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History of indian river golf club

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The Indian River Golf Club has a long and fascinating history. 

In 1921, a few members of the Columbus Beach Club, a local cottage community founded in 1886, formed a corporation to build a golf course on nearby property. Construction of the original nine-hole golf course, then named Burt Lake Golf club, was completed in 1923 and opened for play. Because Chippewa Beach Road did not exist as we know it today, the original clubhouse and 1st tee were located near the current 2nd tee.

The 1923 “village layout” was short and narrow and had no bunkers. In 1924, golf architect and world-class golfer Wilfrid Reid was brought in to convert the “village layout” into a Golden Age golf course. Bunkers were added, including a grass-island bunker on the 5th hole (now the 3rd hole) and a beautiful artesian-fed pond below the 9th tee (now the 1st tee). Reid also added a second green to the 9th hole to enhance the golfing experience of people playing eighteen holes on a nine-hole course.

In 1957, the clubhouse was relocated to its present location on Chippewa Beach Road, and the course rerouted so the 1st and 9th holes play as they do today. In 1960, three new holes were built (now holes 2, 8, and 16) which significantly increased the course’s level of difficulty. The course was again rerouted. This routing remained in place until 1986 when the course was expanded to eighteen holes, thanks to the gift of 66 acres by Herbert Link who was developing a planned community to the east of the course, Lake Marina Link Estates.

Just as the golf course has undergone tremendous changes over the years, so has the clubhouse. In 1995, the old clubhouse was torn down and the current award-winning clubhouse was built. In addition to other clubhouse improvements, a wooden deck was added, and then in 2022, the old deck was replaced by a larger, no-maintenance deck.

Course improvements continued as well. In 1997, a pond was added to the 3rd hole. In 2000, a full-length driving range was constructed. In 2012, holes 4 and 17 were renovated. The club is now rebuilding the heart of the irrigation system, the pump house, which was originally constructed in 1958, to ensure the proper irrigation of all eighteen holes for the next quarter century.

Over the years, the club has struggled in hard times and prospered in good times. Without the generosity and hard work of members throughout the years, we would not be able to brag about our course being theĀ "Best Kept Secret of the North." We are truly proud of our championship course.


As part of our Centennial Celebration in 2023, a member has written a detailed history of the course, The First One Hundred Years.