Born on the eve of Independence Day of 1893, Riverside Golf Club is one of America's oldest golf clubs and is rich in history and tradition. On July 3rd 1893, Mr. William A Havemeyer, a resident of Riverside (and relative of the first U.S.G.A. President), brought together twenty-two Riverside citizens and formed the Riverside Golf Club.
The Club quickly made an impact, with RGC board member A. P. Bowen, introduced and suggested starting an association that would represent golf’s ambitions in the western part of the US in 1899. Soon thereafter, the U.S. Western Golf Association was formed with RGC as one of the founding member clubs. As a founding member of the WGA, RGC also supported the birth of the Evans Scholars Foundation and has awarded 121 Chick Evans Scholarships since its inception. As a stalwart member of the Chicago golf community, RGC has played host to many significant golf events in its 127 years and looks forward to adding the 2020 US Open Senior Qualifier to the below list.
- 1928 U.S. Open Qualifying
- 1932 Chicago Women's District Golf Association Championship
- 1940 C.D.G.A. Amateur
- 1950 U.S. Amateur Qualifying
- 1958 U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifying
- 1960 U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifying
- 1967 U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifying
- 1968 Illinois Open
- 1975 Illinois PGA Championship
- Illinois PGA Championship 1975
- USGA Senior Open Qualifier 2001
- USGA Mid Am Qualifier 2003
- 2007 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying
- 2008 C.D.G.A. Amateur Championship
- 2013 U.S. Senior Open Qualifier
- 2015 Western Junior
- 2018 Illinois Senior Amateur
- 2021 U.S. Senior Open Qualifier
While playing a role in the competitive landscape of golf, the club was also the basis for the Mac Divot comic strip that was published in the 1960s and 1970s. Mac Divot was created by a member who worked for the Chicago Tribune. Many of the stories in the comic strip were based on real life characters and happenings at RGC.
The golf course straddles the banks of the Des Plaines River between Cermak Road and 26th Street. Though the course has changed and expanded over the years it is still located on substantially the same plot of land. In the late teens the club purchased additional land adjacent to its original property, on the opposite side (east) of the Des Plaines River. The club built a new clubhouse on the river bank of the newly acquired land. In 1917-1919 William Langford designed a new 18 hole course, reshaping Riverside as one of the top courses in the area.
During the 1980’s the club secured an additional 25 acres of Cook County Forest Preserve land east of the Des Plaines River. Four new holes were added on this newly acquired tract which were designed by Dick Nugent and Associates. After these holes were completed 3 holes east of the clubhouse were removed and replaced by a practice facility and new 18th hole. The practice area and 18th hole were designed by Bob Lohmann. The course remained relatively unchanged during the 1990s through 2015.
In 2015 Chicago based architect David Esler oversaw a renovation of the golf course. All bunkers were returned to the original Langford style with grass faces, trees were removed, tee boxes were added, and some greens were expanded.
In 2018, RGC celebrated our Quasquicentennial (125th) anniversary. To mark the occasion, Dr Bill Finn the club historian shared an oral history of the Club and toast in celebrating the past and the opportunity of the next 125 years. We also used the occasion to celebrate our Golf Professional, Karl Bollnow, who started his relationship with RGC as a caddie and advanced to run all golf operations during his nearly 50 year partnership with the club. As Dr. Finn acknowledged and commemorated during our 125th anniversary celebration, we celebrate our history, but cherish the opportunity of the future.