Oldest Public Golf Course West of the Mississippi River | Normandie Golf Club Bel Nor, Mo.
Built in 1901, historic Normandie Golf Club is the oldest Public golf course still in operation in its original location, West of the Mississippi River.In 1903, a clubhouse was constructed and the name shortened to Normandie Golf Club. The course was laid out on 120 acres of land leased from the J.B.C. Lucas estate. Eleven holes were on the west, and seven on the east of Lucas Lane. The east side of Lucas Lane is now Incarnate Word Academy and the City of Greendale. The dues were raised from $30 per year to $60 per year to pay for the clubhouse.
Normandie has a “Who’s Who” guest list of greats that have teed it up on the old course: many baseball Cardinal legends like Dizzy Dean, The Gashouse Gang, Pepper Martin and Rogers (Raja) Hornsby played Normandie and built homes in Bel-Nor. Babe Ruth loved to play at Normandie when in town. Mildrid (Babe) Didrikson sharpened her game before mastering it and helped establish the LPGA; George Zaharais was said to have proposed marriage to her at Normandie in the late 30’s. During the ’30’s and ’40’s many of the St. Louis Cardinal ball players played at the club, along with their guests from visiting clubs.
After World War II, membership increased substantially until 1973, when it totaled 408. These years were some of the best Normandie had since the early years. The clubhouse was upgraded, new tees and greens were rebuilt, trees planted and general improvements were made. In 1984, Normandie was converted into a public course. The clubhouse was demolished in 1985.
Jim Furyk played in his first professional tournament (Lou Fusz Open) acing #16 and Jeff Maggert won there in 1988.
Of recent note, Facing a possible closure after failing to reach a lease arrangement with the University of Missouri, the club will soon have a new look with a major Investor. In 2021 Normandie Golf Course is set to undergo a major renovation project with one of the greatest golfers in history leading the way. Jack Nicklaus and his design firm have agreed to join the effort to revamp the course in north St. Louis County. Nicklaus himself will lead the design effort and help fundraising efforts to buy the property from the University of Missouri St. Louis.