Chikaming Country Club at 100

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Jane Addams founded Hull House, was a crusader for the poor and women’s suffrage and world peace, and won the Nobel Peace Prize. But more importantly, could she stiff it dead to the pin from 100 yards with a niblick?

Sadly, Addams's handicap is not revealed in the recent book 100 Years. 100 Stories. A Centennial History of Chikaming Country Club. It's not even clear if she played golf. But she was one of the club's original members.

The club is in Lakeside, Michigan, where Addams owned property and spent the summer months, along with a number of other prominent Chicagoans. Other notable visitors and/or members included Chicago Bears founder and coach George Halas, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Luis Alvarez, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and Oriental Institute founder James Henry Breasted.

Carl Sandburg was another. He had a home in nearby Herbert. Sandburg was a Pulitzer-winning poet at the time, but "for those who knew him at the club, he was simply someone who played golf, gave occasional readings of his poetry, and showed up at social events from time to time." I like to think that Sandburg may have flung magnetic curses when he missed a two-foot putt for par.

Chicago mayor Anton Cermak frequented the Lakeside Inn, "often accompanied by governors, state legislators, and various local officials." It's not apparent if his stays overlapped with those of Al Capone, who had a hideout in nearby Berrien Springs and "was often seen carousing and gambling at the inn." At least Capone did play golf: he was "reported to play poorly, but seldom lose."

This was the era of Prohibition, but the club did have "nurses" on the course to provide whatever "medicine" the players required.

Coincidentally, George E.Q. Johnson, the U.S. attorney who eventually put Capone behind bars (no pun intended) on tax-evasion charges, was a club member at the same time.

All the stories in the book were written by club members current and past. Taken as a whole, it's an interesting history of the club, the area, and the glories of the game of golf.

Now here's a real greenskeeper:

Greenskeeper Harry Collis

Harry Collis designed the Chikaming layout.

A dapper young couple in front of the clubhouse, itself a replica of Shakespeare's boyhood home:

A view of the lovely 16th hole:

(Not Chikaming related, but here's a certain Reader senior writer attempting to get out of the rough at Robert A. Black golf course after he foozled his tee shot.)

Steve_in_the_rough.jpg

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