Ravisloe Country Club, and the village of Homewood, Illinois in which it lies, have a lot in common. While
moving into the 21st century with grace & purpose, they still gladly celebrate their historic past(s) with great
pride & respect. Both possess a timeless beauty in their architecture, both are constantly seeking to improve
upon themselves, both have faced challenges “head on” & came out on top, both are professionally run with
great leadership, both work hard to maintain their upscale amenities & services, both respect their citizens
and/or guests, both have built a friendly environment for us all to enjoy, both are award winners on many levels, and both have a bright and promising future.
Homewood, IL – A Little History
The land in and around present day Homewood Illinois was once home to a large variety of native Indian tribes – including the Blackhawk, the Shabonna, the Illini, the Chippewa, and the ever-present Pottawatomi. After the Blackhawk wars of (1832), European settlers were attracted to this fertile land – and, in approx. (1835) a Mr. James Hart, and his family, were the 1st to put down stakes – naming this land “Hartford.”
As the frontier town of Chicago, to the north, grew, these southern farm areas became vital for feeding the growing population, growing hay for the stockyards, and producing brick – (from the abundant clay in the area)- for homes & buildings. And as rail transportation became more accessible – (in the 1850’s)- more people moved to the area, setting up shops to supply the rail workers & bosses who came to “town.” This being the last stop south on the rail line, these shops, restaurants, and lodging houses were often the sole source of food & social activity for many – and they began to refer to the area as “Homewood on the Hill” – additionally a local farmer with property very near the tracks – (and the land that Ravisloe CC would eventually be built upon)- named his farm “Home-In-The-Woods” – until finally, in 1884, the town officially changed its name to Homewood!
As the Illinois central line expanded (and profits were to be found) – more local businessmen found time for recreation; and, as the game of golf was beginning to hit our shores, the 1st course in the area was built (in 1891) and was named Homewood CC (now Flossmoor CC) – and golf became so popular in the area that in the next (10) years, six more courses were built – including Ravisloe CC. The popularity grew so fast in fact that a “special” train for golfers was started, and a larger stop was built with a crosswalk and tunnel to ensure the safety of those coming to play!
The village of Homewood Incorporated (with a population of approx. 300) in 1893 & immediately grew in all directions – with many of these first “summer cottages” and early “mansions” – that still survive to this day.
The Current Village of Homewood, IL
Located just (25) miles south of Chicago’s “Loop,” the village of Homewood became an established bedroom community for its much larger neighbor – and today is an award winning – (national gold medal award for its parks) – (voted best overall town by Chicago Magazine) – (voted best downtown by the Chicago Tribune) – (named as one of the top “most livable” suburbs in the Midwest – by Forbes Magazine) – and is home to approx. 20,000.
With its tree-lined streets and brick paved sidewalks in the downtown area – (which is also home to the largest collection of beautiful & creative outdoor Richard Haas murals in the world); and its many businesses, beautiful homes, and great restaurants; its highly thought of schools, and (60+) fairs, festivals, & special events held annually – Homewood truly has it all – way more than I can cover! For more info, go to www.homesweethomewood.com - or call (708)798-3000. (Or) just go check it out!
Ravisloe CC – From The Beginning
In Early (1901), a group of men including the “Johnny Appleseed” of golf architects (Mr. Tom Bendelow) – (who was credited with helping to build/design over (600) golf courses worldwide) came together with the intention of starting a golf course in the village of Homewood, IL. Some farmland nearby seemed perfect for this purpose – and was owned by a gentleman farmer named Ravisloot. But the details for the purchase of this land proved too difficult and the group looked for another site. During this search, this Dutch farmer’s assistance proved quite valuable & (in his honor) – the property later found – (the current land on which Ravisloe CC now rests) – and built upon – was named Ravisloe.
