About the Club
With golf becoming popular in the United States early in the 20th century, a group of prominent local businessmen brought golf to the area by founding the St. Clair River Country Club. In 1917, the first nine holes of the course opened for play. A beautiful two story clubhouse was completed in 1918. In 1925, a second nine was added with legendary golf course architect Donald Ross contributing to the design. The 18-hole layout quickly became one of the premier courses in the area.
In 1934, a consolidation of ownership took place and the course was owned by Bob Farr, Joe Fields, Fred W. Moore and Hale Saph. On May 12, 1934, unsupervised caddies started a fire in one of the clubhouse's fireplaces that destroyed the building,. A new one story clubhouse was built the following year.
In 1946, the club was purchased by Fred Cowen. In 1948, he sold it to PGA professional, Lee Kosten who operated it until 1953 when it was purchased by the St. Clair Inn Co. Under this ownership, brothers Creighton and Bob Holden were instrumental in adding a new pro shop, swimming pool, automatically watered fairways, half-way house, and an enlarged and renovated clubhouse. they also added bunkers and planted apple orchards. The Holdens made St. Clair a vacation destination by connecting the golf club to the Inn.
On June, 1961, the clubhouse was again destroyed by fire, claiming the life of George Woodruff, the beloved locker room attendant who lived in the building. the members operated out of a "tent clubhouse" until the present clubhouse was completed in 1962.
Creighton Holden envisioned developing a resort with the golf club at its center, and a hotel/marina on the river property east of the club. In 1971, with an eye toward this expansion, he borrowed $1.5 million dollars from Toronto investor Alan Feldman. Land around the club was acquired including the river property where River Colony condominiums now stand. Architectural drawings were made for an additional 9-holes where the driving range, current holes 12-16, and private homes and condominiums now sit. Unable to meet financial obligations, title to the property reverted to the lender in 1974. In the following years, several groups leased the facilities to run the club for profit but none were successful.
In 1981, in the interest of keeping the golf course and clubhouse available for local use, the entire property was purchased by twenty equal partners. The club was renamed the St. Clair Golf Club. Many improvements to the clubhouse, golf course, oasis, and pool were made during their ownership.
Golf course architect Jerry Matthews designed the construction of five new holes (12-16) which opened in 1994, closing old holes 3-6 and 8. He also remodeled the original holes with new gold, blue, and red tees, bunkers were added, some ponds were filled in and others were created. the front and back nines were reversed and the hole numbers were changed. In 1996, construction began for Golfside Subdivision (private homes and condominiums) bordering new holes 12-16. During the summer of 2000, development of single family home sites began on the site of old holes 3-6.
In 2002, 163 members bought the club from the partners that had owned the club since 1981 and renamed it the St. Clair River Country Club. In 2012, reorganization resulted in the club being owned by 28 investors who changed the name back to the St. Clair Golf Club.
The club has hosted the 2010 Michigan Women's Amateur, 2014 Michigan Women's Senior Amateur, and the 2017 GAM Women's Championship. The club held the qualifying rounds for the 2001 and 2017 USGA Junior, the 2003 US Amateur, and the 2019 Women's Amateur. Member and forward yellow tees were created in 2015. Our par 72 golf course now plays from 4620 to 6816 yards from 7 sets of tees. The championship slope for men is 138 from the back tees and 128 for women from the green tees.
St. Clair Golf Club today remains one of the premier clubs in Michigan's Blue Water area and has an active golf and social calender.