippi, only had 9-holes, while some even had fewer when they were formed. In addition, a few clubs were founded in one year but took several more before a course was actually constructed.
Courses were built in Peoria and Springfield (IL) in this period that still exist. When the Chicago GC moved to Wheaton from Belmont in 1894 (the original 9-hole course in Downers Grove today) they established their 18-hole layout, the first 18-hole course in America, it marked the beginning of the growth of golf in America. However, golf would not be played in the Bi-state area with any regularity until 1896; but once it came, courses sprang up for the next decade.
A “Golf Guide” published in 1899 listed every known course in America. This Guide lists a total of 10 courses in Missouri; two in Kansas City and eight in the St. Louis Area. They were the St. Louis Field Club, St. Louis CC, St. Louis Jockey Club, St. Louis Athletic Club, Kinloch Club, Normandy Heights GC, Carondelet Park Links, and Jefferson Barracks Links. As noted by the Guide “...the above six clubs maintain golf links of one kind or another, in addition to the better known courses of the St. Louis Field Club and the Country Club.” By 1900, the Country Club and the Field Club had also joined the United States Golf Association (USGA).
Another source comes from “The Golfers Green Book” published in 1906 by Joseph E. G. Ryan for the Western Golf Association. This publication states there were four courses in St. Louis that belonged to the Association; St. Louis Country Club, Glen Echo, Normandie and St. Louis Field Club.
One distinction that must be made is that of a club versus a course. Courses did spring up at various times, but those associated with “clubs” received the recognition. So while a links may have been built in a park, unless it was part of a “club” it was not deemed worthy of recognition.
St. Louis CC
St. Louis Country Club was originally located in Bridgeton in 1892, where enough room existed for the construction of a Polo Field, which was the primary interest at the time. Early club founders John Shepley, Marshal Hodgman, Irwin Smith, and James Scudder owned a farm in Bridgeton and offered to lease it for a polo club. Many sons of prominent St. Louisans, in particular, Clay Pierce, Walter McKittrick, and Ted Steedmann had learned of polo while attending eastern colleges and they were anxious to create a similar environment here. With initially only 15 members there was some interest in the new game of golf, but here polo was king. In fact, the logo for St. Louis CC has two horseshoes intertwined in the design. The site chosen was known as the Collier Farm, as it was the family name of one of the owner’s wives. It had a two-story building that could serve as a clubhouse in addition to stables and a barn, all located on 253 acres. It had another important ingredient to serve as a Country Club; a narrow-gauge rail line connected the Bridgeton site with Florissant and with Ferguson. It then connected with the Olive Street horsecar line just west of Grand and on to downtown. The ride out from the city would take about an hour. The land was bounded by Fee Fee Church Road, just south of Utz Lane, and would be near Dunn Road. This site today is part of the present Brown Campus area.
In early 1894, the Club began to consider relocating to a site closer to the city. While the farm was ideal for polo, it was a long journey from member’s homes as a number began building homes along fashionable Lindell Boulevard, adjacent to Forest Park. To make it easier for families to enjoy the Club, a site closer to the western boundary of the city seemed logical. In November 1894, the club purchased an option on the McCausland homestead at Clayton and Hanley Road, plus a lease on an additional 200 acres from the Davis brothers, Sam, Dwight, and John, which was adjacent to the McCausland property. At $1,000 per acre, the deal was concluded early in 1895 with a new clubhouse completed in 1896. At that time, Clayton was still rather rural, and it would not become a city until 1913, so the club felt that they had the room they would need. With the new location and plans for golf included, membership quickly grew to 250.
The Club site was on a high piece of ground along Hanley Road and was bounded by Clayton Road on the south, North and South Road on the west and the Chicago-Rock Island and Pacific Railroad tracks on the north. Today the area is Davis Place and Polo Drive. The clubhouse, an ornate, three-story colonial frame building, was 144-feet long as it stood facing Clayton Road to the south.
A covered 15-foot wide veranda extended around two sides of the building, commanding a view of the tennis, golf and polo grounds and track. Transportation to the club remained a concern, and there was an on-going dispute regarding the use of the Forsyth property due to a right-of-way issue. To solve this, and to assist the members in getting access to the club from the city, the members privately funded Wydown Boulevard adjacent to an existing trolly car line, running from Hanley to Forest Park.
The original 9-holes were laid out in 1896 as the now 300-member Country Club contracted with James Foulis, the head professional at Chicago Golf Club and winner of the 1896 US Open. In keeping with tradition from Scotland, each of the holes was named and in most cases reflecting the shape or character of each. This was the first course constructed in the area.
According to an article in the St. Louis Republic, golf officially began on October 8, 1896: “...the good old Scots-English game of golf received its formal christening in St. Louis yesterday afternoon when the first Golf Tournament given by the St. Louis Country Club was played under the most favorable conditions.”
In 1897, a fire consumed the handsome St. Louis clubhouse, and all that remained in the smoking ruins was the chimney. “Burned like a straw stack” was the headline in the Republic the next morning. Undaunted, members went back to the architect of the original building, J.L. Mauran, and had him draw plans for a new clubhouse.
They created a clubhouse identical to the one that had burned, with the new structure opening in 1898. An additional $80,000 was spent to completely refurbish the facility and grounds.
As Clayton grew, the rural environs began to disappear. Streetcar tracks now ran through the property, forcing golfers to avoid the overhead electric wires on their tee shots, or re-tee their ball. The quiet, serene location was becoming surrounded by new businesses and homesites. By 1905, the club had constructed a second 9 holes, and by 1908, they also built a “women’s course” for the ladies and children.
Despite these changes, by 1910 the Club began considering a move to another site with more room, further west. In 1911, the board negotiated to purchase land owned by the Archbishop of St. Louis [referred to in documents simply as “the Archbishops land”] at Ladue and Price Roads. The purchase price was to be $227,000 or $1,000 per acre. To help negotiate the deal they hired a prominent church member to be the intermediary with Lindell. The Archbishop agreed to the sale and then used the proceeds to buy a tract of land on Laclede Station Road where Kenrick Seminary would later be built.
The Country Club president was Judge William F. Boyle. Other officers and directors were B.B. Graham, D.S.H. Smith, Daniel Taylor, A.L. Shapleigh, J.F. Shepley, F.W. Oliver, and Walter McKittrick. The greenkeeper-pro was Ed McNamara, who served for a few seasons. Judge Boyle would serve as president of the club for 15 years.
In 1914, they completed construction of their new course, designed by Charles Blair Macdonald. Considered the “Father of American Golf” Macdonald’s designs remain classic and timeless. The present course at St. Louis remains much the same as it was when it opened that year.
The Field Club
The St. Louis Field Club was located in “Bissell, MO” and “..on the Burlington Railroad, near St. Louis; a Field Club station is on the links.” The site was thirteen miles north of the city and was “..accessible by railroad, or a carriage road, and is about an hour’s ride from the downtown district by bicycle.” The land is described as “...a pretty piece of high ground, consisting of forty-five acres.” There are records that point to the St. Louis Field Club being loosely organized around 1892 with a membership of 127, constructing a course in late 1897. The Club was officially organized on October 8, 1897, with 102 members, with the first golf medal awarded to Rayburn Bissell for his victory in the club’s match-play championship that year. Records indicate that its members competed in the Western Golf Association Amateur in 1902, along with members from St. Louis CC, but no other area members are mentioned.
Located in what is today part of Riverview Gardens on Bellefontaine Road near the historic General Daniel Bissell House, Club President D.O. Ives along with A.L. Kenneth are given credit for the course design, though John McGee will be given credit in a later article, as the architect of the course. There is no mention of collaboration between the two groups, so perhaps McGee did the routing while Ives and Kenneth did the on-site construction.
In the first formal recorded matches on May 6, 1898, a foursome went out on the links which were barely two months old and quite wet, displaying the beauty that was expected. McGee, playing left-handed, had been playing golf for almost ten years, and he recorded a 79 over the 9-holes. Other scores ranged into the 100s. Records referred to Harry S. Cullin as vice-president, F. Rayburn Bissell as club secretary and Ed McNamara as greenkeeper. As noted earlier, McNamara also served as greenkeeper for St. Louis CC. McNamara was a rather colorful player and greenkeeper, and at the Field Club, he also served as their first golf professional. He later left the golf business and became a St. Louis policeman. Early photos of him show him swinging a golf club while another has him in his police uniform.
The site was most likely chosen for several reasons: first, there was the general belief that the city would expand northward, along the river. Secondly, the Burlington railroad had a train that ran from downtown to within 200 yards of the Bissell home. Finally, the Bissell family had approximately 1,200 acres in the area [down from the 2,500 they had before 1844], and the land appeared well-suited for a course. With Bissell as an early member, he was only too willing to offer the Club a parcel on his property.
