Downers Grove Golf Club has an amazing history. A 9-hole course was built here in 1892 by legendary architect Charles Blair MacDonald, then called the Chicago Golf Club. The next year, they added another 9 holes and it became America’s very first 18-hole golf course. This club was one of the five founding golf clubs of the USGA. In 1899 the name was changed to Belmont Golf Club, and it subsequently had several other names. Interestingly, the club is changing its name back to Belmont Golf Club in 2023.
A lot has changed in the 130+ years since the club was founded. Though it's now a 9-hole course, the property claims that 6 of the holes still have the original design, calling them the "Original Six.” These are holes 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, and 9. The course puts up a stiff resistance, with water nominally in play on 7 of the 9 holes, including a sneaky winding creek on 1, 2, and 3.
The club has a full driving range and practice facility to help you get warmed up for the 9 hole examination you'll face. Multiple practice greens offer putting and short game practice. In fact there's a full golf academy here for kids and adults.
Hot dogs and sandwiches are available in the clubhouse restaurant, but there's not a full food menu. The pro shop has an adequate amount of merch, but the real highlight is the great historic memorabilia on the walls, which you can see in the photos below. There’s a photo of the original clubhouse from 1900 and some documentation from the founding of the club.