In celebration of its 131st season, the Downers Grove Golf Club has been renamed the Belmont Golf Club to honor the history of the legendary course.
Owned and operated by the Downers Grove Park District, the Belmont Golf Club is located at 2420 Haddow Ave. in Downers Grove. The course officially opened for the season March 16, and tee times are available, weather permitting, online at the course’s new website at belmontgolfclub.org, according to a news release.
In 1892, Charles Blair Macdonald, dubbed the grandfather of American golf, designed the first nine-hole golf course west of the Allegheny Mountains, located in Downers Grove at Belmont Road. At this original site of the Chicago Golf Club, Macdonald designed nine more holes for the course in 1893, making it the first 18-hole course in the U.S. By 1895, Chicago Golf Club members decided to build a new 18-hole golf course near Wheaton and abandoned the Belmont location, according to the release.
In 1899, Herbert J. Tweedie and a group of friends formed the Belmont Golf Club on the site. A founding member of the Belmont Golf Club, it was Tweedie whose first major accomplishment was to keep several of the original holes of the Chicago Golf Club in play, according to the release.
The location of the 18 holes in Downers Grove are most famously known throughout golf history as Belmont Golf Club, one of the original courses of the Western Golf Association, which was founded in 1899. The current layout of the course features six holes that have had very minor changes to them dating to the late 1800s. These holes are referred to as the “Original Six” and include holes number 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 and 9.
During the past two years, the Belmont Golf Club has completed improvements to the site to enhance the visitor experience. On the course, bunkers on holes 4 and 8 were reconstructed. A movable canopy was installed on the lesson tee to create a more comfortable private-lesson experience.
Interior clubhouse renovations included the expansion of the pro shop, plus new furniture, flooring and countertops in the dining area. Outside the clubhouse, an expanded outdoor patio with stamped concrete and new furniture was completed last fall. To provide more shade and a unique entertainment space, a large pergola will be installed over the outdoor patio in the months ahead.
Ken McCormick, general manager of the Belmont Golf Club, encourages golfers to visit during the coming year to play the historic course and see the changes.
“We hope golfers will join us for our Belmont Golf Club Celebration this spring to dedicate the new name and kick off another great golf season,” McCormick said in the release.
In celebration of the renaming of the course, a tournament and celebration will be May 20. The event will include a team tournament followed by a dinner celebration to highlight the history of the course and the improvements the park district has made over the years.
During the tournament, teams of four will compete against each other in a scramble format event with contests and prizes included. A shotgun start will begin at 2:30 p.m. After the dinner, golfers can stay and enjoy a game of bags with friends or just hang around and enjoy a beverage or two. The $50 fee per person includes greens fees, carts, prizes and dinner. To register one’s team for the tournament or to attend the renaming dinner celebration for $15, call the clubhouse at 630-963-1306.
The Belmont Golf Club is a scenic 9-hole par-36 course featuring mature trees, natural areas, elevation and water hazards. A driving range – with 24 hitting stations, a practice putting green, sand trap and chipping area – includes a 10-station covered shelter. Learn more at belmontgolfclub.org.