Flossmoor Country Club started out as Homewood Country Club in 1899 and the original course was designed by Herbert James Tweedie, an Indian-born architect who was raised in Liverpool before marrying then emigrating to America in 1886. Doctor H.W. Gentles and club professional Jack Pearson are said to have assisted Tweedie with laying out the course.
Harry Collis, former professional at Blackheath in London, worked at the club from 1905 to 1929 and he upgraded the course during his tenure, starting in 1914 when a clubhouse fire resulted in the relocation of the building to a more central part of the property.
He 1915 he created the short par three 7th hole and a new finishing hole that combined the old par three 14th and par four 15th holes into what is now the uphill par five 18th hole. He also remodelled the 14th into a short par four that rewards placement over length. Collis also added the signature Flossmoor bunker to the 16th hole, which was previously unprotected.
Collis shortened the 5th hole from a par five to a par four and moved the tee on the 6th back a hundred yards to create a slight dogleg right. His work is also evident in Flossmoor’s green complexes. Many, like the 11th and 12th, take full advantage of natural slopes, and others like the 4th, 6th and 14th have slopes which flow off mounding built into the green surrounds.
Tree encroachment, green shrinkage and bunkers were all issues to be dealt with by the club going in to the new millennium so Ray Hearn was engaged in 2006 to develop a long-term master plan. Within two years, he had created a new par three at the 13th to replace the old, weaker hole and located a new green close to the pond on the long par four 8th. A program of green expansion was also undertaken on several other holes.
Another well-received modification was made to the 319-yard 4th, when the blind drive on this hole was eliminated by bulldozing the hill at the landing area to open up a sweeping view of the fairway. Removal of some old trees and significant widening of the fairway on the right, along with the installation of fairway bunkers, resulted is a fine short par four with genuine strategic merit.
Of historical importance, it should be noted that the course hosted the 1910 Women’s Amateur, the 1920 PGA Championship and the 1923 US Amateur.
I just joined the club after careful review of several top clubs in the area last summer and fall. This course is a hidden gem. It is overshadowed by Olympia Fields down the street, but this course is maintained just as well. It also presents some unique challenges like lightening quick greens, and huge bunkers.