The Bissell house was built in 1818, and it is the original home that stands on the site today. The Bissell’s trace their roots back to the mid-1600s when they first crossed from England to the new country. Legend has it that when Paul Revere made his historic ride to Concord and Lexington, it was a Bissell ancestor who took the news south from Boston, and with less historical significance since he did not run into any redcoats. General Daniel Bissell was awarded his General stars by none other than General George Washington. A signed declaration of this fact adorns the walls of the home.
James R. Bissell noted the location of the house and golf course as he recalled them in 1915, and placed them in a 1983 drawing. The course was located across the Bellefontaine Road from the railroad tracks, north of the home. A frame structure was constructed to serve as the clubhouse, but like so many of the day, it caught fire and burned to the ground. Rayburn Bissell then built a new home to be used as a clubhouse, this one made of brick, on the east side of Bellefontaine just north of the Bissell Home. It would serve until the club moved in 1910.
Plans for a new, larger clubhouse in 1898 never materialized as the club continued to operate from the site for a few more years. Finally, on July 6, 1900, a new clubhouse opened for the members.
The Club was also plagued with transportation problems as the rail line to their site was in jeopardy. Like the Country Club, the Field Club eventually realized that the migration in St. Louis was moving west, not northwest and the club voted for a move southward.
When the Club moved to the Normandy area in 1910, on a parcel of land owned by the Lucas Family, the club changed its name to Bellerive and constructed 18-holes on what is now the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. To construct their course, they turned to the best greenkeeper in the area, Robert Foulis. Having built the courses at Glen Echo (1901) and Normandie (1901), Bellerive hired him away in 1907 from Glen Echo. He remained greenkeeper at Normandie while he spent the next three years designing and building the new Bellerive course.
The Bellerive name was in recognition of the French history in the area as Captain Louis Ange de Bellerive was the last French commander in North America and the first governor of St. Louis. The club stayed at the site for 50 years before relocating once again, this time on Ladue Road at Mason; its present site.
It was not uncommon for many of the early clubs to move to more favorable locations, while others found that their location or membership was not suitable to sustain a club. In some cases, fire destroyed the club along with club records, and the membership did not rebuild but instead moved to other clubs. As noted earlier, six clubs began with good intentions before 1900, but circumstances brought many to their eventual demise.
The Jockey Club
The St. Louis Jockey Club, the Delmar Jockey Club, and the Kinloch Jockey Club were early race tracks located across the area, as racing occupied significant parts of the sports pages. But the St. Louis Jockey Club is the only one that laid out a golf course within the infield of their 60-acre race track. Technically named The St. Louis Golf Club, [also referred to as the Fair Grounds Links, as well as just The Jockey Club] the course had several advantages. Located in Fairgrounds Park - on Natural Bridge near Grand - it was the closest club to the downtown area, making it perfect for early morning or late afternoon play. It was also fairly short, so a round could be played in well under two hours. It was also very flat, making it very easy for all to play, especially the ladies in their long dresses. In fact, as the club grew in popularity, the ladies began to outnumber the men on the links. Finally, they had an outstanding pro/greenkeeper in Occley Johnson, formerly of the Chicago Golf Club, with members very protective of the grounds. While the club was a second or third club for many most believed it was the best conditioned in the area. On one occasion, a rodeo was contemplated for the infield. The thought of hooves and roundups taking place was too much for members to bear. Johnson considered fencing off the greens to protect them; such was the care that the links received.
The Jockey Club itself was an old St. Louis institution, dating back to the Civil War. For years it managed the annual Harvest Fair that included the Veiled Prophet Parade, the major social event for the city, which lasted for a month at a time. We know that they also held a 13-day race schedule during the Fair at Fairgrounds Park. The Harvest Fair was not a small event limited to just local activities, as such dignitaries as Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Horace Greeley attended on various occasions.
The clubhouse was a large three-story mansion that was on North Grand next to the track. In the early 1900s horse racing was one of the primary forms of entertainment and local papers carried results from all over the country, with news on jockeys, horses, trainers and turf conditions dominating the sports columns.
When the golf club at the Jockey Club was organized in 1898, its members were allocated to a room on the third floor of the clubhouse. The prominent members of the Jockey Club were also members of the Field Club, the Kinloch Club, Florissant Valley Club, and the Country Club.
C. Norman Jones, with the St. Louis Brewing Association, had introduced golf to the members there, but he was best remembered not for his play, but for the stylish clothes he wore on the course, reminiscent of the Englishmen and Scots who came to America to seek their fortune.
The course officially opened on April 22, 1898, with an exhibition between two Foulis brothers, David and Jim, both Chicago area professionals, who would later play important roles in the design of several area courses. Jim Foulis was recognized as “the greatest driver [of golf] in America. He holds the record for the long-distance drive, having sent the ball on one occasion the enormous distance of 308 yards.” Though the grounds were wet, the newspaper article noted that Foulis frequently drove within 50 yards of a 315-yard hole. Oddly, Foulis used only three clubs for the entire match; the driver, mashie and putter. However, the putting surface was in such poor shape – the course was barely two months old and very wet on that day – that it often took them three to four strokes to hole out after getting to the green. For the 27 holes they played, Jim had a 123 and Dave a 125, with scores of 41-43-39 and 44-38-43 respectively. Par for the course was listed at 39. Having designed the course, Jim Foulis remarked how the greenkeeper, [Occley Johnson] had done a fine job keeping it in shape. Some golfers had been playing earlier in the month, but the April 1898 opening marked the Jockey Club as the second links officially opened in the area. Like the Country Club, it would be a private club, but it was open year-round and thus received much more play.
The members received quite a bit of attention as they played golf the morning before big races, or prior to attending baseball at the nearby Robinson Field (later Sportsman’s Park) home of the St. Louis Browns.
The course continued to host Ladies tournaments, but as time went by, the layout within the track was not conducive to good course conditioning as the fairways became hard as asphalt. Following the World’s Fair in 1904, horse-racing fell out of grace with the powers-that-be in Jefferson City, particularly due to the money being wagered. So, when para-mutual betting was abolished in 1905, the club’s days were numbered.
The racetrack was dismantled shortly thereafter, and the clubhouse razed as the land was sold to the city for Fairgrounds Park.
Florissant Valley CC
The exclusive Florissant Valley CC was formed in 1899 by members of St. Louis CC following the fire that destroyed their clubhouse in September 1897. The area they selected for their club was frequently referred to as Normandy Heights [thus the golf course was often mistakenly referred to as the Normandy Heights Club]. Like several others in the area, the club leased property from the land-wealthy Lucas family, using the Lucas homestead as their clubhouse.
The Lucas family traced its roots back to France where, in 1784, the patriarch of the US clan, Jean Baptiste Charles Lucas, took an interest in the revolution taking place in America. Siding with the Patriots, he received a letter of introduction from the US Ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin, recommending his services to Thomas Jefferson. He had also met John Adams on his travels to Europe, so Lucas was well known in American circles. Years later, when Jefferson became president, he appointed Lucas, who by then was an attorney, as the commissioner of Land Claims and Judge of the Territorial Court in the newly created Louisiana Purchase area. As so many early settlers of the area were French, it became natural for Lucas to settle here and become an aristocrat-of-sorts among his former countrymen. He purchased a considerable amount of land, especially after the New Madrid earthquake of 1812, and by the late 1800s owned some 1,500 acres on their farm in the Normandy, Berkeley, Kinloch, Pasadena Hills, Bel-Nor area. When Wilson P. Hunt, son of Ann Lucas and Theodore Hunt, gained control of the property through his mother-in-law, Anne B. Lucas, he built his mansion on the land and planted hundreds of trees, many imported from France. Lucas & Hunt Road in north county reflects their significance in the area. However, by 1927, the significant portion was sold to a group of investors, and 10 years later another piece was sold at auction on the courthouse steps in Clayton to Rice Emerson, whose family owned the property through 2014. This latter property was the land upon which Normandie GC is located.
In the spring of 1899, the 40-member Florissant Valley Club laid out nine holes in what is today Bel-Nor, just north of present Normandie GC and south of Natural Bridge Road. Like the Country Club, they also had polo ponies and a large barn. But with only 40 members, they could not maintain all the facilities, so the golf course was turned back into pasture by 1905. When the old Lucas mansion, which was being used as the clubhouse, burned in 1912, the members never rebuilt, though the Florissant Valley Club remained a dining club till 1946, initially using the clubhouse of the then-defunct Kinloch Club.
The Kinloch Club was also located on a portion of the Lucas property, at Lucas-Turner Place. Its grounds were part of the Harry Smith Turner property, another member of the Lucas family, who had established his home in the area before to the Civil War. The Kinloch Club was regarded as the most exclusive among the early clubs. Its members were among the most wealthy and influential St. Louisans, paying a $1,700 entry fee to join. Several of them formed one of the earliest phone companies, the Kinloch Telephone Company, whose Chairman was Eberhard Anheuser. Golf was played here, according to a Globe-Democrat article, during 1898. The exact reason for its demise is based in part on a feud between a member and a prospective member. One story also noted increased assessments as a possible reason. However, a dispute erupted when a young, wealthy St. Louisan attempted to join and a member with whom he had a serious disagreement, openly voiced his opposition to other members. The applicant withdrew his name, rather than face a blackball.
