Belmont Golf Club
Location: 2420 Haddow Ave, Downers Grove, Illinois
Date built: 1892

The Belmont Golf Club was the first 9-hole golf course west of the Appalachians. The club was recognized as the Historic Site of the Year for 2023 by the Downers Grove Historical Society.

In 1892 on land owned by A. Haddow Smith. Sir Henry Truman Wood, British Commissioner to the 1892 Worlds Fair, was a golfer and anxious to find a course where he could play. James B. Forgan (a Chicago banker), J.C. Sterling of the Illinois Steel Company (a Scotsman by birth), J. Marshall Weir (a Belfast Irishman), Herbert J. Tweedy (formerly of Liverpool), were all golfers as well as Charles Blair McDonald who had learned to play golf when he was in school in Scotland. Smith, who had located in Chicago in 1890, heard that these men were talking of forming a golf club and laid out a nine-hole course on 60 acres of land he owned at Belmont near the CB&Q Railroad. A hired man with a shovel, rake and wheelbarrow was his chief assistant. As no regulation cups were obtainable, tin cups were used. A. Haddow Smith invited these men to play over his course, and a little later the Chicago Golf Club was organized in Mr. Smith’s home on the course. The officers were J.C. Sterling, President; J. Marshall Weir, Secretary; and James Forgan, Treasurer. Charles B. McDonald was the Club Captain. The incorporation of the Chicago Golf Club was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune of July 19, 1892. The brief news account of the Club’s official incorporation called for a celebration dinner at the Chicago Club. The celebrants included the four officers plus Arthur Ryerson and Robert Todd Lincoln. Mr. Ryerson later was to accompany Charlie McDonald to the historic Manhattan meeting of December 22, 1894, where the Chicago Golf Club became one of the five founding members of the United States Golf Association. Robert Todd Lincoln, the President’s son, was to serve later as the Chicago Golf Club’s ninth President. Finances for the first year to operate the course were raised by Charles McDonald, who solicited $10 each from 30 members. Shortly before World War I, when the clubhouse burned down, the Chicago Golf Club moved to Wheaton. The Downers Grove course was purchased by Robert and James Slepicka, who operated it under the name of Belmont Country Club until it was sold in 1968 to the Downers Grove Park District. It was then renamed the Downers Grove Golf Course.

In 2023, the Downers Grove Golf Club was changed back to Belmont Golf Club as a nod to the honor of the history of the club.

Approved: 2023


2420 Haddow Ave, Downers Grove, Illinois

Other Historic Sites:

Scroll to Top