When St. Louis Country Club was founded in 1892, the primary recreational activity was polo. In 1895, the club moved to a new location and developed the area’s first golf course. James Foulis, the 1896 U.S. Open champion, designed the original nine holes. Eighteen more holes were laid out to give the club 27 holes, including a course solely for the female members.
In 1913, the club moved farther west and the golf committee, headed by future USGA president George Herbert Walker, worked with Charles Blair Macdonald to construct a course that opened a year later. Macdonald had completed his masterpiece, the National Golf Links of America, four years earlier and his layouts included holes patterned after the classics in England and Scotland. Macdonald’s protégé, Seth Raynor, collaborated on the work at St. Louis C.C. and the result was a course capable of hosting national championships.
St. Louis Country Club became the first club west of the Mississippi River to host the U.S. Amateur (1921) and U.S. Women’s Amateur (1925). Jesse Guilford won the U.S. Amateur and a young Bob Jones lost in the quarterfinals. Glenna Collett Vare claimed the 1925 championship for the second of her record six U.S. Women’s Amateur titles. She defeated one of Jones’ childhood friends, Alexa Stirling, in the championship match.
Perhaps the biggest moment in the club’s USGA history came in the 1947 U.S. Open when Sam Snead and Lew Worsham needed an 18-hole playoff to decide the championship. Tied on the final hole, Snead lagged his putt within 18 inches. Snead walked to his ball, and as he was about to stroke the putt, Worsham asked USGA referee Ike Grainger to measure who was away. It turned out that Snead was away, but he was flustered by the delay caused by the measurement. He missed the par putt and Worsham made his to win the championship. It was one of Snead’s four runner-up U.S. Open finishes, and arguably his most disappointing.
St. Louis C.C. also hosted the 1960 U.S. Amateur, won by future PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman, and the 1972 U.S. Women’s Amateur, won by Mary Budke, who would go on to captain the 2002 USA Curtis Cup Team.
One unique feature of St. Louis Country Club is the full-sized polo field in front of the clubhouse, which also serves as the driving range.