Lu Lu Country Club
|Lu Lu Country Club|
1600 Limekiln Pike
Glenside, PA 19038
Architect: Donald Ross
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A farm bordered by Limekiln Pike and Jenkintown Road was the birthplace of Lu Lu Country Club. George S. Cox owned the farm, and during the first decade of the new century he would invite his fellow Shriners from LuLu Temple, together with their families, to join him there for picnics on weekends. The LuLu Temple Automobile Club also met there for rallies. Dinners featuring roast pig and fried chicken were the high point of these gatherings, which also included horseshoe pitching and baseball games.
Aerial view of Lu Lu Country Club taken in September 1939
One Sunday in the summer of 1907, William H. Ward, who had just returned from a visit to England, showed up at the Cox farm with a golf club under his arm. Few of the picnickers had ever seen one, but in short order a number of them were demanding the chance to take a swipe at a golf ball. That farm’s days of producing corn and tomatoes were numbered.
In 1909, the golfing Shriners rented the farm from George Cox in order to build a nine-hole golf course. No amateur golf architect for them—no, indeed. Nothing would do but that they bring in the best—and best-known—course designer in America, Donald Ross. Ross, who was born in Dornoch, Scotland, and had learned the craft of course design there and at St. Andrews, had established his reputation on the strength of his outstanding layouts at Pinehurst, N.C. Now he was broadening his horizons, and LuLu Temple was among his earliest efforts outside Pinehurst. It was also his first course in Pennsylvania. Over the next 16 years, there would be 16 more Donald Ross courses built in the Keystone State.
A charter was granted by the commonwealth in the name of LuLu Temple Country Club in 1912. The club’s original officers were Charles Martin, president; Harry Dolfinger, vice president; Walter Scholes, treasurer; and William J. Geggis, secretary. In addition to the officers, six governors were named: Charles E. Schwartz, Samuel C. Magarvey, William Holt, William H. Enochs, John E. Fite, and the man who started it all, William H. Ward.
Six years later, the club acquired another parcel of land, on which the present clubhouse is located. Ross was again called in, this time to build an 18-hole course. There were few trees on this expanse of rolling farmland, so he used a number of bunkers, together with cunningly sloping and shaped green surrounds, to challenge the player. As trees were planted and grew to maturity over the years, some of the hazards were revised or removed. But the holes today are essentially those designed by Donald Ross almost exactly 80 years ago, the basic routing plan remains unchanged, and Lu Lu continues to be what it has always been, a course of charm and character and variety, a course that we never weary of playing.
To learn more about Lu Lu’s history, check out the Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine’s profile of the club, which appeared in the Summer 2017 issue.