At the next meeting, a very heated discussion ensued. Shortly after this incident, several members met at the St. Louis Club, and on August 10, 1899, they formed the Log Cabin Club. This departure all but marked the end of the Kinloch Club, and though it would continue for a few more years, it would never again have the same significance.
Triple A Club
The Triple A Club, or St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association, [the two names are used interchangeably] came into being on August 11, 1897, as the club leased land in the northwestern section of Forest Park [near the site of the present 18-hole golf course].
The original plan called for about 2,000 invitations to be sent to interested participants, and the club organizers planned to purchase the clubhouse of the Pastime Athletic Club for their clubhouse, though this never materialized, as a new building was constructed, which opened on June 5, 1898. The group was to be the St. Louis member of the Amateur Athletic Union [AAU].
Early on, its members were mainly interested in baseball and track, with the first golf matches held in October 1898. Initially, the club opened with only 6 holes. Aware that golf was an 18-hole event, six holes meant you would go around it three times and still have a match. But as more golfers joined, and the course became more crowded, money was freed up, and an additional 3 holes were completed in December 1898.
At this time, no area club had an “official” 18-hole layout, and the local newspapers began to decry this as a blemish on the area as major national events overlooked St. Louis as a result.
By the summer of 1900, four clubs openly spoke about lengthening their links to 18-holes; Triple A, the Country Club, the Field Club and the new, much-publicized Mound City Golf Club [soon renamed Glen Echo]. But it was at Triple A where the initial 18 flags were in holes, not at Normandie or Glen Echo, St. Louis or the Field Club.
In April 1901, as the courses were beginning to open for the season, the following article appeared in the Post-Dispatch; “Walter L. Gilliam, chairman of the golf committee of the St. L. A.A.A., stated that the Forest Park links will be in very fair condition after a few weeks’ sunshine and spring showers. He says the entire 18-holes have been sodded and need only a little cutting and trimming. The fair greens are now being rolled and mowed. There is a large and growing contingent of golfers in this club.” And in June 1901, the Globe-Democrat had an article that stated: “...the eighteen holes at the Forest Park Athletic Association is said to be among the finest in this part of the country.”
But the joy of their new-found links would be short-lived. Unfortunately for the club, in a July 30, 1901 Globe-Democrat article is was noted that with the World’s Fair approaching (originally scheduled for 1903), the clubhouse needed to be torn down and the club moved to a new location in the Park.
The site chosen is the present site of The Highlands in the southeast corner of the Park. Money given to the club by the city to pay for their move and the new building did not go far enough, so it was decided to build only 9-holes.
On April 2, 1902, the Triple A players were competing against the Country Club, Field Club, Glen Echo, and Normandie in a series of matches to be held during the spring, with the championship held at the Field Club on June 21, 1902. A women’s championship was held in conjunction with the men’s at the Fair Grounds [Jockey Club] on October 4, 1902.
The Triple A club operated as a private club until 1981, when it went public, though memberships were available through 2004. Today, as The Highlands at Forest Park, it is one of the few courses that take no reservations and walk-ons are always welcome.
Tower Grove Park Links
All of the previously mentioned clubs were essentially private, or at least memberships were required. As interest grew, politicians began to call for public venues. A proposal was made to establish free-links at Forest Park, Carondelet Park, and Tower Grove Park. Mayor Ziggenheim barely knew what golf was, but like any good politician, he was quoted as saying “...golf, oh yes, isn’t that the game for skinnies? Well, if that’s what the people want, then we’ll give it to them.” As best as can be determined, the only links built during this period were at Tower Grove Park, but these were not done with public money. Newspapers indicate that links were scheduled to be laid out at Carondelet and Forest Park, but no record exists to verify this. It would appear that the beginning of the Spanish-American War in 1898 caused these plans to cease as the country focused on the war effort.
The Carondelet Park Links referred to in the 1898 Golf Guide most likely referred to the six-hole course in Tower Grove Park, which was expanded to nine holes in 1901. What makes this club unique is that it was formed by early St. Louis CC women golfers, disenchanted with the rules applying to playing opportunities at the Country Club. From the May 19, 1901 Globe-Democrat article; “Out at the Tower Grove Park, the ladies will play golf and no lone man may enter into the sacred precincts of the grove unless some woman waits for him. He may play with his wife, or if unmarried, and with a sweetheart among the players, he may also play golf. So if any unattached man is seen wandering within the limits of the links you will know that his possibilities are about to become probabilities.”
They formed their club in 1898 at the Wednesday Club Women’s meeting, as a place they could take their children to learn the game. The club also had a professional instructor, Mr. George Norman, a pro from St. Louis CC, whose task it was to teach the ladies and children the game. However, when the ladies selected someone to lay-out their course, they selected a Mr. John McGee from the Field Club! The spot they chose for the course was located in the northwest corner of the park where the ladies constructed “a small, but elegant clubhouse” where they gathered, usually each Thursday, to play.
An article in the Globe-Democrat on April 13, 1902, announced the annual meeting of the Tower Grove Park Golf Club, where new officers were elected for the coming year. Mrs. Charles W. Scudder was re-elected as president and Mrs. Thomas Niedringhaus as vice president. The membership fee was reduced from $15 to $10 because of the club’s good financial condition. A junior tournament was planned for June 1, with play for regular members to begin on June 4. With most of the families maintaining memberships at other private clubs during this time, as those clubs added additional holes to their courses, thus enabling ladies to have easier access to the course, the need for this “extra” course was lessened. By 1903, the Tower Grove Club ceased operations.
Jefferson Barracks Links
The Jefferson Barracks course was most likely the first of at least two that were constructed at the military site; each probably abandoned as space was needed for troops during war periods. We must remember, laying-out a course often consisted of only a large field with some type of marker to note the hole locations. It did not mean a closely-mowed surface or even a defined fairway, at least not until years later. They literally were, at times, pastures or fields that were for the time serving no other use.
The Algonquin Club was organized in 1899 as its members were playing golf over a 9-hole course in Webster Park. Originally located near the present site of Gore Ave. and the railroad tracks in Webster Groves, the Algonquin’s were a bold group, challenging all comers, and for a few matches in 1900, going undefeated. The land in Webster Park was sprinkled with homes, one of which was the McKinnie homestead, which sat in the middle of the course. As 1901 turned, more homes were built on the land, and the space for golf was growing smaller. As one home was built, you could no longer see from the 8th tee to hit toward the green, so the course had to be re-routed around the lot. Other land was considered, and they even considered merging with the Triple A club, which was also undergoing a space problem, though Triple A’s was due to the coming 1904 World’s Fair. Finally, on June 25, 1903, Arthur Deacon, Bart Adams, Allen McKinnie, W.S. Avis, and Kent Jarvis met to form a new club. A name not mentioned was Mrs. Kent Jarvis. She was a very active golfer and perhaps the driving forces behind the new Club. Later that year they purchased the 54-acre Jackson Farm [at Jackson and Berry Roads] and created a new nine-hole course. The construction of their clubhouse was completed in 1904. Nine years later, in 1913, they added more land, enlarged the clubhouse and completed nine new holes.
Financing the improvements at Algonquin was accomplished by rather novel means. Instead of the traditional assessments or increase in the dues, the members issued bonds subscribed by the members to cover the costs.
Conditions in 1904 at the club were sparse; no phones, no caddies, no golf professional and no automobiles. The club did arrange with the Missouri Pacific railroad for a stop near the present site of the 4th green, and the Lockwood Avenue streetcar also provided another means of getting to the club.
Creating a club in the southwest section of the city appeared somewhat risky. All the other clubs, with the exception of the Tower Grove Club and Jefferson Barracks, had been organized in the northwest or west sections of the area. [The Tower Grove and Jefferson Barracks clubs were unique in their membership makeup and perhaps as a result, no mention is made of these two clubs being included in the early inter-club matches in which the other clubs participated.]
Another factor facing each club was keeping them in good condition. Maintenance at clubs was difficult at best, as mowing was accomplished with horse-drawn mowers. It was a continual task as you would finish the nine holes and it would be time to begin again.
The location of each club had one outstanding feature in common; each was built on or near a Railroad line! In the late 1890s, carriages remained a normal mode of transport and public transportation was generally trolley/streetcars; so, to venture “6-8 miles to the club” was not made without some thought and a degree of adventure. So, in many ways, the site of the early clubs was dictated by the location of the Rail lines. As noted earlier, the possible closing of the passenger rail line seriously threatened the future of the Field Club since members could not make the trip to the club easily, a situation which the club said they were working to rectify by providing alternate means of transportation. This may point us in the direction as to why they abandoned the Bellefontaine area for a more attractive site in the Normandy area in 1910, as there were already other clubs nearby and transportation was much easier.