The course was originally laid out by a group – including the famous Foulis brothers (who were local golf professionals) -and- grew over a period of (10) years from a few holes to the now (18) you will find at RCC. In (1913), the course was to be tested, as it became the home to a famous match between Harry Vardon & Ted Ray (Englishmen who were regarded as the best of the day) – (and who were to play the next month in perhaps the most famous US Open of all time at Brookline CC, which was incredulously won by Francis Quimet) -VS- the leading amateur team of Warren Wood & Chick Evans. What a sight that must have been, as the match drew thousands to this rural course. Praise was heaped upon the course & grounds (including the beautiful Spanish style clubhouse, the cottages on the property, etc.) -and- a “final phase” was decided at that point to bring in the most famous golf course architect of all – Mr. Donald Ross – to firmly establish RCC as one of the best courses in America – (and) with only minor adjustments over the years, this is the course you will find today at Ravisloe CC.
Through the years, many “major” events & qualifiers have been held at RCC & some of the world’s best golfers have come to play here – including the incomparable Byron Nelson. At the time, Ravisloe boasted some of the finest amenities to be found at any club – including a beautiful swimming pool, tennis courts, and the already mentioned “cottages” where members, their families, and guests would spend weekends or entire summers at the club – dining on some of the finest offerings to be found in the Midwest.
Several of the best golf professional instructors have also passed through RCC – including US Open champion Lawrence Auchterlouie (and) in the 1960’s & 70’s, a man who taught “life lessons,” as well as, the game of golf to many junior golfers in our region, (and) who was one of the finest men I ever met – Mr. Herb Meinert.
Ravisloe CC Today
A private country club for over (100) years, Ravisloe CC today is open to the public, and doing great – thanks to Dr. Claude Gendreau – who in (2009) purchased Ravisloe – (probably saving it from developers) – and has continued to maintain this (160+ acre) course -and- (40,000 sq ft) Spanish style clubhouse to the highest level. Dr. Gendreau – a highly respected veterinary surgical specialist – and owner of several such clinics – is a man who encourages players to walk the course – stressing health over cart revenue & who has implemented healthy food options to the menu at the club for the same healthful reasons.
The course is still “Donald Ross” all the way – (you will know what I mean when you play it! And is currently ranked as the #6 public course in Illinois. The clubhouse is as beautiful & inviting as ever – with full men’s & ladies locker rooms & bag storage available; has wonderful rooms & outdoor areas perfect for outings, weddings, & banquets; the course drains very well, has marshals to ensure pace of play, a real nice driving range and practice area; the golf shop is fully stocked, and professionally run by PGA professional Mike Hainline – (one of the finest teaching professionals in our area) – and his staff, including my new friend Archie! The Men’s Club & Couples League are very active, the course is home to the Homewood-Flossmoor boys and girls HS golf teams, as well as, Robert Morris University; the beverage cart follows you everywhere you go! And the inside/outside bar & grill is a great place to watch golf & relax; the fee structure is excellent & includes senior & junior rates – and most of all – the condition of the course measuring from 5,200 – 6,300 yards & playing to a par of 70 is outstanding – thanks to Superintendent Alan Hoogstraat, his asst James, mechanic Greg & his entire staff.
From the Spanish style Metra stop – to the ivy covered fenceline along the course – to the “walkable” streets with their unique shops & restaurants in downtown – Ravisloe CC & Homewood, Illinois are “a perfect match” – you will truly enjoy both – go see for yourself! Ravisloe CC is located just west of downtown Homewood, IL. The address is 18231 Park Avenue, Homewood, IL 60430 & the phone # is (708)798-5600 – www.ravisloecountryclub.com - easy to find – but very hard to forget!
Some June Tour Highlights: Ladies first – Stacy Lewis becomes the #1 player in the world in late May -and- wins twice! In June – incredible player! Inbee Park (the former #1) fights back with a win of her own. Nicole Vandermade wins the Four Winds Invitational in nearby South Bend Indiana. (And) Michele Wie (24) captures her 1st major at the Women’s US Open. *Note: Lucy Li – the (11) yr old who also played in the open – fired (78-78) in her (2) rounds – Yes, (11) years old!! The LPGA Tour (and especially the US Women’s players on the tour) are both having a great 2014.
