Since its inception in 1919, there have been over 6,000 members that have come and gone at Inglewood Country Club. The idea for Inglewood began with James G Blake who saw the land at the north end of Lake Washington. He was in the real estate business and an avid golfer. Mr. Blake interested some 400 charter members to become involved, and the project was set at $400.00 per share, payable in $100 increments. In January of 1920, Mr. A.V. Macan of Victoria, B.C. was selected as Golf Course Consultant for the new Inglewood Country Club. He was to coordinate the project with Mr. Robert B. Johnstone, a local golf architect, as necessary. Macan was responsible for the routing and strategic design and Johnstone managed the day to day details. Given this relationship, some feel that even thought the course was laid out by Mr. Macan, but he was not the prime architect.
The land upon which the founders proposed to build the golf course consisted of four parcels, which were purchased at approximately $1,000 per acre. On 27 February 1920 the architect submitted plans for the golf course; the plans were accepted, and it was agreed that only such portions be cleared and plowed as would be necessary for the fairways, green, and tees. The question often arises as to why the course wasn't built closer to the shore of Lake Washington; however, at the time the course was built, the level of the lake was considerably higher and the course was indeed closer to the shores of Lake Washington. On 10 May 1920, the actual work of clearing the golf course began. The construction of the golf course began. The construction of the golf course continued, and on 2 December 1920 the board authorized the purchase of the first major piece of equipment a team of horses, and a wagon and harness, of which the purchase price was not to exceed $250.
As the course of construction continued, the question of a clubhouse came to the front. On 17 February 1921 the stockholders of Inglewood recommended to the Board of Trustees that $125,000 in bonds be issued, and Board of Trustees to do as much towards the construction of a complete country club as the proceeds of the bond sale permit. On 1 June 1921, dues commenced and were $5.00 per month plus war tax.
Early members of Inglewood found that driving to Inglewood in their Packard, Chandler, or Hupmobile was a challenge unto itself. The north city limits were at 55th, and Inglewood was really out in the country. There were railroad tracks where the Burke Gilman trail is now, but there is no mention that anyone took the train to the club. If one left downtown headed for Inglewood, the route was out Eastlake Avenue to the Latona Bridge. The bridge began under the present south end of the University Bridge and ended at Latona Avenue on the other side.
It was a low level bridge built on pilings and wouldn't open inasmuch as the canal was a swamp. It was two lanes with streetcar tracks alongside. The streetcar went to the University District and the tracks terminated at Ravenna Park. From Latona you drove to 10th Boulevard (a macadam road still existing) and followed it past Nathan Hale to Jane Addams, at its end at about 130th. There you picked up the Seattle/Bothell/Everett Highway. This was a two- lane brick road built in 1913-14 and had a "Y" in it at Bothell. The left fork went to Everett past Thrasher's Corner and the right fork went through Woodinville and ended at Hollywood Farm (now the Ste Michelle Winery). In the late 1920's the situation was simplified in that the University Bridge was completed and the Seattle/Everett Highway was extended to meet Roosevelt Way at 75th. The trip probably took at least an hour, and possibly longer, so you had to be serious about wanting to play golf at Inglewood.
Portions of the clubhouse were started in July of 1921, and it was decided that inasmuch as there would be no heat, lights or water, food service would be catered temporarily; on 6 August 1921, Inglewood Country Club was officially opened for play.
Throughout the history of Inglewood until recent times, history indicates that it was always plagued with financial problems which many believe initially started when the temporary clubhouse at Inglewood burned the morning of 23 October 1925 and completely destroyed the clubhouse. The insurance payoff on the building was $12,000; however, the cost to build the present clubhouse was $172,290 which had to be financed by borrowing $125,000 from Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company, with the additional amount being raised from selling bonds with 7% interest, secured by a first mortgage on the home sites, furniture and furnishings, all equipment and a second mortgage, The architects for the new building were Shack, Young and Meyers. Their plans were accepted on 22 January 1926.
This is the present clubhouse as you see it today with the exception of the bar and lounge area, which were added in the 1960's. It's interesting to note that all of the trim is teak and the roof is of a heavy tile, no longer available today. The portisio extension of the ballroom was originally a patio with open sides and was enclosed at a later date. The building has a very large basement area and extensive second floor. The complete new clubhouse was officially opened 10 September 1926.
