ABOUT KLEES GOLF
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Two industrialists, Montgomery Ward and George Thorn, launch the Midlothian Country Club. At the turn of the century, the club offers 10 cottages and 35 sleeping rooms for overnight stays because it is 25 miles south of downtown Chicago.
Jackson Park Golf Course debuts as Chicago’s first public golf course and one of the first public courses in the country. Jackson Park is very near the University of Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood, about seven miles south of downtown. The IC commuter train runs close by connecting golfers from all over the city to Jackson Park, as well as to private clubs built in the south suburbs later on.
The Ellerslie Cross Country Club is organized with clubhouse and grounds situated at 91st and Western. This club is the predecessor to the Beverly Country Club.
Ravisloe Country Club, an exclusive club for German Jews opens in Homewood, IL.
Ridge Country Club – at 103rd and Longwood Drive – forms an official charter for a Social Club with nine holes of golf, a charter membership of $25 and annual dues of $25.
The South Shore Country Club becomes an idyllic lake front retreat for the wealthiest of Chicago’s movers and shakers. The grounds provide a private stable, beach, and golf course, and the Club is only a few miles south of Hyde Park via the train.
Beverly Country Club is incorporated and takes over the building and grounds of the Ellerslie Country Club. BCC hires Donald Ross to redesign the course for eighteen holes, which stretch from 83rd to 91st Street along Western Avenue.
Idlewild Country Club opens in Flossmoor as an exclusive club for Russian Jews, which included Chicago titans Julius Rosenwald, Albert Loeb and Sidney Mandle among its founders.
April – Charles J. Klees and C.C. Chattell open Jackson Park Golf Shop in the corner building of 64th and Stony Island, across the street from Jackson Park. The shop offers custom made clubs with both the Chas. J. Klees and the CC Chattell cleek marks, lockers and club repair services.
June – Midlothian CC hosts the U.S. Open golf championship, which was won by golf’s original showman, the great Walter Hagen.
Olympia Fields Country Club is founded by a group of investors headed by prominent Chicago businessman, Charles Beach. Amos Alonzo Stagg, the legendary University of Chicago football coach, becomes the first President of the club.
September – Charles Klees buys out C.C. Chattell’s interest in Jackson Park Golf Shop and adds “Charles J. Klees Golf Shop” to the doors and awnings. From that time on all custom clubs are stamped “CHAS. J KLEES/CHICAGO.” Charlie also expands his line to include manufactured clubs from Spalding, Wilson, and Kroydon.
Louisa Stegmeyer is employed at the shop to do the bookkeeping.
Marquette Park golf course at 67th and Kedzie opens to the public.
Charles and Louisa get married.
January 26 – John Klees is born.
Evergreen Country Club opens as a daily fee course across the street from Beverly Country Club.
Charles Klees contracts tuberculosis and the family moves to Arizona, leaving Walt Steinway at the Chicago shop to manage the store.
Charles dies of tuberculosis; Louisa comes back to Chicago and asks Walt to be a working partner; he accepts.
June – Olympia Fields Country Club hosts the U.S. Open with club pro Johnny Farrell beating Bobby Jones in a playoff.
Chas. J. Klees Golf Shop introduces a catalog featuring golf equipment, baseball, tennis and radios to hear the ball games.
Louisa buys out Walt’s interest in the business.
John officially becomes a partner in the business with Louisa.
December 28 – The second Charlie Klees is born to John and his new wife, Mary Rita.
March – The first Klees Golf Shop location at 64th & Stony Island burns down. The repair area in the basement is spared but almost none of the merchandise is saved. Louisa and John move the shop across the street for one year.
Fall – Louisa and John move the shop to 87th & Bennet in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. The shop is at that location for ten years. Louisa dies in 1966.
John moves the shop to 87th & California, just a few blocks West of Beverly Country Club. Son Charlie has graduated from college and developed the skills of a master clubsmith from the Scottish club makers who left South Shore Country Club and worked for Klees Golf over the years.
Charlie becomes a full working partner with John, assuming most of the sales and merchandising functions.
Charlie’s wife, Eileen, joins the business, computerizes operations and adds the internet as a sales channel.
Shop is moved to 104th and Western in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, about a half mile east of Ridge Country Club.
First website is launched. John dies. Klees Golf Shop celebrates its 90th birthday.
Klees Golf Shop celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Charlie Klees closes the brick & mortar shop on Western Ave. and moves the business to his residence on Lothair Ave.
TODAY – Klees Golf Shop continues to offer a unique combination of personal service, used equipment and club repair expertise to meet any golfer’s needs.
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