Of the courses created prior to 1900, none remain today. Of the clubs, with the closing of Triple A in 2008, only three remain; St. Louis, Bellerive (The Field Club), and Log Cabin. But at the turn of the century, two organizations would be founded that would, to this day, do battle over their history.
Log Cabin Club
As noted earlier, the Log Cabin Club was not born from a need for another club, as much as dissatisfaction with the Kinloch Club. Following the incident mentioned previously, a group of members prepared to depart the Kinloch Club. They had scouted sites all summer and found one just west of the Country Club on the Clymer farm. A lease on the land was secured by Thomas Niedringhaus, Charles Hodgman, Alexander Euston, Richard Everett, David Evans, Emile Glogau, Henry Lewis and C. Norman Jones. They hired professional James Mackrell of the Country Club to lay-out their new course. [Robert Foulis would also be given credit for a redesign in 1909]. An old log cabin nearby served as the inspiration for the club’s name, though the actual clubhouse was more stately, being the country home of Mrs. Hiester Von Schrader Clymer. Mrs. Clymer’s family - the Von Schrader’s - owned most of the land south of the Club down to Litzinger and from McKnight to Lindbergh. The site of the original clubhouse is today located behind the Ladue Chapel. Getting to the site required traveling a streetcar line and then a carriage ride to the club. The clubs original nine holes would “merge” with the neighboring Bogey Club in 1911 to allow members access to a full eighteen holes.
The Log Cabin Club also has the distinction of being the oldest club in St. Louis to remain at one location through the years, having begun in 1899 at the same site. A very select membership of usually no more than 75 members – at one time the maximum limit was only 25 members – the club has hosted some of the countries most distinguished leaders, including Dwight Eisenhower in 1947, President Teddy Roosevelt and former President Grover Cleveland during the 1904 World’s Fair.
The original Clymer house served the club until 1981 when the club built a new facility almost directly across the road. Today the new clubhouse sits on Log Cabin Lane just west of the Bogey Club.
From 2007 to 2014, the Log Cabin and Bogey courses underwent a very successful renovation by architect Roger Null. The 2015 season was most entertaining to those fortunate enough to play the new design as the renovation took a turn-of-the-century course, with small, back-to-front sloped greens, and created more modern green complexes along with new zoysia fairways and updated bunkering.
The Bogey Club was formed by gentlemen who sought to establish a club similar to the Log Cabin Club and looked to acquire land adjacent to Log Cabin. A key member of the organizers was David Calhoun, who had built his family home on land in 1904 that is today the site of the current clubhouse. Another parcel of land they sought to purchase was known as Mount Farm, the family home of Mr. William C. Taylor. Upon completion of the purchase options, they hired Robert Foulis in 1910 to construct a 9-hole course. While the official founding of The Bogey Club in 1911, the course construction had been underway for nearly a year. Following its completion, an agreement was struck the Log Cabin Club to share the two courses, making a full 18-holes. If you examine the scorecard for each club, you will find that they are different. Depending on where you begin, you take a different route, and the numbering of the holes are different for each club! The membership at the Bogey Club, in the past, was generally limited to CEO’s of the major St. Louis companies. As the city became less of a major headquarters site, this policy changed, with the club more of a family club, as it was when originally founded.
Today, the club has members from across the area, while continuing to retain a level of exclusivity. The original stately clubhouse was destroyed by a fire in December 1971 and a new facility, just as grand, was built on the site of the burnt ruins, opening in 1972. Like its predecessor, the new clubhouse reflected the personality of the current membership.
While many members are avid golfers, the club has generally not been available for non-member play. With no professional or golf shop, members just sign-in and play.
As noted within the section for the Log Cabin Club, the Bogey course underwent extensive renovation in 2013-14 by architect Roger Null. He took the original, rather plain design and renovated both courses, created an 18-hole course that is not only enjoyable but has some very scenic views across the grounds.
Glen Echo & Normandie
The Glen Echo Club was organized in 1900 by some very prominent St. Louisans including Murray Carleton, Herman Luyties, Festus Wade, Julius Koehler, Selwyn Edgar, and George A. Meyer. They negotiated a lease with Mr. William Hunt for 167 acres on the Lucas property. But the driving force behind Glen Echo was Colonel George S. McGrew. McGrew helped foster enthusiasm for the new club as he gave speeches and presentations to area golfers. One presentation was about his recent trip to England and Scotland, where he played a match with Young Tom Morris at St. Andrews. He thrilled the crowd with his descriptions of the clubhouse, the holes, and the sites. He was a dynamic and charismatic man who charmed those around him.
He even convinced the upcoming Olympic games to award Glen Echo the golf matches even before the site was completed! Sounds similar to an event almost ninety years later when the Ryder Cup would award Kiawah the 1991 matches before the Ocean Course was completed by Pete Dye!
The course opened 9-holes to the members on May 25, 1901, to much fanfare. By June, the remaining holes were open.
In September 1901, another group, headed by John Lowry, William Plant, Walter Gilliam, and Dr. William Hall were planning the Normandie course, also on the Lucas farm. As the crow flies, these clubs today are only about two par-5s apart. In fact, the original design had parts of both courses touching each other on land that is today occupied by Incarnate Word Academy.
Both clubs planned eighteen holes, something that was uncommon in the area at the time, as all previous clubs, except for Triple A, were nine holes. If newspaper accounts are any indication, Glen Echo also had the better press agent! The planned opening of the course was in the paper for months before the opening day event in May, and when they opened their second season in 1902, you would have sworn the club was brand new!
Normandie, on the other hand, got fewer columns in the local papers. The opening of their first nine holes on October 6, 1901, received some notice, but hardly that which was given to Glen Echo.
Tradition has stated for years that Normandie CC is “the oldest golf club at its present site west of the Mississippi” and this legacy has sustained itself through the years. The Del Monte course in California (at Pebble Beach) has also laid claim that it is the oldest course west of the Mississippi, though it is known that the club moved at one point. We also know that Glen Echo has been at its present site since its opening.
What does all this mean? Does the establishment of the “club” mark the date? Or is it when the course construction begins, or when it’s completed? Or is it when it is opened for play? Whichever standard you care to use, I hope to clarify the situation with the following information.
Based on articles from the Globe-Democrat and the Post-Dispatch, the Glen Echo course opened first, on May 25, 1901, and was in play during that summer, first with nine holes and by mid-summer the entire eighteen.
An article in the Globe-Democrat on September 29, 1901, announced the formation of the Normandie Park Club and a week later on October 6, both the Post and Globe announced that a temporary course with 9-holes was available for play by the members. Given the fact that there was a course available for play within a week of the club’s founding lays credence that some construction must have taken place prior to the formation of the club! Also, in April 1902, the full 18-holes and clubhouse were opened for use. To assume that all this took place between October 1901 and April 1902, during a St. Louis winter, would not be practical, though it is conceivable. To further confuse the issue, from the book “Architects of Golf” authors Ron Whitten & Geoffrey Cornish credit Robert Foulis as the designer of both courses along with his brother Jim at Glen Echo, with the dates of Normandie as 1901 and Glen Echo as 1902, which are obviously inaccurate. Whatever the case, Glen Echo was definitely organized prior to Normandie, as a golf club and was opened for play first.
However, without question, the 9-holes at the Log Cabin Club superseded both Glen Echo and Normandie in the area, making it the area’s oldest course, regardless of the criteria used in addressing location, positioning Glen Echo the area’s oldest 18-hole layout. With Normandie having gone public in 1984, it may well be one of the oldest 18-hole public courses west of the Mississippi, but even that status has some doubters with several courses in Colorado, Oregon, and California making their case for the same recognition.
Since Robert Foulis was the designer of both courses, with his brother Jim assisting on Glen Echo, one story suggests that Normandie may have been partially constructed and then the crew moved to Glen Echo to complete that layout for the May opening before moving back to Normandie to complete their work. However, there is no documentation for this theory. The actual events may never be known for the records have long since been misplaced and the courses as envisioned by the brothers remain a long-lost image on the retina of their eyes!
Glen Echo CC
Located “...1 3/4 miles NW of St. Louis on the Wabash RR Lines...” sat Glen Echo CC. Originally conceived as the Mound City Golf Club, the name was not considered “pretty enough” so the Glen Echo name was adopted prior to the opening of the course.
The Glen Echo clubhouse was to be the original Lucas family homestead. However, it was too small to comfortably house the anticipated membership so along with construction of the course, McGrew spent thousands to enlarge and modernize the old farmhouse. The result was an enormous Victorian-style facility with a large awning-covered porch from which members would sit and view the grounds.
