A golf course with a surprising pedigree.

What you see above is the green of Hole No. 15 today. But in 1914, it was the just-completed
Hole No. 4 of the Lakeside Golf Club, a golf course soon acquired by the expanding Chikaming Country Club.
Carved out of an old growth forest and the cornfields running through it, this was the dream of a

would-be golfer and enthusiastic local businessman who had begun plugging tin cans in the ground where he
hoped a golf course eventually could rise. But it would take both good fortune and a legendary
greenskeeper to then create the golf course with the enduring appeal Chikaming continues to have to this day.

Harry Collis.

By 1913, Harry Collis had already gained a reputation as one of the
most respected groundskeepers in the United States and was
rapidly becoming known as a course architect as well. Born in England,
Collis moved to Chicago in 1905 to become the golf professional
at Flossmoor Country Club. He soon took over full-time greenskeeping
responsibilities as well, with the resulting renovation of the club
securing many of the leading tournaments of the day. Sometime in the
fall of 1913, Collis was approached by Herbert Taylor, a member
of both Flossmoor and Chikaming Country Club about the possibility of
designing a new golf course in nearby Michigan to be called
the Lakeside Golf Club. Collis agreed, and construction soon began.

The course is built and becomes a “parkland”.

The only graphic evidence we have of the original Collis design is
his hand-drawn diagram of the first nine holes with
the inscription “Lakeside Golf Club”. Like Flossmoor, Collis would
have described such a layout as “parkland”. Characterized
by rolling hills and narrow grassy fairways lined strategically with
trees, the term “parkland” had gotten its name because of
the resemblance to English parks. Though it would be many years
before the course would mature into Collis’ vision, the
work proceeded rapidly. In the fall of 1914, the Lakeside Golf Club
was officially opened. Eventually, the original clubhouse 
was replaced by a new structure called Shakespeare House in 1925.

Ravages of the first 75 years.

By 1925, Chikaming Country Club was prospering. It had acquired
Lakeside Golf Club in 1919 and work was soon underway on
a second nine holes. Shakespeare House was erected as a charming
adjunct to the expanding clubhouse on the lake. But after
that, with few exceptions, little on the golf course would change
for decades. Bermuda shorts would eventually replace plus
 fours as attire for golfers, but those golfers were now watching as
the course declined. Quirky alterations had been made to a
few holes. Dutch Elm disease had taken its toll in the 50s and 60s.
Inadequate drainage and irrigation had made fairways hard
as a rock by August. By 1990, it was decided changes were needed.

A master plan and nine masterful new holes.

Signs of the first “master plan” since Harry Collis began emerging
in late 1991. Over the next two decades, the golf course
was almost completely transformed. The character of the original
course was maintained, but the changes were breathtaking.
Nine holes were completely redesigned or renovated. Dozens of
trees, bunkers and native areas were added. New holes were
routed through adjoining wooded areas. The first short game and
true practice area was opened. Modern drainage replaced
ancient clay tile. Finally, an enlarged reservoir and new irrigation
system guaranteed season-long playability. After a century,
the golf course had attained a new stature worthy of Mr. Collis.