The cost of joining Inglewood in 1926 was $300 in stock plus a $300 initiation fee. A lifetime membership was increased from $1,000 to $2,000 payable in cash. Unfortunately, the construction of the clubhouse was initially projected to not exceed $80,000, and that is when Inglewood's financial problems first started. Following the annual meeting in October 1926, the Board of Trustees called for an audit of the books as of 30 September. When the audit was completed on 30 September 1926, it showed the club, including furniture and fixtures had indeed cost $172,263.82. There was also $15,000 of unpaid operating expenses representing an accumulation of indebtedness dating back to June of 1926. Creditors were demanding payment of their overdue accounts, and it became a matter of first importance to raise $30,000 at once to pay the creditors and preserve the good name of the club.
Inglewood continued on solid ground unti129 October 1929, the date of the stock market collapse setting off the great depression. This event was to have a tremendous effect on the membership of Inglewood as follows:
- 1929-1930 Membership reduced to 429 members
- 1930-1931 Membership reduced to 291 members
- 1931-1932 Membership reduced to 165 members
- 1932-1933 Membership reduced to 55 members
- 1933-1934 Membership reduced to 48 members
The other golf clubs like Seattle, Broadmoor and Rainier did not have the debt load that Inglewood had, and they were able to survive. In 1933 the condition of the club continued to deteriorate with a continued drop in membership, and the bondholders who had not been paid in years were getting restless. A committee was appointed to develop a ways-and-means of conducting the club for the coming year. The committee reported back to the few remaining members on 27 November 1933 that the situation was hopeless.
March 31,1934 marked the foreclosure and final sale of Inglewood Country Club. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Roy Campbell bought the golf grounds and buildings as well as furniture and equipment. He offered this package to the new corporation at actual cost, which they agreed to. The new organization started with a debt of $208,000.
In 1936, slot machines were introduced to Inglewood. Three machines not owned by the club were placed in the locker room in May 1936. In May of 1937, it became legal for the club to own slot machines and five were purchased for a total cost of $599. These machines were adjusted for an 82% payoff for the players, with 18% going to the club. In the first sixteen days of operation, these five machines netted the club $629. It's obvious that slot machines played an important part in Inglewood's past. The budget in 1938 estimated that slot machines would bring in $6,000 in revenue for the year.
Unfortunately, in 1938 things began to deteriorate again with the decline in membership and financial problems resulting from the club's indebtedness. In addition, Inglewood was unable to renegotiate its mortgage with Pacific Mutual and on 1 February 1940, the Executive Committee of Inglewood arranged to vacate the premises. Inglewood was down but not out, as the property had been acquired from Pacific Mutual Life by Mountain States Power Company. This company was a vehicle owned by Joel P Barron and others, to set up power and water north of Seattle. The plan didn't materialize, and the company was used to speculate in real estate. In any case, the property now belonged to Joel Barron et al, and was leased to the golf club.
Late in 1942, as a result of the Second World War, very few people were playing golf and there was literally no traffic at the golf course. As a result, the clubhouse was rented to the defense workers and Navy men who were working at Lake Washington shipyards in Kirkland. On 5 January 1943 the club and facilities were turned over to the Coast Guard for their use. The golf course was not maintained and only the clubhouse was used. The slot machines were sold.
April 30, 1946 marked the next phase of Inglewood Country Club when the board met at the Arctic Club . A lease with Inglewood, Inc, as lessor and Inglewood Country Club as lessee was signed.
On 1 May 1948, Inglewood hired Porky Oliver as club professional. His credentials consisted of being fourth on the PGA money list in 1946 and a member of the Ryder Cup team In 1949 the club instituted a program to raise its own chickens and hogs for eggs and meat. The pens were located along the 9th fairway and subsequently became a cart barn for private carts and a bird sanctuary for peacocks and other types of feathered creatures. They were removed with the construction of the Inglewood Shores condominium project. Liquor by the drink was granted to the club at an annual meeting in 1949. On 1 February 1950, Charlie Mortimer was hired from Lakeside Golf Club located in Hollywood, CA. He was very popular and had given lessons to many movie personalities, including Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
The year 1950 was pretty much the best of times. There were over 1,200 social members that brought in revenue exceeding $48,000 per year. In addition, the bar and restaurant sales were strong, but the club still lost money. In May of 1960, the golf club signed a new twenty-five year lease. In February 1961, bids were open for a new pro shop that was designed by Arnold Gangnes, Architect.
By 1967, with the lease payments increasing based on land values, it became obvious to the club that something had to be done. Finally after years of discussions, negotiations in 1970 between Jack Barron and Club President, Walter Bagnall, finally resulted in the sale of the Club by the Barron family to the members. A special membership meeting was held on 23 February 1970 and the members voted to purchase the club. The members now had the motivation to maintain the Club to their own standards. But once again the club struggled to service its debt and the 70s were a challenging period.
