A prime farm location was chosen for the current site of Bellerive Country Club. Called The Green Monster of Ladue its doors opened on Memorial Day, 1960.
“Golf is good for the soul. You’ll get so mad at yourself you’ll forget to hate your enemies.”
“This is a game of misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win.”
Meet Me In St. Louis
So many courses and so little time. Before we talk golf, let’s dig a little deeper into the good ‘
St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French fur traders, before later being picked up by Thomas Jefferson in a fire sale by Napoleon to fund his military. We only wanted New Orleans, due to its port and the fact they threw some epic parties, but they made us take Missouri and a few other states so they wouldn’t feel bad. Looking back now, it was a sweet deal. If we had passed, the French would have Bud Light, Ginger Rogers, ice cream cones, and the Gateway Arch, and we’d be left with a gaping hole in the middle of the United States and sticky hands. In the end, the suitcase full of cash we ponied up to the French guys didn’t solve Napoleon’s problems, but it sure made Fred Astaire, the peeps in the Midwest, and Dairy Queen happy
I love history, don’t you? Now you have something to talk about besides sports. This will make you appear very smart. You’re welcome.
Now, on with the show.
Robert Trent Jones, Sr., an acclaimed golf architect who built or rebuilt over 400 golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide, including Spyglass Hill, The Dunes, Point O’ Woods, and Hazeltine National (host of multiple US Opens and the PGA) among many other well-known American courses, was enlisted to imagine the possibilities.
Hundreds of hours of research go into designing a championship quality course. Jones, Sr., was a master at utilizing the natural features of the surrounding terrain to create a course that’s both a challenge for the pro but doesn’t punish the amateur player so much that he just gives up in frustration. In a 1938 brochure for his design firm he said, “The differences between a poor and good course are obvious, but the difference between a good and an outstanding one are subtle.”
A prime farm location was chosen by Jones, Sr., for the current site of Bellerive Country Club’s Green Monster of Ladue, and its doors opened on Memorial Day, 1960. By 1965, the US Open came calling and Bellerive became the “youngest” course to ever become a host. Gary Player won the event and completed a career grand slam by defeating Kel Nagle in a playoff after the two had tied at two-over-par.
In 1981, St. Louis native Jim Holtgrieve won the inaugural Mid-Amateur Championship at the Bellerive, and again in 1992. PGA Champion Nick Price captured his first major here.
Since then, the Bellerive has continued to compile quite a list of golfing accolades.
A Renovation in 2006
Led by Rees Jones, son of original architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., led to some noticeable changes, which include “The tree removal and lake construction on No. 2, making the hole one of two potentially drivable par 4s (with the changes to No. 11), the straightened 618-yard, par 5, 8th hole, and the picturesque 482-yard, par 4, 12th hole.”
The Bellerive reopened in October 2006, and a scant two years later hosted the BMW Championship, as part of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Once again, in spring of 2013, the PGA of America made a stop at the Bellerive and gave them the honor of hosting the 74th Senior PGA Championship. This sealed their golf legacy by making Bellerive only “The third club in history to host all four men’s Major Championships (US Open, PGA Championship, US Senior Open, and Senior PGA Championship).”
In 2013, Rees Jones returned for additional modifications to the course. Modifications included “A complete reconstruction of the bunkers and the installation of a unique championship bunker sand. Turf lines throughout the course were also modified. These changes predominately were around bunkers, creek edges, and at all putting surface complexes. The modified design increased the aesthetics and introduced new playing challenges coupled with enhanced vistas and sightlines. Bellerive’s progressive modifications have added to its historic legacy and national championship appeal.” -reesjonesinc.com
In 2018, Bellerive was again chosen to be honored by hosting the 100th PGA Championship and it was noted, “The best of St. Louis was on display as the best golfers in the world came to Bellerive to contend for the Wanamaker Trophy and ‘Glory’s Last Shot.’”
Ratings and Reviews
Keif Hampton gave it 5 stars and said: “Bellerive put on an event for the ages. If someone could find something to complain about, they’d have to tell me ’cause I sure couldn’t!! Beautiful course and grounds and the layout couldn’t be better for the fan experience. Cheers to Bellerive and the PGA!”
Southpaw Last Shadow gives it 5 stars and commented: “Fantastic golf course. Been there every day this week for the PGA Championship, and experienced a place that can put on an event that’s one to remember. Everybody was extremely nice and helpful at all times. I would recommend anyone to think about attending an event at this facility. You’ll be amazed at the beauty and satisfied with the service. Remember to take care of those that service your needs while there. They work hard and take pride in every second of your visit.”
golfdigest.com ranked Bellerive No. 2 in The Best Golf Courses in Missouri.
golfadvisor.com gives it a 5 out of 5 stars.
Google reviews gives it a 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Hope you enjoyed our little tour. Bellerive is a private club, but if you are lucky enough to be invited by a member, follow the link to review policies and important facts you should know: Bellerive Guest Policies.
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