Thursday, January 7, 2010
Chicago Golf Club
Charles Blair Macdonald, whose father (Godfrey Macdonald) was president of our Society in 1875, is know as the Father of Golf in Chicago. Attending school in Scotland, he brought back a set of clubs and laid out some holes on the Lake Forest estate of C.B. Farwell. Later, he laid out a course on the farm of A. Haddon Smith at Belmont, IL., 23 miles west of Chicago. It was one block north of the CB&Q railroad lines. "This is believed to be the second golf course west of the Alleghenies. It was later enlarged to 18 holes and is thought to be the first 18 hole course in North America. MacDonald ordered 6 sets of clubs from Scotland and soon golf began in earnest. The club became so popular that 200 acres were purchased (1894) in Wheaton, IL. for $25,000. Macdonald laid out the course to meet his own needs. A chronic slicer, "he routed the holes so that both nines would play in clockwise fashion and thus help his game. In 1902, the CA&E Railway constructed an electrified, third-rail line passing close to the main entrance. On weekends and special events, they would add a luxuriously car with a well-stocked bar and linen-tablecloth dinner service. The Belmont course is now owned and operated by the Downers Grove Park District. The Chicago Golf Club is also very active. Chicago Scots have always been involved in the game of golf. More later.