Prominent residents such as Horace Dodge, Edsel Ford, and A.H. Buhl, purchased this farmhouse in 1916, which served as the first Lochmoor Clubhouse until it burned down in 1924.
HISTORY - APPROACHING OUR CENTENNIAL
Lochmoor Club was founded in 1917, the year that the United States entered World War I. A group of Detroit golf enthusiasts bought 135 acres of flat farm land not far from Lake St. Clair. This land had once been part of the farms of Bellonie V. D’Handt, the Beaufaits and the VanAntwerps. The price was $150,000 and it was paid to the Grosse Pointe Improvement Co. It is socially interesting that Lochmoor Club was founded by the inner circle of some of Grosse Pointe’s most socially prominent families. Henry Ford’s son Edsel was a founding member as were both the Dodge brothers. World War One ace Eddie Rickenbacker joined early on as did two of the Fisher Brothers. Ford board members James Couzens and Frank Alger were members here as well as Oscar Weber of the J.L. Hudson empire.
IN THE BEGINNING
Travis Beaupre and Sweeney Walter Travis, three-time U.S. Amateur Golf Champion helped design the original course, and it was built by John H. Sweeney. Most of the construction however, was supervised by William Beaupre of the pioneer Grosse Pointe family. When John Sweeney took his morning rideouts on horseback, it is reported that he stopped to consult with Beaupre. These discussions are credited today with Lochmoor’s physical beauty as well as its departure from tradition in such ‘modern’ ideas as eliminating cross fairway traps.
Lochmoor Club opened for play on June in 1918, and the club received Certificate No. 173 of Active Membership in the United States Golf Association. The same year the founders bought the Metcalf farmhouse which was on the property and expanded it by adding glassed-in terraces and wings all of which were shaded by huge, wide striped awnings. The clubhouse was decorated by Detroit’s Society of Arts and Crafts and it was decided at that time to keep it open all winter. Unfortunately, the life of the redone building ended five years later when, in the early morning of February 26, 1924, fire destroyed the clubhouse. The fire trucks arrived promptly but all the water lines were frozen and the firemen could only stand and watch as the club burned to the ground. That same February day, the directors met and approved plans to rebuild.
A NEW CLUBHOUSE
Golf went on as usual while the new clubhouse was being erected. It took only nine months. An annual keno party celebrated the new opening in November, 1924, but the highlight of the event was the near jailing of the entire board of directors. The menu apparently called for wild duck, but the game warden seized the birds charging the providers with exceeding their bag limit. Wiser heads pointed out that the hunters had merely pooled their bags for the feast. Jail was avoided. It was dryly noted that steak was ultimately served as the main course of the dinner.
The year 1926 saw the advent of junior memberships and the completion of the tennis courts. In 1944 the Lochmoor Invitational Tournament was instituted. In 1954 the construction of the swimming pool was completed. This was made possible by Bill Beckenhauer who headed a fund raising committee the previous year for voluntary contribution from the members. In 1956 the directors decided to permit electric golf carts on the course on a trial basis. The trial was a total success.
The decade of the ‘60s introduced plans to redesign the clubs 128 acre course. This was brought on by the decision to eliminate the Milk River. At the same time the parking lot was enlarged to handle over 200 cars. Adding a historical note here; bowling had been the big sporting event during the winter months and, in 1961, Lochmoor men and women bowlers won the first annual Detroit inter-club bowling league championship.
…and then another one
In 1965 Lochmoor Club introduced the GAM’s minimum handicap system. This system uses a computer program to calculate each handicap in accordance with USGA handicap rules based on Lochmoor’s course rating. At this time discussions about restoration of the old clubhouse versus building a new clubhouse were canceled when it was discovered that the foundations of the original were faulty. Soil tests were conducted and it was decided that the old clubhouse had to be demolished. It was. A trailer camp was set up to conduct club business during the next building phase. On Thanksgiving Day in 1969 Lochmoor Club’s present clubhouse, new from top to bottom, was opened.
