Lake Zurich Golf Course Addtional Information & History

When the Lake Zurich Golf Club organized in 1895, its Hyde Park founders sought to establish a relaxed and peaceful environment. Used mostly as a summer retreat for University of Chicago professors, the club created a nine-hole layout measuring 2,865 yards and designed by Robert Foulis. Unlike other clubs, the Lake Zurich organization never placed too high a priority on the competitive aspects of the game. Local rules were not strict Or cumbersome-best illustrated by the club's first rule: 'Don't take the game too seriously' Other rules exlibited a further unconventional approach toward the anctity of the sport's guidelines. For example, I Any ball lying in any gopher, rabbit or crab hole may be lifted and red rapped within a club's length. 'A dandelion or weed may be plucked (on the green) without penalty." It's safe to say no other Chicago club has placed as high a priority on humor as Lake Zurich. Consider, their ruling for lost golf balls: ''The missing ball will eventually be found and pocketed by some other player, in which case it becomes a stolen ball. There is no penalty for a stolen ball." While other clubs engaged in formal affairs to celebrate respective club milestones, Lake Zurich's members never succumbed to pomp and circumstance. What other club would schedule the "Learned and Informative Discourse in Newspaper Typographical Errors" on an annual dinner program? In another year, the dinner menu included "entree of prime ribs of tadpole and butterfly livers:' Perhaps this sense of humor is what attracted members, such as Chester Gould, the creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip, or Leo Burnett, the founder of the worldwide advertising agency bearing his name. Other members ran in literary and educational circles. Of the latter, so many had PhD's that it was common to hear members refer to their colleagues as "Doctor:' Books authored by Lake Zurich's members were so numerous the clubhouse included bookshelves filled exclusively with works written by its members. Still, Lake Zurich has never had a membership roster of more than 50. Furthermore, all share in club duties. Maintenance is performed not by paid laborers but by club members. There is no bartender or staff; thus, each member pours his own drink from his own identified bottle. At their family-style dinners, the member with the least seniority carves and serves the food. Early in the club's history, an attempt was made by the Chicago & North Western Railroad to condemn part of the facility's property for railroad expansion. Taken as a serious threat to its future, Lake Zurich plotted an ingenious defense that was eventually successful. Four cadavers from Rush Medical College were donated to the club and subsequently buried on the grounds complete with tombstones. Incorporating part of its property as a cemetery, the club had found the legal loophole to avoid any further challenge from the railroad. Today, the course is still nine holes and its distance of 2,651 yards represents even less playing yardage than almost 100 years ago. Course activity is extremely limited; some members consider the course to be busy if there is more than one foursome playing at anyone time.

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