The Champions Tour saw victories by Tom Pernice Jr. Tom Lehman (at the Encompass Championship in Glenview, IL). Fred Funk & Jeff Sluman – who teamed up to win the Big Cedar Lodge Open – which also saw Jim Colbert & good friend Jim Thorpe win the “super” senior division. And the third major of the year (the Seniors Players Championship) was won by the “all-world” Bernhard Langer.
The European Tour’s Irish Open was won by 1st timer Mikko Ilonen & the BMW Invitational crowned the first ever Paraguayan – (Fabirizio Panotti) – to win on the world stage.
The Web.com Tour witnessed some history at the Cleveland Open, as Steven Alker converted his win – by surviving an (11) hole playoff – the longest playoff victory ever – on any tour!
(And) the US PGA Tour winners for June were – Hideki Matsuyama (22) from Japan – who won at Jack’s Memorial Tourney. Ben Crane wins at Memphis – his 1st victory in (3) years. Kevin Streelman from Winfield Illinois wins the Travelers - birdieing the last (7) holes to win by one! Tiger makes his return at the Quicken Loans Invitational – definitely rusty, misses the cut, but gave that charitable event a real shot in the arm. (And) Martin Kaymer (28) follows up his Players Championship victory in May by winning the 114th US Open Championship – held at the Donald Ross designed Pinehurst #2 course in Pinehurst, NC – the first German to win our Open – and his wire-to-wire (8) stroke victory was a thing of beauty! Note: From the “what’s it worth” department – Kaymer (who has no company(s) logo on his bag) – was estimated to have earned up to $1,000,000 from sponsors – if he indeed had displayed (some/any) companies logo there – on Sunday alone! Seriously?!...For a few dozen balls, a lot of us would be happy to tattoo “Pepe’s Restaurant” on our forehead!
Locally: The Gary Amateur was held recently at historic South Gleason Park GC in Gary, Indiana – and crowned a new (young) champion in Matt Meneghetti – a recent Lake Central HS grad & stand-out HS player who just returned from the boys HS tourney here he finished (19th) individually & was named to the All-State Team! Nice going Matt! The senior division was a hard fought – (and well deserved – after (15) tries!) – victory for our friend Chuck Crawford who nudged out our other buddy Frank “the Katman” Katsinis (and) the super senior victor was Marv Seldy – while the women’s crown went to Donna Howell – congrats to all – great event!
Speaking of historic events – the upcoming Lake-Porter Golf Classic (founded in 1931) will be played Sat & Sun - July 26th & 27th at Palmira GC in St. John, IN – there are (4) flights – including senior, super-senior, and a women’s division – still time to sign up – go to www.palmiragolf.com for info.
(And) the Pepsi-Illiana Challenge Series travels to Aberdeen, Glenwoodie, & Pheasant Valley this month – if you would like to compete in this weekly event. Call Scherwood GC for info – (219)759-5870 to sign up.
The Highland Athletic Department Golf Outing is being held Monday, July 14th at Scherwood GC – contact Ken Bye at (219)922-5611 for info -and- speaking of Scherwood GC – they are also holding a new “FootGolf” event – yes “FootGolf” – unfortunately I know a few guys who have always considered their foot a 15th club! – But this is different – call (219)865-2554 to get fitted!
The good people at Hunley’s Tavern & Restaurant in Cedar Lake are helping sponsor a golf outing (Sat July 19th) at South Shore CC in Cedar Lake, IN – to help the boys & girls softball programs in the area. Call (219)374-6070 for details.
Briar Ridge CC is hosting the 28th annual golf outing to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana – Monday, July 28th – call (219)881-1060 ex. 418 for all the info.
The annual Travis Freeman Memorial Golf Outing will be held at South Gleason Park in Gary Indiana Saturday, July 19th – always a good time – honoring a fine person – call (219)980-1089 for details.
