Golf was an established part of the local sporting scene when the eight men who would form Ozaukee Country Club first met in Milwaukee on October 22, 1920. To form this new venture, they were charged with preparing the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, site selection and naming the club. Three parcels of land in Mequon totaling 156 acres were purchased in January 1921 for $55,400 and Ozaukee Country Club was incorporated on April 1, 1921. The name was selected because of the club’s location in Ozaukee County. Langford and Moreau, well-known landscape architects with golf courses in the Midwest and South to their credit, were commissioned to turn the land into a course that would be challenging and aesthetically pleasing. The course was designed links-style, with open fairways and plenty of visibility and unusually large, undulating greens. Concurrently, Bentley & Son began construction of the clubhouse. The first nine holes and the clubhouse opened in July 1922. By August 1922, the 18 hole, par 70 course was complete. Construction costs for the course and the clubhouse came to approximately $93,000 and $84,000, respectively. With the purchase of the necessary equipment, furniture and fixtures, the total cost of Ozaukee Country Club amounted to about $300,000.
Throughout the 1920’s, the membership enjoyed golf, dances in the large formal ballroom, Christmas parties, costume balls and member-produced theatrical shows, marred only by a kitchen fire in October 1924 that did an estimated $20,000 damage. A highlight was the hosting of the Western Open in 1929, won by Tommy Armour who established what an all-time low of 273 for 72 holes was then. By 1930, a full membership of 289 was in place but the long-term effects of the “Crash of 29” started trickling down to Milwaukee, leading to the lean years of the depression and World War II. In receivership in the mid 1930’s, Ozaukee was managed by the Milwaukee Athletic Club on a cooperative arrangement until it was reorganized in 1937 with a membership of 200. The Club survived the depression and the World War II years, but few would say it thrived. Dues in 1939 were $80 a year.
In the 1950’s, membership was increased to 250 and the 33-year-old clubhouse underwent its first renovation. The newly renovated clubhouse opened on May 21, 1955 and was followed by the construction of a swimming pool in 1957. During the 1960’s, golfing membership remained stable, pool memberships were added and the Club held its own. The Club was closed for another remodeling in 1965-66. In 1969, The Milwaukee Curling Club made a proposal to come to Ozaukee Country Club and a formal agreement was signed in 1970 that led to the existing curling facility and a substantial change to Club wintertime operations.
During the 1970’s and early 1980’s, relative stability and serenity prevailed at the Club. Those conditions changed by the mid 1980’s when it became apparent that the clubhouse was starting to crumble. A $2 million renovation plan was approved by the membership in 1987 and Bentley & Son, the original clubhouse builder, was selected as the general contractor. The clubhouse was closed in late 1988 and the interior literally disappeared with only the original exterior facade remaining in place. Reopening in May 1989, the renovation, with a final cost of about $3 million, was a smashing success with the unique marriage of a decades-old tradition and modern, user-friendly facilities. In May 1997, the Club celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a series of special events and parties.
Throughout the 1990’s and into the new millennium, the club’s membership was booming and usage of the facilities was at an all-time high. The need for another update became the focus of planning in 2002; construction began in January 2003 and in five months, the renovation was complete. The Grand Opening Gala celebrated the glorious, new Clubhouse as the premier destination of Milwaukee’s North shore. The most recent renovation has brought the club up to date with the most current high-quality facility and service standards as well as offering an expanded golf wing and new, state-of-the-art locker rooms for both men and women.
In 2011 Ozaukee Country Club opened our newly developed Aquatics Center. Features include two heated pools, cabanas, an outdoor bar and a large deck to accommodate a variety of activities. The large pool offers a diving well, lap swimming and pool basketball. The wading pool features splash pad style entertainment with a water mushroom and slide.
Ozaukee Country Club stands as a remarkable testament to those who created it and to those who would not let it go. It is a love story--love for the land, love for our friends and family and most of all “for the love of the game.”