Excelsior Springs Golf Course

Contact the course directly for fees & T-times @ (816)630-3731.

YESTERDAY

The next time you visit the Excelsior Springs Golf Club ask to see the "Log Cabin." You will travel back in time 164 years when it was first built in 1835 by Edwin and Letice O'Dell. And when you're putting on No. 14 green stay clear of any canon fire. The Battle Fredericksburg was fought here during the civil war on August 12, 1864. A monument was erected in 1936 and sits in the southeast corner of the course in memory or the soldiers who gave their lives in the battle.

For 84 years the O'Dell family farmed the fertile land until it was bought by Dr. W. A. Bell and his son W. A. Bell from England in 1909. One year later the first 9 holes opened under the supervision of Alex Ross, a Scottish professional and Thomas Bendelow, a well known course architect in the United States. Bendelow describes the land used to construct the course, "The land selected is eminently suited to the purpose, it being liberally interspersed with water courses, trees, is the undulating character so desirable in the making of a perfect course." C. W. Fish, one of the cities founders, reports on the course builder and their progress on June 23, 1910.
"He is going to put in a Golf Course which is the only one of its kind with natural hazards only. He is building the Course at present having putting greens hidden by trees and ravines. The Course has the ideal features being natural rolling ground. Next year he hopes to have it in as fine condition as any now in this country. Mr. King intends to keep it as near the condition of St. Andrews Course in Scotland, not entirely like the billiard table course now in this country. Golf through the fair greens must be played in the air. The reason the American cannot beat the Scotchman is that the American plays over fair greens that are a smooth as a billiard table and get the roll for his distance. The Scotchman plays the only perfect golf, all of his plays being in the air over woods and ravines and takes his chances for a little roll."

Another 9 holes was added on October 16, 1915. Charles Evans, the prominent amateur golfer from Chicago, dedicated the opening ceremonies with the first ball off No. 1 tee. He shot the course record, 76, on that day and held it until Ray Ouimet passed him with a 72 years later.

The 1st Annual Excelsior Springs invitational was held May 19th & 20th, 1916. For years the tournament was accepted as the official opening of the competitive golf season from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rockies. Alden B. Swift won the first tournament and R. W. Hodge, reputable Kansas City amateur, was low medallist with an 85. Another popular tournament played at Excelsior was the Heart of America. Membership dues back then ranged form $25 to $40 per year. There were approximately 70 members.

The O'Dell family couldn't seem to leave the land settled by their ancestors. Five O'Dell brothers worked on the course for 50 years until the 1970's.

Excelsior Springs becomes known as "Missouri's National Resort." In its hey-day tourists came from all over to drink and bathe in the healing spring waters. Trains from Chicago and St. Louis left regularly for the Excelsior Springs Depot and were bused straight to the hotels and the famous golf course.

To accommodate the increasing number of golf enthusiasts at another 18 holes was constructed in 1928. However, play dramatically declined during the 1930's depression. The City leased the course in 1936 and eventually built an airport on the back 18 holes. In 1949 the city acquired the course for $85,000.

After the city purchased the course reconstruction began by building 18 new greens and on the back nine new fairways. Additions to the clubhouse as it stands today were made in 1965 through 1969. Automatic sprinkling systems were installed in the early 70's for greens and tees. Driving on No. 18 became a little hazardous because of low flying planes preparing to land. Eighteen tee was moved for safer play. A lake was built in front of No. 18 tee for an addition source of water. The supply of water was still in demand so another lake was built left of No. 11 green in 1980. Funds we also raised form memorials and donations to install four refrigerated drinking fountains.

For Golf Info: Contact the course directly for fees & T-times @ (816)630-3731.

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