Southern Hills Country Club was established in 1936 in south Tulsa as a family-oriented private country club. The plan was to include a swimming pool, stable, horseback trails, polo field, skeet range, tennis courts, clubhouse and golf course.
Oilman Waite Phillips agreed to donate the land if the gentlemen proposing the new club could garner pledges from at least 150 Tulsans for $1,000 each.This was a daunting challenge in the midst of the Depression.However, the money was raised and the clubhouse was constructed in 1936. Perry Maxwell, a Midwestern banker turned golf course architect who designed or co-designed some 70 golf courses in 21 states, including Prairie Dunes in Kansas, Colonial in Texas and Dornick Hills in Oklahoma, was hired to design the golf course.
May 23, 1936, the opening day of golf at Southern Hills, was inauspicious. The front nine was not yet ready for play (too little grass), and the 29 golfers who teed off on that exploration of new territory seemed not especially impressed by the back nine. The classic French Norman-style structure that would become the clubhouse, designed by prominent Tulsa architect John Forsyth, also was “not ready for play” (it would not be completed for several more months), but the pioneer golfers held a celebratory dinner on the south terrace that night, nonetheless.
Leading up to the scheduled gala opening of the clubhouse in October 1936, Phillips, who had contributed the land but so emphatically refused to provide any cash, made a last-minute gift of $25,000 (the approximate equivalent of $350,000 today) to furnish the clubhouse. Chedford L. “Cheddy” Martin left his position as manager of Chicago’s Drake Hotel to become Southern Hills’ first general manager—at an annual salary of $4,800.
The first tournament to test the new golf course was the Oklahoma State Golf Association amateur tournament in 1939, and the following year the Trans-Mississippi Golf Association’s Amateur tournament was held on the course. A special professional golf tournament was promoted in September 1945 to raise money to help the war-wounded. It was won by Sam Snead, and it gave some of the country’s best tournament players their first exposure to the Southern Hills course.
In 1946 the club was the site of its first national championship—the U.S. Women’s Amateur.When play begins at the 109th U.S. Amateur Championship on Aug. 24, Southern Hills will have hosted 15 major championships: three U.S. Open Championships (1958, 1977, 2001), four PGA Championships (1970, 1982, 1994, 2007), the U.S. Women’s Amateur (1946), a U.S. Junior Amateur Championship (1953), a USGA Senior Amateur Championship (1961), two U.S. Amateur Championships (1965, 2009), a USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship (1987) and two Tour Championships (1994, 1995).
The championship golf course was modernized in the 1950s and has undergone several major renovations since then, including installing a new irrigation system and five miles of drainage, renovating tees, renovating bunkers and regrassing greens in 1999-2000 and regrassing the fairways and roughs, renovating bunkers and renovating greens in 2004-2005. A new Golf Course Maintenance Facility was constructed in 2000.
In the early 1990s the club’s polo fields were largely unused and the decision was made to transform the polo fields into a nine-hole golf course.That course was designed by Ben Crenshaw.
In 2007, Southern Hills Country Club completed a sweeping $22 million renovation of the clubhouse and other facilities . This renovation included a new pool complex, new fitness facility, new indoor tennis court, new golf halfway house, new entry drive and motor court, new Ladies’ Locker Room, renovated and expanded Men’s Locker Room, new Member Lounge, renovated Men’s Grill, new Mixed Grill Patio, new Ballroom and banquet entrance, renovated and expanded main kitchen, new administrative offices and new employee locker rooms and dining room. The scale of this major makeover, the implementation of which covered seven years, can only be compared to the time, effort and capital expended in the original construction of the club, over 70 years ago.
Southern Hills Country Club Hole-By-Hole
|No.1 (466-yd., par 4)
||No. 10 (366-yd., par 4)
|No.2 (485-yd., par 4)
||No. 11 (170-yd., par 3)
|No.3 (451-yd., par 4)
||No. 12 (455-yd., par 4)
|No. 4 (369-yd., par 4)
||No. 13 (535-yd., par 5)
|No. 5 (652-yd., par 5)
||No. 14 (218-yd., par 3)
|No. 6 (197-yd., par 3)
||No. 15 (409-yd., par 4)
|No. 7 (380-yd., par 4)
||No. 16 (507-yd., par 4)
|No. 8 (243-yd., par 3)
||No. 17 (355-yd., par 4)
|No. 9 (372-yd., par 4)
||No. 18 (463-yd., par 4)