In 1971 the development of the condominiums along the entrance road was underway and the club and the Barrons were negotiating various easements for roads, etc. To assist in meeting its financial commitments, the membership voted to sell twenty-year 7% debentures in December 1973. The debenture plan was implemented to try to raise enough cash to eliminate the debt to the Barrons of some $500,000 due in 1975. In May of 1974 the membership approved a new classification of membership which would sell for $2,500 a member and would have all the privileges, including voting, but would not have a guaranteed repurchase price that the charter members (Class “C”) had. In June 1974 after two years of fundraising by the Ladies Division, two restrooms were built on the golf course. In July of 1975 a general membership meeting agreed to a formal resurrection of the debenture program and that an amended real estate contract be entered into. On 30 August 1975, twenty-four hours from the due date of Inglewood's payment, the debenture committee reported they had raised the $200,000 needed.
Another era came to an end in 1975 when Ray and Martha Koch resigned. They came to the club in 1954 and became a catalyst that was a major factor in keeping the club together through the sixties and early seventies.
The late 1970's continued to be a financially difficult time for the club. At one point the amended real estate contract was in arrears, taxes were due, and creditors appeared like vultures. The resourcefulness of the members can never be underestimated however. Special assessments were paid, selective trees were harvested and sold and the club was saved. By 1981, the Board of Trustees adopted a new mortgage reduction plan. Each of the 275 members was assessed, which could be paid at the rate of $60 per month over 120 months. They hoped to payoff the mortgage in ten years. No one anticipated the metamorphosis that would occur throughout the 1980's. The aging of the baby boom generation into their forties brought unprecedented demand for tee times and financial freedom for golf clubs generally, including Inglewood. Membership at the club increased each year: 1982 (284); 1983 «304); 1984 (320); 1985 (381). By 1986 the club officially reached full membership at 400, the first time since the depression year of 1930. Each of the new members paid the $60 per month capital assessment applied to the mortgage. Prospects were such that, President Del Driskill appointed a Long Range Planning Committee to review the needs of the club and make recommendations for the future. As a result of the efforts, the ten year mortgage reduction plan of 1981 was fulfilled by January 1989. An appropriate mortgage burning party memorialized the event.
The club operations were managed during this period by Morgan Sorne, who came to us from the Washington Athletic Club in 1976. He was a bookkeeper by vocation and a penny-pincher by avocation. During the late seventies, he operated a bare-bones club with maximum services for minimum prices. The financial rebound of the club in the early 1980's is due in large measure to his stewardship.
The year after Morgan was hired, Rick Adell contracted to become the head golf professional. Rick is great with names and is most appreciated for his service and attention to members' guests as well as to the members themselves. The reputation of Inglewood has been enhanced by many a golfer returning to his or her own golf course with praise for Rick Adell.
With the explosion of golf interest and the PGA Senior Golf Tour, a stop in the Northwest became automatic. Beginning in 1987, the Senior Tour came to Inglewood. Besides bringing to our course public awareness, prestige, and the likes of Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Chi Chi Rodrigues, Bruce Crampton, AI Geiberger, George Archer and others, the tournament brought money. The course was rented each year for one week initially at $47,500 per week and increasing each year. In addition, food and beverages from sponsor parties, volunteer parties, etc, brought an additional $30,000-$50,000 annually. These proceeds were immediately put back into the course in the form of improvements including revisions to the area around 12 green, 15 green, 6 green, tees (2,13,17, and 18), new traps (3,4,7,15, and 16), new sand in most other traps and many other improvements. Many of the PGA Seniors annually complained about our sidehill greens, but usually not the winner .
The late 1980's saw the demand for golf outstrip the golf memberships available. The result was an explosive increase in the cost of joining the club. From a value of $11,500 established by the Board of Trustees in 1987 (including a 30% initiation fee), demand pushed the price to $19,000 by August 1988, $35,000 by 1989, and $60,000 in 1990. (Other area clubs continued to cost more with Broadmoor roughly double the cost of Inglewood.)
In the early 90’s, there was finally an opportunity to start implementing a long term strategy and begin major upgrades to the club. The members assessed themselves and significantly restored the quality of the club in 1992 by renovating and expanding the historic clubhouse at an expense of over $3 million. They further enhanced the golf course in 1999 when, along with a new irrigation system and maintenance facility, a large pond and new 18th green were built. The new closing hole is challenging and offers a wonderful view of the clubhouse over the pond.
Since 2000 the club facilities have continued to improve. The condition of the golf course has been among the best in the Northwest. Financially the club has built up a fiscal reserve fund and has a very active long range planning function. Inglewood has returned to the goals of its founders.