As noted earlier, the Glen Echo club officially opened on May 25, 1901. “It was one-minute past three when St. Louis Mayor Rolla Wells stepped to the speakers’ position under the flagstaff to make his remarks to the gathering of 500 anxious guests. He congratulated the management on the success of carrying out such an enormous project, noting that as a boy he had played on the grounds nearby. Club President McGrew then had the honor of hitting the first shot off the tee. He hit his first shot poorly, half-topped his second, then finally hit a good drive to christen the course. McGrew, a member of the Western Golf Associations’ Board of Directors, as well as the force behind the Glen Echo Club, could not contain his enjoyment as Willie Smith of the Midlothian Club and James Foulis from the Chicago Golf Club, would battle in the opening match. Smith would win the match 3 and 2, with medal scores of 87 to Foulis’ 92.”
The paper comments on the bad luck had by Foulis, who was 1up at the end of nine, but it was mostly due to the strong winds that played havoc with his shots. A friendly match played that morning between Smith and James and Robert Foulis saw quite a different outcome as James shot a 41 to 44s by the other two. This match was the first played in St. Louis between two professional golfers, as the exhibition at the Jockey Club in 1898 was not considered a true match.
The spring of 1901 had been very bad in St. Louis - damp and wet - and as a result, only nine holes were open for play, with the other nine being delayed for approximately six weeks. “...while the full eighteen-hole course has been completed, the backward spring has resulted in the failure of the grass to grow sufficiently to justify the use of the full course...” from an April 28, 1901, Globe-Democrat article.
As the club prepared for the 1902 season, a number of changes to the course were already being made in preparation for what McGrew had planned.
The course had been lengthened to almost 6,200 yards and the greens re-worked. Members surveying the new grounds were cautioned not to step on the new greens or risk the wrath of Colonel McGrew.
In 1904, the course had 27-holes, which included a 9-hole lighted putting course! This was used as the site of a putting contest during the Olympics of that year. Burt McKinnie, formerly of Algonquin but in 1904 playing out of Normandie, won the event under the lights. According to reports “...putting courses are rare in this country, and the idea of illuminating the course is absolutely original...” The article goes on to state that a putting course “...is a regular part of every golf course [in Scotland] ...and will cover an area of 300 feet by 100 feet.”
We think of this as our traditional putting green today, though it was fairly large for the day, and of course somewhat unusual.
An interesting aspect is the course and its rating. The yardage was 6,148 yards and had “...a bogey of 79.” The reference to the “bogey” of the day was the score before recording a bogey on the hole, as opposed to our noting of “Par” today.
The clubhouse has changed through the years, but the routing and location of most of the holes are essentially the same.
Despite the caliber of the membership, by 1915 the club found itself with serious financial problems, having incurred debts of approximately $84,000. Early in 1916, the club went into bankruptcy. It was reorganized under the name Ridgedale CC the same year and kept that name until 1921 when it reverted back to Glen Echo CC.
The course at Normandie in 1902 would bear some resemblance to today’s layout - 13 of the holes are on the same grounds - but the routing would bear little similarity. Holes 13-17 were located across Normandie drive on what is today the Incarnate Word Academy grounds. The 18th hole is roughly where it is today, but was originally a par-4. The first hole ran where the 10th is today and the 12th would today be the 17th. Once you left the clubhouse you did not return until the end of the match.
In the April 27, 1902 edition of the Globe-Democrat the following article was noted; “The golf season is now in full swing and the prospects seem to be very good indeed. The links are in good condition and the players even more enthusiastic than at this time last year. The opening at Field Club was very auspicious, and yesterday a good game was played at Country Club, the two teams being captained by Mr. C.W. Scudder and Mr. Stewart G. Stickney.” And later in the article “Out in Normandie Park everything is progressing finely ...and the house is approaching completion.”
Descriptions of the holes are as follows; #1, carry a ditch at 110 yards, the ground is gently rolling; #2 & #3, both are easy par 4s; #4, is down a hill and over a ravine at 120 yards makes good playing for 3; #5, 150 yards are through a beautiful oak, elm and hickory grove, then over undulating turf, and another 4 will halve the hole; #6, is rather uphill, over fine sod to an inverted saucer green, which makes a 5 interesting; #7 is an easy 4; #8, is through a grove, requiring an iron shot for a lie, before crossing a ditch and hillside. Then a brassie or spoon will assist you in getting a 5; #9, over a pond for a 3; #10, a 140 yard carry is necessary to negotiate a ravine, but beware of a slice into the lake; #11, #12 & #13, should be easy 4s; #14, another lake requiring a 110 yard carry then a brassie or spoon and an iron to drop over a ditch “dead” on the green; #15, good playing is required here for a 5; #16, same play as 15 required here, except minus the lake for a five; #17, the ground rolls beautifully uphill for a splendid view of the country. A good drive, a brassie and an iron is glad to get a 5; #18, home in four well-placed shots.
And once again from the Globe-Democrat article: “The course is only 6005 yards long and 76 is bogie. Nine of the holes are over sod which never had a plow to it. There are three water jumps, and several ditches to cross, but there are no artificial hazards.”
Another article appeared in the Post-Dispatch recording the details of the new clubhouse on April 27, 1902, with an accompanying picture, course diagram, and a complete description of the interior. The club also announced that they had extended the lease from ten to fifteen years from the J.B.C. Lucas family and looked for a prosperous and long life. The Post-Dispatch article went on to add; “The clubhouse is conveniently located, if not more so, than any other country clubhouse in the vicinity of St. Louis. It can be reached in fifty to fifty-five minutes from Fourth Street by any one of the three lines of cars to Wellston, namely the Olive Street “through” car, the Suburban Railroad, or the Easton Avenue line, and from Wellston to the clubhouse door in eight minutes via the St. L., St. C., and W. railroad” and “...during the golf season it is expected that cars (streetcar or trolley’s) will run from Wellston to the clubhouse as frequently as every fifteen minutes.”
The first matches of 1902 took place on May 3. The tournament was to decide the club championship and to select a team to represent the club in the local inter-club matches. Prominent players from 1901 were Walter Gilliam, Willis Hall, Edgar Floyd-Jones, A.C. Vickery, Arthur Meyer, Dr. Short, Dr. Dorchester, J.S. Lowry, Charles Allen, and William Saunders. From this group would likely come the club’s representatives.
The officers of the club in 1902 were listed as John S. Lowry, president; William Saunders, vice president; J. Stewart Walker, treasurer, and Mr. Walter Gilliam as chairman of the golf committee.
In 1919, the club was able to secure additional land from the Lucas Estate, and the 118 acres needed to move all the holes to the same side of Normandy Drive was completed. To fund the $700 per acre purchase price, members were required to purchased one share in the newly created Normandy Investment Company at $250 per share. The present 18-hole re-design was then completed.
As is the case today, success by one group leads others to try their luck. So, it was with another group who formed Westwood CC in Glendale in 1907. However, the members at Westwood were unique in that it is an almost entirely Jewish membership. Prior to 1907, area Jews were victims of discrimination in several areas. Jewish doctors were refused privileges at hospitals and private clubs were non-Jewish. It was in this environment that 70 individuals while vacationing in Michigan, decided to form their own golf club.
Members of the group included Frederick Arnold, Louis Aloe, Irvin Bettman, Dr. Hanau Loeb, Henry Ittleson, Charles Rice, David Sommers, Dr. Sidney Schwab, Edwin Schiele, Moses Shoenberg, Charles Stix and Charles Schwartz. They entered into a lease for the George S. Meyers property in 1908 and hired architect Tom Bendelow to lay-out the course. While Bendelow did the routing, he left it to Robert Foulis to actually build and fine-tune the course. The grand opening was a spectacular affair as a private rail car was rented for the occasion for members to arrive at the club. By 1911, the club had grown to 191 regular members.
There are those of you who are reading this that would suggest that this must be in error. Today that site is occupied by Westborough with Westwood having its course on Conway Road! You are correct. With more homes being built nearby, and more of the club’s members now residing in mid-town, the Westwood leaders made the decision in 1925 to move to larger quarters. After looking at several sites, including the present land where Mercy Hospital sits, as well as land occupied by Visitation Academy, they chose their current location in 1926 and began to construct a 27-hole complex. Harold Paddock, a Cleveland golf professional, was hired to design and build the course. Though relatively unknown, he designed a remarkable layout, providing Westwood members with an outstanding design. At the same time, a group was formed by Walter Pfeiffer, which formed the Westborough Club on the former Westwood site. Like Algonquin, which was only a few hundred yards away, most Westborough members lived nearby, providing the new club with a solid membership base. So, the Westwood Club dates back to 1908 while their course dates only from 1927, just the reverse for Westborough.
The 1904 Olympics & Glen Echo
Colonel McGrew originally conceived of an International golf competition at Glen Echo for 1903. When the course was being built, this was the plan. However, when St. Louis acquired the Olympic Games for 1904 McGrew approached the Olympic Committee regarding holding the golf event at Glen Echo. In this regard, he had an edge; his son-in-law, Albert B. Lambert. Lambert was well known internationally in golf, having competed at the 1900 golf event at the Compiegne in Paris. He also maintained a home in the French capitol. With the matches now scheduled for Glen Echo, all that remained was to secure the best players to take part.
