The spectacular work of Anthony Edgeworth and John de St. Jorre returns in style. The duo, the Mccartney-Lennon of golf books, has just published the fourth of their “Legendary Golf Clubs” series, this time focusing on elite golf clubs in the American Midwest.
The cover photo for the new book was taken at Kirtland Country Club near Cleveland and it is a real beauty. The book focuses on several clubs that are below-the-radar and Kirtland is a good example. Designed by Charles H. Alison (of the Colt & Alison team), the course opened in 1921 and the book depicts it in all its splendor during the fall.
Another Alison course featured is Milwaukee Country Club, which also is rightfully featured among the best courses in the Midwest. All the clubs featured were designed prior to 1935, with many of them having been designed in the nineteen-teens. Take, for example the Old Elm Club on Chicago’s North Shore, designed in 1913 by H.S. Colt and constructed by Donald Ross. It is an all-male bastion of the golfing world that the authors compare to Swinley Forest.
Other courses featured in the book are Donald Ross’s Scioto in Columbus Ohio, Perry Maxwell’s Prairie Dunes in Kansas, the Country Club of Detroit and the A.W. Tillinghast designed Kansas City Country Club. A pair of Seth Raynor gems are highlighted: Camargo in Cincinnati and Shoreacres in Illinois. Rounding out the substantial pedigree of the architects is an original Charles Blair Macdonald design, St. Louis Country Club.
Many important events in golf’s history have occurred in the Midwest on courses featured in the book. Interlachen outside Minneapolis is the course Bobby Jones won the U.S. Open on in 1930 during his Grand Slam run. The chapter devoted to the Country Club of Detroit features a poignant story of a young paint salesman from Cleveland who won his U.S. Amateur at the course. The 24 year old is none other than Arnold Palmer.
Shoreacres delightful clubhouse along Lake Michigan
What we like so much about the work of Edgeworth and de St. Jorre is how they perfectly capture the essence of each club they feature. Edgeworth has a knack for photographing small details that add real depth to an intimate look behind the scenes. Accompanying Edgeworth’s photographs is de St. Jorre’s engaging and well researched text. The other genius in their efforts is focusing on ‘understated’ clubs, that, as they state, are like the Midwest themselves and have “no guest rooms, no pictures or lists of past presidents in the clubhouse, no tee times, no outings, no debt, and no territorial, infrastructural or grand tournament ambitions.”
Jack Nicklaus writes in the book’s foreword that (not surprisingly) many of the Midwest’s golf clubs hold a special place in his own personal story. He grew up playing at Scioto and qualified at Camargo for three of his U.S. Amateur appearances. Nicklaus finishes the foreword of the book by stating that reading this book is “like looking up an old friend.” I felt the same way, having been lucky enough to play five of the courses featured in the book, it transported me right back to warm memories of several storied and historic places.
We heartily recommend the book not only for the golfer’s library but also as a gift which is sure to be appreciated by the golfing aficionado. Let’s hope the authors continue to work their way east-to-west and that the future holds a Legendary Golf Clubs of the American West.
The alternate dust jacket of Legendary Golf Clubs showing Old Elm on the cover