The Journey Started at Glen Echo CC in St. Louis

As host of Olympic Golf in 1904, Glen Echo CC proudly flies the Olympic Rings!

As host of Olympic Golf in 1904, Glen Echo CC proudly flies the Olympic Rings!

Where better to start an epic, historical and unique “Journey to Olympic Golf” than Glen Echo CC, host club to the last playing of Olympic Golf in 1904. The magical day, which also happened to be my birthday, was October 15th, 2013. The odyssey turned out to be a 100-day, 14-country, 18,471-mile joy ride (in Torch, my 1992 Infinit M30 baby), fly, float and walk all the way down to Rio de Janeiro, the next host of Olympic Golf in 2016. Come with me to St. Louis and stay at the Union Station Hotel and play Glen Echo CC with hickories like the great amateur golfers of the day did at the 1904 Summer Olympics (and World’s Fair) in St. Louis.

CLICK here for a Highlight Video of the Kickoff of the “Journey to Olympic Golf.”

With Union Station historian Darlene Menietti.

With Union Station historian Darlene Menietti.

Staying at the historic and authentic Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis took me back in time to the 1904 Olympics and World’s Fair. Like those Olympic golfers from a bygone but not forgotten era I woke up, grabbed my hickory clubs and came downstairs looking for the train to Glen Echo. I did not find a train but I did see a beautiful Great Hall and met Darlene Menietti, the historian for the Union Station. This delightful woman educated me on what it was like coming to St. Louis to the Olympics and World’s Fair 1904. Still unable to find the train I ended up driving Torch out to Glen Echo CC.

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Darlene Menietti, the Historian of Union Station.

With Rob Stewart, GM of Glen Echo CC.

With Rob Stewart, GM of Glen Echo CC.

The drive out to Glen Echo was short with intermittent rain, same weather as Saturday, September 24th, 1904, the day Canada’s George Lyons won the Olympic Golf Gold medal. The entrance to Glen Echo is grand and stately with a narrow road that traverses and meanders through the golf course finally taking a turn to the right up a gentle hill to an impressive clubhouse. I knew I was in the right place immediately. What other club flies the Olympic Rings Flag and has a Torch outside the front entrance. I saw the Torch in Torch and my imagination was lit. Wearing knickers and toting a bag of authentic hickory-shafted golf clubs It was September 1904 to me and I was there to feel that special Olympic Golf Spirit. Rob Stewart, Glen Echo’s General Manager greeted me warmly and told me a bit about the history of the Club.

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Rob Stewart, GM of Glen Echo CC.

With Club President James Storey on the 18th green at sunset.

With Club President James Storey on the 18th green at sunset.

I met some incredibly nice people at Glen Echo CC starting with Club President James Storey. James was my host for the day and was a wonderful host indeed. He introduced me to Ernie Coe who was Club President at the time of their Centennial in 2001. Mr. Coe was a fountain of knowledge and a fellow historian and documentarian. This kind gentleman gave me copies of several magazine articles and the Glen Echo Country Club 100 Years book which I will treasure for the rest of my life. James also introduced me to long time member, since he was 8 years old in 1929, Bob Sido who shared that golf was and still is “a family experience” for him. Mr. Sido believes, like many of us do, that golf teaches one to be “trustworthy and to behave and do the things that are right.”

 

With Centennial Club President Ernie Coe.

With Centennial Club President Ernie Coe.

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Ernie Coe, Centennial Club President (Part 1 of 2).

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Ernie Coe (Part 2 of 2).

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Bob Sido, long time member of the Glen Echo CC (Part 1 of 2).

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Bob Sido (Part 2 of 2).

 

Before teeing off, or rather posing for many, many beauty shots (not of us) with James Storey, member Mike Leuken and my friend and fellow golf travel writer Ron Cobb we enjoyed lunch complete with a bowl of hearty Minnesota Wild Rice Soup. I also interview Golf Course Superintendent Joe Wachter who shared information about course changesĀ  over the years. True to his words, the golf course played “firm and fast” despite the rainy weather.

Ready to play Olympic Golf at Glen Echo CC with Ron Cobb, Mike Leuken and James Storey.

Ready to play Olympic Golf at Glen Echo CC with Ron Cobb, Mike Leuken and James Storey.

The picture gallery below contains many pictures including those of Bob Sido, Joe Wachter and others on met on that memorable day at Glen Echo kicking off the “Journey to Olympic Golf.” Rob Stewart was prophetic in his words that there is “no better place to start my journey” than at Glen Echo CC, host of Olympic Golf in 1904. After a day full of history, friendship and golf my time at Glen Echo ended on the 18th green at sunset with James Storey. But her Spirit and that of the 1904 Golf Olympics came with me on the Journey and remains with me today. As I changed in the locker room to head back to the Union Station Hotel, James and I decided to swap sweaty shirts. My PLAYERS for his Glen Echo CC shirt which I wore proudly throughout the Journey at key moments andĀ  towards the end when interviewing Hall of Famer Roberto De Vicenzo in Argentina and walking the Olympic Golf Course with Gil Hanse in Rio de Janeiro.

One thing I know for sure is that the Journey started at Glen Echo CC in St. Louis, where and when it will end I do not know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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