Lansing CC in Lansing, IL is holding their “Champagne Tony” Senior Classic Wed & Thurs July 9th & 10th – call (708)474-9102 to sign up (and) remember LCC is open to the public every Monday for only $20 – after 11:00AM – give it a try.
Wicker Park GC in Highland, Indiana is bringing back “Night Golf” – July 10th, 11th, & 12th – tee times start at 8:30PM – fills up fast – call (219)838-9809 – come on, try it! (14) hours of daylight golf is never enough! (And) Wicker is also hosting the annual American Legion Post 66 Golf Outing on Sat July 26th – great cause – lots of fun. Call the course for info. (And) the Men’s Monday Morning Senior Scramble at Wicker is open to new players - 8:30AM start – good people – good donuts!
Youche CC in Crown Point, Indiana is host for the 9th annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Golf Outing Thursday, August 7th – thank you Carstar (and others) for supporting this fine cause – call Charlotte at (219)663-0989 – if you can help in any way…(And) the Crossroads YMCA Golf Outing will also be played at Youche – Monday, August 11th – all proceeds will go towards youth programs throughout our area – call Carl or Ray at (219)750-1082 for details.
And, one more – the 18th annual 59er Golf Classic will be held at the outstanding Innsbrook CC in Merrillville, Indiana – monies raised help benefit the Andrean Scholarship Foundation – call (219)743-1772 for info – always a great time.
Happy 4th of July & More: Long days, warm weather, and lots to do here in the region – call your local Chamber for all the great festivals, events, etc & enjoy the summer – we will miss it in January! Play golf & afterwards, here are a few to check out: The City of Whiting, Indiana is holding a summer-long celebration honoring its founding (125) years ago – call (219) 659-7700 for the incredible list of events The Festival of the Lakes is returning to the Wolf Lake Pavilion in Hammond, IN July 16th – 20th – great family fun – www.festivalofthelakes.com will get you all the info. And the Fair Oaks Farms Complex in Newton County (straight down on I-65) is holding the “South Shore Air Show” & more! July 10th – 13th – check out the car show, fireworks (thanks Krazy Kaplan), the US Air Force Thunderbirds & much, much, more – free admission – www.southshoreairshow.com - for details.
Non-golf – but a great cause – a benefit will be held August 2nd (Saturday) at the St. Bosco Church hall for “Miracle Mike” Elliott, who could us a little help with medical costs, etc. (the event runs 4-8PM at 171st & Columbia Ave. in Hammond, IN) and info is available by calling Nola Lawrence at (219)218-7292. Great food & better cause.
Special thanks this month: To Michael, Archie, Alan, and all the staff at Ravisloe CC – to Mayor Richard A. Hofeld, Allisa & Jan at the Village Hall in Homewood; to Jim, Dixie, Karen, Tom, & Dick at the Homewood Historical Society, to Lisa at the Homewood Library, to Mike Modrzejewski for his great work & to my lovely wife Mary for everything (&) REMEMBER to get those Hall of Fame votes in!
And now a July Contest! – To Win, all you have to do is call (219)947-4314 on Saturday, July 20th – anytime between noon and 6:00PM & answer the following question: What great golf architect is responsible for the work at Pinehurst #2 in Pinehurst NC & Ravisloe CC in Homewood, IL? The 10th, 20th, 30th callers, etc. – (until all prizes are gone) – will win prizes, including (mostly) (2) free rounds of golf (incl. cart) to many of our areas finest golf courses!! Including, but not limited to: Sandy Pines, Turkey Creek, Wicker Park, Ravisloe, all the Hegan owned courses, Palmira, and Lincoln Oaks: When you call – just leave your 1st name & a phone # (and) you will be contacted the following week if you won & all winners names will be published in the August edition of Golf Plus. Good luck & thank you to all the participating facilities.
As Always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: email@example.com or leave me a voicemail at (219)947-4314, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
Lastly: From a plaque at Ravisloe CC – Epitaph for a golfer – “Here he lies where he longed to be – lies in death by the nineteenth tee – where he lied all through his life! See ya next month.