However, McGrew and Lambert underestimated the friction that existed among the Royal & Ancient Golf and the Olympic Committee. In the end, the R&A refused to support the event, with no British players coming over to compete. This could have been offset, however, when the USGA sent a letter to McGrew informing him that if he were to request to host the US Open - since the USGA assumed most of the better players would be competing at the Olympics - the USGA would award the event to Glen Echo. Unfortunately, Glen Echo never replied to this offer, with the 1904 US Open going instead to the Glen View Club in Chicago. Without the best English players taking part, most of the top US players from the east also opted not to travel to St. Louis. While this was certainly a setback, the opportunity for other quality golfers to compete for the Gold Medal was now greater than ever.
The 1904 Gold Medal Matches
There were 111 players who competed at Glen Echo, consisting of 108 Americans and three Canadians, who were all from the Lambton Club in Toronto. In the end, it was a Canadian who won the Gold Medal.
The reigning US Amateur champion was H. Chandler Egan of the Exmoor Club in Chicago. Coming into the Olympic event he was the overwhelming favorite. He was young, talented and playing outstanding golf. There was also a strong contingent of St. Louis players, most of whom knew the Glen Echo course very well, giving them, it was thought, an edge in the competition.
Several events were planned during the week: a driving contest, a putting contest, a women’s event, a team competition, and the Gold Medal Matches. By week’s end, only the women’s event was not held.
Early in the week a special match team between the Trans-Miss and the Western where the Trans-Miss won by 5 points. With that loss, the captain of the Western team, Chandler Egan, made some personnel changes.
At the scheduled team contest between the Trans-Mississippi Association and the Western Association, a third team was picked from the remaining players which represented the USGA.With most of the St. Louisans playing for the Trans-Miss team they lost to the Western Golf squad. With that, 10 Gold medals and 10 Silver medals were awarded to the members of each team.
The individual Gold Medal match was the final event of the week. Qualifying to determine who would reach the finals began with a 36-hole stroke play competition. Stuart Stickney from St. Louis CC led all qualifiers with a 163 over the track. Other St. Louisans in the competition were; Albert Bond Lambert (Glen Echo), Ralph McKittrick (St. Louis), Fred W. Semple (Field Club), S.T. Price (Normandie), A.C. Vickery (Glen Echo), Burt McKinnie (Normandie), Harry Potter (St. Louis), Jesse Carleton (Glen Echo), W. Arthur Stickney (St. Louis), Sim T. Price (Glen Echo), Bernie Edmunds (Glen Echo), C.W. Scudder (St. Louis), Bart Adams (Algonquin), W. H. Hersey (St. Louis), E.M. Davis (Normandie), S.J. Harbaugh (St. Louis), J.J. Howard (St. Louis), J.T. Watson (Glen Echo), E.M. Gould (St. Louis), A.H. Annan (St. Louis), W.W. Grossclothes (St. Louis), G.F. Powell (St. Louis), M. Carleton (Glen Echo), F. E. Newberry (St. Louis) and Harry W. Allen (Field Club).
On a cool, wet day, the final match began. The longer hitting George Lyon of Toronto Canada, had the advantage, while Chandler Egan made many errors trying to keep up. In the end, at the 16th hole, Lyon closed out Egan 3 and 2.
The demise of the Olympic Golf matches seemed destined from the very beginning. In 1900, Englishmen did not want to play with Scots or Irish and no Englishmen entered the 1904 Event at Glen Echo. Lyon sailed to London for the 1908 event, eager to defend his title. However, when the British clubs were asked to open their facilities for the games in 1908, they all refused. As a result, the event was canceled. It would not be held again over the next 100 years.
Stuart Stickney was one of the early talented St. Louis golfers. In 1902 he faced H. Chandler Egan in the finals of the Western Amateur and lost 1up. At the Olympics, he would lose to the eventual winner, Lyon, in the second round. Burt McKinnie would last to the semi-finals where he would also fall to Egan 4 and 3. Egan was one of the early stars in the Chicago area, and he won several early Western Opens.
Albert Lambert was also an excellent player, having won the amateur championship of France in 1900 and also the Olympic handicap championship at the Paris Olympics. He would return and capture the 1907 Missouri Amateur crown, as would fellow Country Club members Ralph McKittrick (1910) and Stickney (1912).
Lambert was a left-handed player, remarkable for the time as left-handed clubs were scarce. When he traveled to Europe for the 1900 Olympics he entered the handicap golf competition. With his 10-handicap, he shot a net 73 to capture the title. The trophy he won was donated to the USGA museum by his grandson, Donaldson Lambert.
When Robert Foulis came from Scotland via Chicago to the area in 1900, he brought with him his experiences from his days as an assistant in Tom Morris’ Shop at St. Andrews and the “Old Course.” So, while the land presented to him for the course at Glen Echo and Normandie did not match the seaside contours from St. Andrews, he gave the course as much of the feel as he could from those early days.
Jim Foulis arrived in the area in 1896 when he completed the initial 9-holes for St. Louis CC. Two years later, as noted earlier, he laid out the 9-holes at The Jockey Club.
Robert left from Liverpool in 1895 when he first arrived in the US. His brother, Jim, had cabled him about several opportunities. Initially, Robert was head professional at Lake Forest CC, then Onwentsia CC, before moving to Minnesota, where he laid out the course for Town and Country GC. In December 1900, he arrived in St. Louis to begin work on Glen Echo. He asked Jim to join him to perform the initial routing for the club. Later, he would also take up the design of Normandie.
James was already recognized as one of the finest players in the country, having won the second US Open in 1896, and was already renowned as a designer. [Amazingly, of the brothers, only Robert is listed as having played in the British Open, yet James won the US Open in only his 2nd year here!] James served as the first professional at Chicago GC, the country’s first 18-hole club, from 1895 to 1905, making him the first golf professional in the western United States. Having been privy to watching C.B. Macdonald at work at Chicago GC, he gained first-hand knowledge about course architecture in America and began to apply that throughout the Midwest. In Scotland, he undoubtedly gleaned much from Tom Morris and Robert Forgan at St. Andrews and this influenced him greatly in his later designs, though it was Robert who actually had more formal training from Old Tom Morris in course design!
Their work was so exceptional that within three years of opening, as Glen Echo was about to host the Olympic golf matches, and not a single written word contained a negative comment on the course. In fact, the level of praise for the condition of the greens was noteworthy.
While Robert Foulis was becoming a force in the area, Jim and Dave Foulis assisted him with the design of Bellerive in 1910 and Sunset Hill in 1916. Robert would design one of the Midwest’s top courses, Minikahda Club in Minnesota, while James went on to design Denver CC and the original Milwaukee CC, along with several others no longer in existence.
Jim and Dave Foulis were also club makers of some renown. While at the Chicago GC they designed many clubs similar to those he forged at St. Andrews. Some of Jim’s clubs are on display in Chicago, with his name “James Foulis - Wheaton, IL” stamped on the back of each. In fact, he and Dave held several patents on clubs, including the first concave “wedge” type club used to stop a ball on the rock-hard greens from a distance of 60 yards. They called it their mashie-niblick, forerunner to today’s 7-iron.
Typical of many early pros, they were also skilled in golf ball construction. The early rubber-Haskell balls were smooth and would not fly very far, yet they were more durable than the old gutties. When Dave and Jim applied the “bramble” pattern to the original Haskell, they had a winner. They made quite a bit of money buying Haskell’s, modifying them, and re-selling them, much to the displeasure of Coburn Haskell.
A former St. Louisan, William Gahlberg, one of the founders of Butler National and a member of Chicago GC, owned a large collection of Foulis and other hickory clubs. He donated many of these to Butler National, which has them on display.
While James returned to Chicago, Robert went on to construct Algonquin CC (1904), Bogey Club (1912), Log Cabin (1909), Sunset CC (1917 with James and Dave), Forest Park GC (1913), Triple A (remodeled), the original Bellerive (1910), along with Midland Valley (1913) and Riverview/North Shore (1916). James also ventured to Jefferson City where he designed the original 9-holes for the Country Club there in 1922. One of Robert’s last layouts was the design of Ruth Park in 1931 with Robert Bruce Harris.
Robert was the pro/greenkeeper at Glen Echo in 1901-1907 while also serving as greenkeeper at Normandie. He left Glen Echo in 1907 to begin the design and construction of Bellerive while remaining as greenkeeper at Normandie. He was at Bellerive until 1942, serving as pro emeritus from 1930-42.
As we all know, growing grasses in this area can be very trying. Zoysia seems to do the best, while the warm nights do not bode well for bent fairways. Several early District clubs had members who attempted to study the effects of various chemicals on grasses. The information gained from one test was shared among all the other clubs.
