“Beyond the Missouri Sky” is one of Pat Metheny’s greatest albums which is a collaboration with bassist Charlie Hayden. The duets on the album epitomise their shared Missouri lineage and Old Warson Country Club is another classic Midwest creation.
Old Warson Country Club opened for play in 1954 and it’s one of Missouri’s finest layouts. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., this undulating, tree-lined layout is certainly one of RTJ’s classics and the club was thrust on the world golfing stage when it hosted the 1971 Ryder Cup which saw Team USA beat the Great Britain squad 18½ points to 13½.
The short par four 14th is one of the most lauded holes in golf where the carry from the elevated back tee is more than 200 yards across a big lake to a landing area that looks narrower than Twiggy’s waist. Water down the left side of the fairway and bunkers flanking both sides of the fairway place fear in the bravest hearts. If your tee shot remains above ground, your approach shot must avoid three bunkers before finding relative sanctuary on the long, sloping and narrow green.
Old Warson hosted the 1999 Mid-Amateur Championship, which was won by Danny Green and the club hosted the U.S. Women’s Amateur for the third time in 2009.
Venue for the 1971 Ryder Cup, I considered Old Warson Country Club the most impressive course in the St. Louis region. While the layout doesn’t have the exciting changes in topology as nearby St Louis Country Club, I found myself thinking a lot more about club selection. It has a championship feel to it and I definitely used every club in the bag. This is also a litmus test for me. I played from 6,800 yards and felt challenged with every swing.
I recently played Point O’Woods up in Michigan which is another RTJ Senior golf course from the same time period as OWCC, and drew a lot of similarities between the two courses. It’s plain and simple, RTJ built really tough golf courses and will tap into your entire skill-set. Just ask Arnold Palmer, he lost a singles match 3&2 to a rookie called Peter Oosterhuis. Tree lined fairways, tricky dog-legs in both directions and tough pin positions will run rampant with your imagination until the cows come home. It’s a great marriage of architecture and history.