WHEATON – There has been much excitement surrounding the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship, which will take place July 12 through 15 at the historic Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton.
The Chicago Golf Club – which is the oldest 18-hole course in North America – was one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association in 1894, according to historic documents. Charles Blair Macdonald founded the Chicago Golf Club in 1892.
In advance of the upcoming event, the Wheaton City Council proclaimed July 9 as "Wheaton's Got Golf Day" in the city of Wheaton. The proclamation also recognized the efforts of the Wheaton Fine and Cultural Arts Commission to organize a community art painted golf ball project in conjunction with the U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship.
Thirteen golf balls painted by different artists are on display through the end of August throughout Wheaton. A map of the locations is available at wheaton.il.us/793/Summer-of-Golf---Golf-Ball-Locations.
Wheaton Historic Commission Chairwoman Nancy Flannery has been working to educate people about the city's rich golf history. The commission set up a Wheaton golf history exhibit at the Wheaton Public Library and sponsored golf history trolley tours July 1 and 8 that showed off the city's golf history.
At 1 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Mary Lubko Center in Memorial Park, Flannery will give a free lecture on Wheaton's golf history entitled “Wheaton, IL. – Golf History Starts Here.”
Flannery said she is not surprised the U.S. Golf Association chose the Chicago Golf Club as the venue for its inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open.
"Women have always been a part of the Chicago Golf Club," Flannery said. "The 1903 U.S. Women's Amateur Golf Championship was held there. The U.S. Golf Association just wanted to kind of tie in with that."
She is pleased there is so much activity surrounding the upcoming event.
"People are starting to realize how rich Wheaton's golf history is and how important Wheaton was to the development of golf in the Midwest," Flannery said. "For example, Coburn Haskell, who invented the Haskell golf ball – the first rubber wound golf ball created and patented in 1899 – was a member of the Chicago Golf Club. Golf was something that really was introduced to the Midwest here in Wheaton. Charles Blair Macdonald was just wild about golf. He just wanted to play."
Macdonald started Chicago Golf Club in 1892 in Downers Grove.
"But they wanted more land," Flannery said. "They wanted to do something really special. So they bought the Patrick farm here in Wheaton – 200 acres for $28,000 – and the Chicago Golf Club was born."
Information about the Summer of Golf activities is available by going to the city of Wheaton's website, wheaton.il.us.