Opened in 1901, Glen Echo Country Club is the oldest 18-hole golf course west of the Mississippi. Comprising 138 acres in Normandy, Missouri, our front entrance is on Lucas Hunt Road, just south of Natural Bridge, exactly where it was in 1901. It's a parcel of land whose historical interest to St. Louis dates back to 1812. At that time, an earthquake in New Madrid, Missouri, caused extensive flooding by the Mississippi River. The territory of Missouri, realizing the plight of the landowners, offered them land elsewhere in Missouri to replace the flooded acreage.

One of the landowners, John B. Chartier, chose the 160 acres that eventually became Glen Echo. In 1817, the Lucas family, in the process of moving their successful farm from what is now 4th and Market in St. Louis, acquired the land along with other acreage. In all, the Lucas estate covered nearly 3,000 acres. Wilson P. Hunt later inherited the property from his mother-in-law, Mrs. Anna B. Lucas. Hunt established a home on the grounds, building a two-story mansion and planting hundreds of beautiful trees he had imported from France. For many years, he lived the life of a country gentleman with his family at this elegant estate.

In 1898, a golf course on the Turner portion of the property - a cousin of the Lucas' - was built to house the Kinloch Club. Two years later, another group approached Hunt seeking to lease another parcel to construct their course. An agreement was struck and the Mound City Golf Club was formed. However, within a month, the new club organizers decided to rename their club. It would be called Glen Echo.

One of the main obstacles a club faced was getting its members to the club from their downtown homes and offices. The location of the Club to the adjacent Wabash Railroad station, which was located just to the west of the 2nd tee, with the Kirkwood-Ferguson line (one of the few main streetcars) within walking distance.

The golf enthusiasts succeeded in negotiating a six-year lease with Hunt calling for $1,000 a year for five years and $2,000 the sixth year. The agreement also included an option, later exercised, to purchase the property for $100,000. The mansion was converted to a clubhouse, and the golf course was built, with the large imported trees lining a number of the fairways.

Glen Echo was formally opened on May 25, 1901, by the proud organizers: George S. McGrew, Murray Carleton, Herman C. G. Luyties, Festus J. Wade, Julius H. Koehler, S. C. Edgar, and George A. Meyer. Col McGrew was the first president and under his leadership the club achieved national prominence.

In 1902, McGrew, with the help of his son-in-law Albert B. Lambert, arranged for an International Golf Championship to be held at Glen Echo in 1903. Lambert was well known in golfing circles around the world, having competed in the 1900 Olympic Golf Matches in Paris, France, winning the handicap event. However, when the 1904 Olympic Games were awarded to St. Louis in 1903, McGrew petitioned the Olympic Committee to permit Glen Echo to host the Golf Event. When they agreed, the original International Golf event was abandoned in favor of hosting the Olympic Golf Matches.

In 1904, with the World's Fair and the Third Olympic Games about to begin, Glen Echo prepared to host the Golf Championship in September 1904. The event produced Olympic Gold Medal Champion, George S. Lyon of Toronto, Canada. The Olympic Golf matches brought national attention to the beautiful Glen Echo course. On the way to winning the championship, Lyon established a new course record with an 18-hole score of 77.

In 1913, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, the most prominent golfers of that era, played an exhibition match at Glen Echo, focusing considerable public attention on the club. Over a two-day period, the Englishmen played 36 holes at Glen Echo and 18 holes at Normandie GC and Bellerive CC. Competing against the best St. Louis amateurs, the legendary professionals never shot over par as they easily won all of their matches. By 1926, the original Clubhouse was reaching fifty-years of age. With significant updating necessary to maintain it in a first-class condition, the Board made the decision to construct a new Clubhouse. In 1927, the current Clubhouse was completed for $250,000. Shortly after that, the original Clubhouse was taken down. Today, the tennis courts stand where the original building was located.

Today the holes are essentially the same, with the exception that the course has been lengthened from 6,200 to approximately 6,500 yards. The current USGA rating is 71.0 with a par of 71. The course record is 63, held by former club professional's, Dick Shaiper and Nash Haxel, and former club champion Tim Mitchell.

Through the years this fine private club has witnessed the gradual change of golf from a "rich man's game" to a sport which practically anyone can enjoy. The membership has changed accordingly, from wealthy chauffeur-driven gentlemen to corporate executives, professional people, and small business entrepreneurs. However, despite the many changes that have taken place, Glen Echo has remained a quiet retreat for its members.



Artist's Rendition of the Clubhouse in 1901

The Clubhouse in 1904

Club Entrance off Lucas-Hunt Road in 1901

Clubhouse Veranda in 1904

Colonel George McGrew

Aerial View of the Clubhouse in 1926

Harry Vardon (l) and Ted Ray

Robert Foulis
Designer of the Course and 1st Professional