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A Brief History: The Original La Grange Country Club

When membership increased, the course needed to expand from nine holes to 18 holes and was forced to move—err, roll—to its current location.

According to local history tracked by the La Grange Area Historical Society, the , 620 S. Brainard Ave., was founded in 1899 and was one of 30 golf clubs in the Chicago area by the end of 1900. It didn’t always reside at its current address on Brainard, though. Originally, the Club was a nine-hole course located at the southeast corner of 47th Street and La Grange Road—it was forced to move to a new location because of expanding membership. The game of golf was gaining popularity and its 47th Street property did not have enough land to hold 18 holes.

It was decided by Howard VanDorn, the architect, that the 47th Street clubhouse could be used as a second floor of the new clubhouse on Brainard. The original clubhouse was detached from its foundation and rolled west. The old clubhouse was superimposed onto the newly constructed first floor. Another location in consideration for the new course—a farm on north LaGrange Road—was ruled out because it would have been too expensive to roll the clubhouse over the railroad tracks.

The move took place in 1912 and the new clubhouse hosted some social events in 1913.

The original membership was limited to 100 with an initiation fee of $50. The annual dues were a whopping $25 per year. There were no carts back then so the golfers relied on caddies who worked for $.10 an hour and who were thrilled to get it.

Speaking of caddies, rumor has it the caddies used to cool off after a long day’s work by skinny dipping in a local pond not far from the golf course. The pond was referred to as Sieling’s Pond because it was on what used to be the Sieling Farm located around what is now south Spring Avenue and 51st Street.

The next time you drive down Brainard and catch a glimpse of the La Grange Country Club, take a look at the clubhouse and imagine all the work that took place back in 1912 to move the second floor to its current home. It must have been a sight to see the building rolling down 47th.

The La Grange Country Club is still a private membership golf club. Of the original 30 courses that opened in the Chicago area by 1900, only 15 of them are still around.

Darren McRoy March 30, 2011 at 07:45 AM
It looks like a beautiful course, at least what I've seen of it from Google Maps and driving down Brainard. Jealous of the members for sure. :-)
Pat tawse March 30, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Very informative. Really enjoying the articles on the wonderful history of LaGrange.

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