We know from minutes of the St. Louis District Golf Association that when Robert Foulis arrived in St. Louis in 1898, to help Jim with some of his designs, he went to work as greenkeeper for area clubs, though which specific clubs are not known. Many clubs paid him a monthly stipend just to visit and walk their course and report back what steps they should take to have better grasses across the course.
The following statement from Robert Foulis was from the minutes of the St. Louis District Golf Association in 1927. “When I came to St. Louis in 1891  1 there were no greens, nor any fairways, just cow pastures. The clubs didn’t want to spend any money. I brought seed from Europe, experimented with them until I found what was right for St. Louis. The greens we have at Bellerive have not been out of play since 1912. Fungicide treatments have brought our greens through the summers without a brown patch.”
In researching the Foulis’ I had an occasion to speak with his grandson and among his possessions is a large box that was given to him by his mother [Elenora Foulis Miller, Robert’s daughter] with various types of seeds that Robert Foulis had kept over the years.
Foulis also worked with courses to maintain their grasses and greens, in particular, Algonquin, Glen Echo, and Normandie. He was instrumental in the organizing of the Greens Section for the District, whose members met along with the regular District representatives.
This group was important in the early days as courses were continually experimenting with grasses and methods to eradicate the various weeds, fungus and other diseases that plagued area courses. Today’s modern superintendent follows a long line of early pioneers. Some of these were Colonel Goetz from Algonquin, Foulis from Bellerive, Montgomery from Normandie, Johnson from Midland Valley, Eberhard Anheuser at Sunset and Roy Flesh from Kirkwood CC. Christian Kenney of Sunset CC, president of the District in 1927 made the following comments, “...I have followed and watched the work of Robert Foulis for a good many years and I believe there would now be no Sunset, Algonquin, Bellerive or Glen Echo if it wasn’t for him and the work he has done....” Foulis also spent time at Normandie in 1927 to assist them with their greens, which had been incorrectly fertilized and were suffering from fungus. One of the other individuals who was singled out for his work with the courses was Eberhard Anheuser. Not a greenkeeper by design or experience, he worked tirelessly to learn as much as possible about improving the course at Sunset. His comments about the steps being taken to ensure a quality facility indicate the high level of knowledge he acquired about course management. Perhaps this experimentation explains the numerous grasses that existed at Sunset over the years!
Another interesting fact involves the Foulis brothers and the early organization of the PGA of America in 1916. They were partners and investors in the P. G. Golf company and this became the foundation of the PGA. David, head professional at Hinsdale and instructor at Chicago Golf, was one of the early pioneers and served as Illinois PGA President.
The Foulis brothers were not the only architects active in the area. As noted previously, Scotsman Tom Bendelow, who is credited with designing or laying-out over 400 courses, toured the Midwest working his trade for those eager to test their skill on the links. (Only Donald Ross, who is said to have designed or remodeled over 600 courses, can count this many to his credit) Bendelow worked for the A.G. Spalding & Bros. Sporting goods company and he performed for clients who sought assistance from Spalding for their courses. Known by many as designing “eighteen-stakes-on-a-Sunday-afternoon,” Bendelow did the original layout at Westwood [Westborough] in 1908. Ironically, Bendelow was a very religious man and never did stake a course or play golf on a Sunday!
In East St. Louis, Lake Park GC (Grand Marais today) hired Joseph Roseman around 1935 to build a public course, and the original Greenview CC (IL) was staked by Bendelow in 1922.
Rock Springs CC
Bendelow also spent time in Alton, where he designed Rock Springs in 1912 as a private club. He built 9-holes there and the club included tennis, swimming, and a pool. Another dozen or more layouts in the outstate area, along with others in Illinois and Indiana, are among his creations. Some of his more famous designs are French Lick in Indiana, Medinah CC (#1, 2 & 3) and Skokie CC in the Chicago area, and in Kansas City, Kansas City CC and Mission Hills CC.
While his reputation as a designer may not pass muster by some of today’s standards, staking a course in those days was a simple, albeit unsophisticated method. Starting at the first tee and pacing-off to a bunker, then to the green, then a tee and so on until completed. The fee for this was a mere $25! Surprisingly, not all clubs opted for a professional opinion, as courses such as Forest Park in 1913, were initially done by committee. Bendelow was not alone in this method, as many others laid-out a course in the same method, including Alex Findley, Robert White and, on occasion, Donald Ross. Still, there were few to challenge his expertise and with the number of quality courses that are still around, leaves few to doubt his method of picking a good routing. Such was his reputation that in his later years he wrote and lectured at the University of Illinois on course architecture.
Sunset Hill CC
In 1910, yet another new facility was being planned in southwest county, this one even further south. The Sunset Hill CC began in 1910 as The Sunset Inn, a fine dining club founded by Adolphus Busch in which to serve his Anheuser-Busch products. In May 1911, August Sr., Eberhard Anheuser and a number of their friends, formed the Sunset Hill CC, with plans to create the golf course after acquiring additional land. August Sr. began to purchase more parcels between 1911 and 1915, eventually, have nearly 175 acres under contract. Also, in 1915, Jesse Carleton, a former president of Glen Echo and a participant in the 1904 Olympic golf matches, joined Sunset, having left Glen Echo during the upheaval there. Upon his arrival, he began to encourage Busch to begin construction of the golf course. In 1916, Robert, Dave, and Jim Foulis began the task of laying out the holes. Newspaper accounts of the day touted the course as the “most beautiful in the country...” as it seemed that August Sr. spared little expense to make it among the finest.
A wet spring in 1917 enabled the Foulis brothers to only have nine holes open in June when the official grand opening took place. Chick Evans was on hand to play as part of the opening foursome, along with Carleton, Anheuser and Christian Kenney. Evans would return in September as the full 18-holes opened for a second christening of the course.
Following the death of Adolphus Busch in 1913, about 80 acres of the club grounds passed to Anheuser-Busch, with the remaining 95 acres owned by August Busch Sr. When he died in 1934, his wife Alice held the title. Despite offers to sell - and with A-B anxious to relieve itself of the land - Alice refused to sell, remaining adamant that it remain a golf course. For a time, there was some talk of turning the grounds into an employee facility, especially during the dark days of The Great Depression.
The course continued with a strong membership until The Depression hit the area. Head Professional Johnny Manion, tried several ideas to help the club finances, including opening the doors to the public for two years, in an effort to keep the club solvent.
When this proved unsuccessful, it reverted back to a members-only facility for a few years before the declining membership forced the club to close for ten months in 1937. Then in early 1938, led by Edward Dowd, 100 members banded together to reorganize the club, this time as the Sunset Country Club, dropping the “Hill” from the name. In addition, Dowd approached Anheuser-Busch about memberships, and shortly after this, 100 brewery employees joined the new Sunset.
In 1945, Alice Busch, along with Anheuser-Busch, agreed to sell the land to the members. Though the land was valued at over $250,000, the club paid only $110,000 for it, plus some additional debt on the land. In 1955, members began to discuss building a new clubhouse. In 1957, the present clubhouse was constructed, and in the process, the large stained-glass and steel Hohenzollern eagle, originally purchased by Adolphus from the German exhibit at the 1904 World’s Fair, and which became the centerpiece of the facility, was regrettably destroyed.
Midland Valley CC
Just north of Page Avenue on Ashby in Overland, the Midland Valley Club was formed in 1910 with the course being completed in the spring of 1913. Led by businessmen Frank Canter, Lee Grant, Rudolph Kilgren, Albert Hitchings and Percy DuBois, the club was an immediate success and grew to 150 members in just a few years. Early golfing great Jimmy Manion was one player who made Midland Valley his home course, though he would also call several courses “home” during the years. The club would be home to many early champions as it was a magnificent layout.
However, the Depression hit the club hard and in 1932 it declared bankruptcy. A group led by William Berberich purchased the club out of bankruptcy, and renamed it Meadow Brook GC and Tavern. It operated as a private golf club, with the clubhouse open to the public for dining and dancing on weekends. In 1942, with the War on, Berberich was forced to make the club entirely public to raise funds to stay afloat. In 1945, he sold the club to a group of businessmen, brought to the club by then-member Bob Cochran. The club remained in Overland until a fire destroyed the clubhouse in 1957. While operating out of area hotels for two years, a beautiful stretch of land on Clayton Road was placed under contract, with the club relocating there in 1960. In the process, a new course, designed by Robert Bruce Harris, the Chicago architect, was completed.
Midland Valley & Donald Ross
Historical evidence points to Midland Valley CC being remodeled in 1919 and again in 1928. It is these projects that lend a footnote to the history of the course.
Donald Ross is said to have been an architect in the redesign of the club in 1919. If this is true, it would make it only the second course he worked-on in Missouri, the other being Hillcrest CC in Kansas City which he designed in 1917.
