Major capital improvements appear to have been nil until 1954, when the firm of Ganster & Henninghausen was directed to design and construct a swimming pool for Glen Flora. The pool was opened in 1955, and in 1969, fourteen years later, Bill Ganster was informed the pool was much too small. Following the grand opening of the pool, Glen Flora was host to the Western Open of the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association. Many members caddied for the ladies, for nothing more than to assist them in selecting clubs on our more difficult holes. Records show that Jackie Pung, the Hawaiian star of the tour, hit her tee shot onto Sheridan Road at No. 11. Records do not name her caddie.
In 1962, Glen Flora proceeded with much needed improvements. A new Golf Shop, Ladies’ Locker Room, and offices were constructed. The Clubhouse building was given a new look and we watered our beautiful fairways.
Glen Flora hosted the Ladies’ Midwest Amateur Tournament soon after, and the girls showed the members how to drive the tough ninth and seventeenth.
In September of 1963, the three greatest names in golf competed for $50,000.00 in prize money at Glen Flora. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player tested our course for 36 holes and came away with nothing but praise. Player scored a 136, 4 under par for first prize of $20,000, Nicklaus’ 138 was worth $16,000.00, and Palmer at 141 collected $14,000.00. On his last round, Jack Nicklaus hit all 18 greens in regulation and still only scored par. “Gary’s Gallery” came into being during this tournament. Steve Lindberg, son of member Don Lindberg, and five of his friends, dressed in black to match their leader. They followed Gary Player carrying their large placard reading “Gary’s Gallery”. This was the last major golf event held at Glen Flora.
Glen Flora’s first official Club Professional was one of our founders and the designer of our golf course, Austin Clayssens. Austy served 13 years. Forbes Leith, Club Professional number 2, served 13 years through 1948. Glen Flora’s third Golf Pro, Jerry Glynn, operating out of a tiny white cottage behind our first tee, stayed with Glen Flora through 1964, a total of 16 years. 1964 brought Ken Henry to Glen Flora, a two time Olympic medal winner—one gold!-not for golf, but speed skating. A tremendous achievement, Ken served Glen Flora for 30 years! In 1967, Glen Flora remodeled the kitchen from top to bottom. In 1968, we completed an addition to the Bar and Grille and redesigned the area completely. The upstairs Ballroom-Dining Room was completed in 1969 and the Men’s Locker Room in 1970. At this point, most members felt our Clubhouse improvements were completed. On December 19, 1970, our Clubhouse was completely destroyed by fire. A fire that started on the second floor in the early morning hours was not brought under control until late in the day, leaving only the Golf Shop standing. After insurance settlements and agreements with the general membership, the firm of Ganster & Henninghausen was contracted to design and build a new Clubhouse. Nine months from the date of the fire, construction began. The anticipated completion date was mid 1972, resulting in the current Clubhouse.
Starting in 2007 and finishing in 2008 The club house, men’s locker room, ladies locker room, bathrooms, both kitchens, pool, pool house, tennis courts and golf shop were all remodeled to what you see today. It was a much needed facelift at the time to accommodate more of a family atmosphere. As the years continue on, we continue to improve with new flooring installed the last two winters and upgrades in décor, paint and finishes every season.
The golf course has been improved with landscaping and a double row computerized sprinkler system. With the exception of changing the starting hole in 1942 (reversing the nines), the course layout is much the same as originally designed. Still a challenge...still a great golf course!
This brief history of Glen Flora Country Club was assembled with facts from the Waukegan News-Sun, the Waukegan Public Library, from personal experience, and interviews with many of our staff members.
George L. Harlow
“Mr. Glen Flora”—Club Historian
GFCC Member 1952-2015
The member equity owned club was sold in November 2015 to Mr. Dean Chudy and family of Libertyville. The club remained a private country club with the continued objective of being one of the finest private country clubs on Chicago's North Shore. Following this idea, Glen Flora improved with many renovations to the golf course and the clubhouse. Clubhouse improvements made included renovations to all dining rooms, bars, main entryway, locker rooms, golf shop, exteriors, patio, parking lot and various other areas. Golf course improvements include a new green complex, tees, cart path system, stream and ravine work, bunker drainage and many other aesthetic upgrades.