In the late 1800s, a new sport was quickly conquering the hearts and minds of the American public. Golf – along with its dining, social exclusivity, and competitive spirit – was being adopted throughout America, and the residents of Hinsdale were all too eager to pick up a new game, especially one as sophisticated as golf. It was with this new enthusiasm that a group of golfers in Hinsdale created their own six-hole golf course, complete with clubhouse, in open pastures near Hinsdale. After creating the course, they petitioned the State of Illinois to incorporate their golf course.
Finally, on October 15th, 1898, the Hinsdale Golf Club was chartered by the State of Illinois and their legacy began. At this time, the cost of membership was a mere $10, plus $10 annually for dues. The Hinsdale Golf Club was so popular that their membership quickly ballooned and the meager tract of land they were situated on was outgrown. With this in mind, they began expansion in 1899 by purchasing an eighty acre plot of land west of their original location. But even the brand new, state-of-the-art nine-hole golf course would not contain them for long.
In the early 1900s, membership was multiplying and the club was ready for further expansion to a complete 18-hole course. With the increased size of the course – and with the increased membership – the club needed to increase its overall size, and the land in Hinsdale just could not accommodate their needs. After extensive negotiations, a long-term lease was signed for a significantly larger parcel of land and – continuing the trend – they moved further west. Not only did this allow the club to significantly increase its size and make it more prestigious, it officially moved the Hinsdale Golf Club within the future boundaries of the village of Clarendon Hills.
The Hinsdale Golf Club had grown to become a prominent feature in the culture and village life of Clarendon Hills, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. In 1920 and 1922, enormous fires ravaged the landscape of the club and both times the clubhouse was burned to the ground. The Great Depression brought its fair share of trial and tribulation as well. Membership shrunk and people became more focused on basic survival instead of the leisurely activities associate with golf. Regardless of the hardship, the club trudged ahead.
Ultimately, the bond that was forged among the membership – through their love of golf – was stronger than fire, depression, and sagging membership. In 1923, after the fires, a much grander, more permanent clubhouse rose from the ashes and still stands to this day. In addition to this, quick and creative thinking by the board allowed the Club to dynamically shift its membership priorities and this led to an expansion that included a swimming pool and both paddle and clay tennis courts. The Club celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1998 and remains a prominent part of the hearts, minds, and landscape of Clarendon Hills.
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