The reference to Midland Valley comes from records located by this author at the Tufts Pinehurst Museum & Library and from notes made by Ross relating to a possible design. The design, shown on page 39, was shown in 2001 to Bob Cochran, the long-time member at Meadowbrook. He confirmed that the routing and design on the drawing matched his recollection of the holes. As we have no record of the original design to compare, it is safe to say that Ross likely made changes to the course in 1919 to give it more character.
St. Clair CC
On the Illinois side of the river, the St. Clair CC course was in the planning phase around 1909. A nine-hole course near Belleville existed on the bluffs above the Mississippi River at Signal Hill Boulevard and Bluff Road in 1908 and some of the men who played there began to envision a larger facility. For two years they worked to organize the new club. Led by Alonzo Vickers, T.D. Watkins, Edmond Goedde, Stephen LaPage and W.E. Trautmann, they opened their new clubhouse on July 4, 1910. A year later, August 1911, they purchased 63 acres for a new course and golf began at St. Clair. Years later, in 1927, the present front nine would be designed by architect William Langford.
C.B. Macdonald & St. Louis CC
In 1914, St. Louis CC made the move from Clayton to Ladue. With that move, they not only were intent on creating a grand new club but also a course that would set a new standard by the nation’s top designer, Charles Blair Macdonald.
Having completed two courses for Chicago GC over a 3-year period from 1892-1895, the first being a 9-holer located in an area called Belmont (today it is the Downers Grove GC), and when the Chicago club moved to Wheaton in 1895, he designed the present course.
It is an interesting fact that despite the number of courses James Foulis designed throughout the country, he did not attempt any changes to Chicago GC. This is a credit to two circumstances; first, the members recognized the beauty of the course and the only change made to it was suggested by Macdonald himself in 1913.
The second was the dominating personality of Macdonald. He was such a taskmaster and looming figure that it would be inconceivable that Foulis would have touched the layout without the approval of Macdonald. [James Foulis would also become the first professional at the new St. Louis CC in 1912 and he stayed until 1915. To what extent Macdonald influenced this decision is unknown].
Macdonald had won the initial US Amateur in 1896 and as a result enjoyed a national reputation, both for his golf and design capabilities. (In reality, he won the third tournament, but it was the first “Official” Amateur sanctioned by the newly formed USGA. The two previous were won by others, also in 1895, but Macdonald claimed that they could not be considered true “National” championships since they were sponsored only by individual clubs! Had he would have won either of the two earlier events, his response might be different since the same players were in all three events!)
Course design was not a profession for Macdonald, only an avocation, and is said he never accepted a fee for any of his courses. So, when the members at St. Louis CC saw the growth of other Country Club courses it became only logical that when they decided to move and build 18-holes that someone of his stature would be selected. Selecting Macdonald was undoubtedly done not just to ensure a quality design, but to remove themselves from the “also-ran” label that could have been given had they selected a designer who was already doing work in the area. New Yorker Seth Raynor, Macdonald’s associate on this project, had been hired by Macdonald in 1908 to help survey the over 100 courses that appear with his name. Becoming a partner with him in a few years, Raynor was the technician and oversaw all of the projects they undertook. Macdonald, on the other hand, concentrated mainly on his “pet projects” and left much of the detail work to Raynor. Other designs of theirs included the Old White Course at the Greenbrier, Mid Ocean in Bermuda, Fox Chapel in Pennsylvania, Sleepy Hollow, Fishers Island, Piping Rock all in New York, and Yale University GC.
One characteristic of Macdonald’s courses, and to some extent all courses of the day, was to incorporate famous holes from Scotland; in particular Redan, Cape and High holes. The Cape hole is a dogleg par-4 across a bay where a player could cut off as much as they wished. At St. Louis, this is the #8 hole. The Redan hole is a par-3 that offers a variety of shot selections. This is the 16th at St. Louis CC. Typical of older, Scottish style courses, all the holes at St. Louis are named. From the 1st “Preparatory” to the 3rd “Eden,” to the 7th “Shorty,” the 11th “Valley,” the 14th “Dome” and the 18th “Oasis” they all reflect the character of the hole.
Macdonald-aficionado, architect Brian Silva, who specializes in restoring Macdonald courses, reviewed the course after the 2009 renovation and once again, proclaimed it a wonderful example of Macdonald’s work and some of the best examples of the classic holes. The all-bentgrass course is unlike almost any other course in the area with its rolling terrain, large trees, and wonderful bunkering. It was a favorite of the USGA for many years hosting 6 championships including a US Opens and Amateurs, as well as the 2014 Curtis Cup Match.
Forest Park GC & Dwight Davis
The birth of public golf was not an easy one. Despite the rise in private clubs, public courses were still being shut-out; that is until 1912. A young man in his mid-thirties, Dwight Davis, with his record of tennis accomplishments, had supported the current Mayor of St. Louis Frederick H. Kreinmann, and to reward him Davis was appointed Park Commissioner. Thankfully for St. Louis, this would mark the watershed event for public golf. Davis immediately contacted some of the founders of area private clubs, in particular, C. Norman Jones of Log Cabin and Jesse Carleton of Glen Echo, to ask their support to develop a public course in the City. Henry W. Allen, secretary of Bellerive, tried to get the group to hire a professional, as did Davis, to “stake out the course.” However, the committee determined that by visiting public courses across the country, they could gain sufficient knowledge to design the course themselves. A small group toured several clubs in NY, Pennsylvania, Chicago, and Kansas City and then settled on the design. However, while Davis had pushed them to hire Robert Foulis to design the course, he now moved to have the committee hire Foulis to build the course for them. This was very shrewd on Davis’ part as he knew that any substantial design flaws in the committee drawings could be corrected by Foulis in construction, giving the City a quality course. Construction began in 1911 and in 1912 the first 9-holes opened.
An article in the Post-Dispatch in 1912 recounted opening day with this account of the first tee shot by one of the participants; “...Mrs. E.N. Farar, an athletic young woman, bareheaded and dressed in white, walked to a tee...whirled a golf stick through the air and sent a ball soaring.”
The following year, 1913, another 9-holes were added to the layout and shortly thereafter another 9-holes, bringing the total to 27. By 1915 an article appeared in the Globe-Democrat that stated: “...golfers often had to wait their turn to play the 18-hole course which was regarded as the best - meaning the most difficult - course in the St. Louis District.” The course was open every day and though golfers had to get a permit to play, it was free, however, the player had to supply their own equipment! By 1924, only 10 of the 140 municipal courses in the country were free, including the two in Forest Park. The following year, 1925, the first green fees were implemented; a golfer could purchase a $10 annual permit, or pay single round fees; fifty cents for 18-holes and twenty-five cents for 9-holes. Dwight Davis continued to serve as Park Commissioner under Henry Kiel and Victor Miller. Golfers who have played the Forest Park courses should give a brief moment of thanks to Davis, for it is his dedication to the growth of athletic facilities in the city’s parks, both for golf and tennis, that give us what we have today.
The sport was gaining ground in the public arena, but the private courses still held the reins tightly on the championships, and control of the sport on the national and local level was controlled by organizations organized by and for the private clubs. It took a lot of effort on the part of many country club players to push for greater public facilities and championship events, and without the efforts of men like Stuart Stickney, Chris Kenney, Harry Allen, Jesse Carleton and of course Dwight Davis, public golf would have lagged further behind.
North Hills CC
In north county, a new club, North Hills CC (renamed Norwood Hills in 1933) developed its two courses with Wayne Stiles in 1922. Amazingly, the original plan for North Hills was to build 45 holes in 90 days. While 36 were completed in that time period, and the routing for the last 9 was completed, the final nine holes were never grassed nor were the greens completed.
Organized by a group of bankers, it had Eurastus Wells, the son of former mayor Rolla Wells, as its first president. As the only club in the northeast portion of the county, yet not far from Glen Echo or Bellerive, it drew members to the club with its spacious grounds and two wonderful 18-hole courses.
However, like many clubs, the Great Depression hit it hard and it would reorganize in the early 1930s.
The year is 1920. The only semi-majors played in St. Louis thus far had been the 1908 Western Open at Normandie, won by Willie Anderson, and three Trans-Miss events in 1905, 1913 and 1919. On the horizon would be the 1921 US Amateur and the 1925 US Women’s Amateur both to be held at St. Louis CC and the 1929 US Publinks would be held at Forest Park. But with the “Roaring Twenties” approaching, there are only 11 golf courses in the area, with all but 2 being private. Only Forest Park was open to the public. But the situation was about to change.
There was very little activity from 1914-1919 as the first World War consumed everyone’s attention, and to many, golf was essentially a rich-man’s activity. But following the return of the doughboys, the early 1920s brought new vigor and new courses began to appear.
Tom Bendelow was already a presence and designers Joseph Roseman, Wayne Stiles, William Langford, Harold Paddock, and others came to our area and