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Years before the turn of the 20th century brought a blossoming of country clubs to the Chicago area, and the North Shore Golf Club was to be prominent among them. The popularity of established clubs like Onwentsia, Glenview and Ouilmette encouraged the search for well-placed pastures with a potential for golf course design. Several of Kenilworth’s more ardent devotees did just that when they decided to form a club of their own along the shores of Lake Michigan shortly before 1900.

Nine Holes on Sheridan Road

They leased a large tract of land capable of accommodating their nine-hole layout which was designed by golf architect H.J. Tweedy and opened in 1900. Sheridan Road became one of the more popular shoreline thoroughfares, and the side streets that sprung from its trunk soon threatened the tranquility of the members’ play. With the construction of streets and rapidly increasing property values a decision to move became an obvious one.

The Second Course in Kenilworth

1908- 1917
In 1908, after a lengthy and considerable search, a plot of 40 acres was found just west of the railroad depot in Kenilworth. Club officials struck a deal with the local government to pay back taxes on the land in lieu of rent and a five year lease was signed. Shortly after the signing, the club was reincorporated as North Shore Golf Club, and the nine-hole course was laid out by architect Tom Bendelow. The rental option was renewed for an additional five years. Towards the end of their first decade at the Kenilworth site, members of North Shore approved a purchase and remodeling plan; improvements were to be made to the course and a new clubhouse would be constructed. By 1917, the job was done, but it would last less than six years before it was time to move again.

The Glenview Course

The members of North Shore found a site that was more than four times larger, a 170-acre piece of farmland held in the northern suburb of Glenview. Having made this significant step to the future, the design of the new course and clubhouse could be entrusted to no one but the best. The prestigious British firm of Colt, MacKenzie, and Alison was commissioned to do the work, and they turned out a product that has undergone relatively minor changes in the last 98 years. The course was personally laid out by partner Hugh Alison; the clubhouse was designed by noted Chicago architect George Brown. They were officially opened on Decoration Day of 1922.
The new North Shore was a track to be reckoned with, a stern challenge for even the best of players. The only thing that prevented it from becoming nationally renowned was a problem that plagued many courses in the area – lack of moisture. The membership had a history of settling for nothing but the best and this was no time to cut corners. The only logical solution, an underground watering system, was fully discussed and approved; North Shore was guaranteed green.
North Shore was now one of the most modern facilities in the nation and ready to host a national championship. It didn’t take long.

Championship Golf

1928 Western Open
The Western Golf Association, located just a driver and a 3-iron south of North Shore in Golf, IL, brought the Western Open Championship to the club in 1928. It turned into a battle of the brothers Abe and Al Espinosa. Sharing the field with Chick Evans and Johnny Farrell (who earlier in the summer had a come-from-behind playoff victory over Bobby Jones in the U.S. Open), it was Abe who ultimately won the championship.

1933 U.S. Open
Now that North Shore had proved itself capable of successfully conducting a major national championship, the members were ready for the big show. The 1933 U.S. Open had the name of North Shore Golf Club on the lips of golfers everywhere, and it turned into a truly historical event.
They were all there – defending champion Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour, Johnny Farrell, Ralph Guldahl, Craig Wood, Johnny Revolta, Billy Burke, Harry Cooper, the Espinosas, Denny Shute, Olin Dutra, and Horton Smith.
The best professionals in the world had made the pilgrimage to North Shore in the quest of the Open title, only to serve as witness to the last stand of the amateur king. When Johnny Goodman reached out and snatched the 1933 title from the professionals, few suspected that he would be the last of five amateur winners of the Open.

1939 U.S. Amateur
Thomas Sheehan, Jr. had the writers working when he set a new qualifying record of 139, but from then on the show belong to Marvin “Bud“ Ward of Spokane. He was 11-under par for the 170 holes he played and in his last two matches he one-putted 29 greens. With each match, he played better. By the time he met Ray Billows in the finals, he was playing flawlessly and came away a 7 & 5  winner.

1983 U.S. Amateur
The United States Golf Association decided to revisit North Shore 50 years after their exciting U.S. Open, awarding the club the 1983 U.S. Amateur tournament. The course played a long 6,988 yards, but the tree-lined fairways made the championship more than a driving contest. Jay Sigel topped a much younger field for his second straight U.S. Amateur. He went on to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur that same year, making him the only golfer to ever do so and also one of the older USGA Amateur champions in history. He turned pro and joined the PGA Tour Champions in 1994 at the age of 50, making Rookie of the Year with 14 top 10 finishes.

2011 Western Amateur
The Western Golf Association brought the storied Western Amateur tournament to North Shore in 2011. The field of participants from that event is a literal “who’s who” on today’s PGA Tour. The finals match pitted Ethan Tracy from the University of Arkansas against Patrick Cantlay from UCLA, the world’s top-ranked amateur at the time. Tracy pulled off the upset by defeating Cantlay 1-up by making a clutch putt on the 18th green. Neither player held more than a 1-up lead at any point in the title match, and both played the final eight holes in 3 under par.

2013- 2015 PGA Tour Champions
North Shore was the perfect venue to host the PGA Tour Champions “Encompass Championship" in the summers of 2013, 2014 and 2015. The first professional tournaments to be hosted by the club since the 1933 U.S. Open, they brought national notoriety to North Shore, including coverage on the Golf Channel.