Following the erection of the new clubhouse, it was decided to make more sweeping changes and additions. Four outdoor tennis courts and two platform tennis courts were constructed. A complete automatic watering system to irrigate the golf course was installed . Over 2,000 trees and shrubs were planted to improve the beautification of the golf course. Lochmoor Club began its own golf cart operation and today runs a fleet of over 100 vehicles.
TENNIS COMES ON-STEAM
The phenomenal growth of tennis during the early ‘70s and the increasing interest of Lochmoor Club members in indoor tennis was recognized by the Club membership when it overwhelmingly approved the construction of an indoor tennis facility to include four indoor tennis courts serviced by two lounges, a tennis pro shop and locker rooms. At the same time a new golf pro shop, golf storage and caddy room were completed in conjunction with the building of the indoor tennis facility.
Improvements continued in 1974 with the opening of the new grillroom, enlargement and refurnishing of the cocktail lounge and a new 6,000 square foot building constructed on the golf course for greens and grounds maintenance. During the latter part of 1980, a golf course drainage system was installed followed by the construction of asphalt cart paths. The combined improvements have not only enhanced the beauty of Lochmoor’s course but have provided a more playable and enjoyable golf course no matter what the weather conditions. Major new plantings have been added to benefit the course while a new gatehouse has also been erected. In 1983 the Club initiated a total renovation of golf course traps and bunkers, with the bunkers being completed in time for the opening of the season.
EXPANSION - SOCIAL AND ATHLETIC
Another ground breaking ceremony took place in December of 1988. At that time, due to increased membership, the mixed grille and the men’s andwomen’s lounges were all expanded. 1990 saw the Club install a new irrigation system on the course and add to the number of rare and unusual trees and flowers to increase the Club’s natural beauty. There were major changes inside the club, too. The Ballroom was enlarged, the “Pub” was created; the main kitchen was expanded and renovated, the men’s and women’ locker rooms were renovated, while a Physical Fitness room was created equipped with the latest advanced gymnasium and personal workout equipment. The pool was reconfigured and the pool patio and gardens were substantially expanded. Each of these moves was designed to add to the amenities which the members had come to expect and to make changes that would improve the experience of belonging to Lochmoor Club.
ENSURING WATER FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CLUB
In the late 1990′s Lochmoor’s Greens and Grounds Committee conducted a feasibility study to decide on the addition of a major water retention program on the golf course. This promised improvements on the driving range and the added insurance of a much larger reservoir of water should it be needed. The program was voted in and, after considerable research and soil studies, an on-course reservoir was dug in 2001 that currently holds 35 million gallons in its 35 foot depths. If anything, water retention has become even more significant since then. Lochmoor is now collecting all excess run-off water from the course into its enormous holding basin. We now enjoy a water availability that allows us to improve playing conditions and the very aesthetics of the course.
In 2005 the golf course’s Halfway House was redesigned to reflect the standards of the rest of Lochmoor Club. These changes mark a welcome break for all players. The Halfway House is fully air conditioned while circulating fans outside cool those traditionalists who prefer to stay close to the greens. A fully-equipped kitchen serves sandwiches and libations across its granite-topped counters. Restrooms for men and women complete this modern facility.
WHERE WE ARE TODAY
The new millennium has seen more than changes to the golf course. From the Clubhouse to the Ballroom, all dining areas have been reconfigured for ease of service and adaptability for more functions. The Pub was thoroughly modernized while new carpeting and interior decorations have made all Club social areas even more inviting. The men’s and women’s locker rooms were totally redesigned. Particular attention was given to the Ladies Locker Room and Grille. There were more challenges. A burst water main in early 2007 led to a new configuration of the previous space which now includes all interior furnishings, carpeting, cabinets and televisions. Granite-topped counters have been added and painting has been completely redone throughout the entire women’s area. The Tennis House meanwhile has added the latest machines to its health and fitness center which becomes more popular every year.
Finally, let us admit that improvements to the golf course and surrounding grounds are never finished. From year to year you will find positive differences being made to the bunkers, the driving range and the greens. The maintenance of the course itself has been improved with state-of-the art equipment and a huge fully-equipped storage facility for machinery and repairs. We believe Lochmoor Club now provides a golf environment equal to any in the Detroit District.