History of Bellerive Country Club


The 190-yard par-3 sixth hole is perhaps most famous for the nine Bob Panasiuk made here in the 1965 US Open. He did so despite reaching the 140-foot-wide green in regulation.

Although its modern era only dates back to 1960, Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo. has history dating back to the 19th century. Beginning in 1897 as a nine-hole venue with 166 members, the club was first known as St. Louis Field Club. In 1900, the membership incorporated the name Bellerive Country Club, named after Louis St. Ange De Bellerive, the last French commander in North America. Former USGA president and Masters Chairman Hord Hardin along with Clark Gamble were the driving force to move the membership to a new site. Hardin, an 11-time club champion, brought in Robert Trent Jones to design the new course, located west of Normandy, Mo. Jones found a pristine farm site and construction began.
Just five years after the course opened in 1960, the USGA named Bellerive as the host of the U.S. Open, making it the youngest course ever to host the Open. That year, Gary Player became the first foreigner to win the Open Championship since Ted Ray in 1920. Tied after 72 holes with Kel Nagle with totals of two-over-par 282, Player built a five-stroke lead after eight holes of the playoff and with a score of 71, went on to defeat Nagle by three. Following his victory, Player donated his winnings to cancer research and junior golf. Player called his victory his best day ever in golf, as he completed the career Grand Slam. The 1965 U.S. Open also marked the first time in 65 championships that the final round was conducted on Sunday and that it was televised in color.
The inaugural U.S. Mid-Amateur was held at Bellerive in 1981, as St. Louis native Jim Holtgrieve defeated Bob Lewis Jr., 2-up. Current Champions Tour player Jay Sigel was co-medalist that year, but lost in the quarterfinals.
Bellerive next hosted the PGA Championship in 1992, as Nick Price captured his first major. Two shots behind Gene Sauers heading into the final round, Price carded his fourth subpar round for a three-shot win over John Cook, Nick Faldo, Jim Gallagher Jr. and Sauers. Price opened his round with nine straight pars, but seized the win with back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17. 'I will always have a special place in my heart for Bellerive Country Club,' said Price. 'Your first major championship is always the most important. The fact that mine came at Bellerive, showed how much I enjoyed the golf course.'
In 2001, Bellerive was set to host the World Golf Championships - the American Express Championship, but unfortunately the tragic circumstances of September 11th cancelled the event.
Let's not forget the 2004 U.S. Senior Open, where Peter Jacobsen, playing in only his third Champions Tour event, captured his first major title, edging Hale Irwin by one shot. Trailing Tom Kite by one shot with just three holes remaining, Jacobsen parred all three while Kite bogeyed 16 and double-bogeyed 18, thus handing 'Jake' the title. He became the second-youngest champion behind Dale Douglass and seventh first-time winner in his first Senior Open.

Phil Sokol writes for the Sports Network, and periodically contributes to GolfChannel.com. Send your thoughts on this article to Phil Sokol at psokol@sportsnetwork.com.