Club Info

The Western Hills Country Club, successor to the earlier Elberon Golf Club, found a permanent home in January, 1913. Members had just purchased a parcel of property in "back Price Hill," at the corner of Cleves-Warsaw Pike and Neeb Road, that had been locally known as the Short Farm. The land encompassed approximately 100 acres, and was located nine miles from downtown Cincinnati.

The Western Hills Country Club had incorporated the previous year, on August 28, 1912. This step was taken because members of the Elberon Golf Club had been faced with an option to buy the land they leased at the Elberon site, and the price that was asked for the 30 acres there was considered too high.

Also, the western suburbs of Cincinnati had been growing rapidly, and residents of the community of Westwood began to contemplate the idea of a country club in their area, too. The committee of the Elberon Golf Club who had been appointed to look for a new location realized that if they could get the interested residents of Westwood involved in a combined effort, they could find a suitable area of land to serve both Price Hill and Westwood. This was accomplished, the new Western Hills Country Club was incorporated, and in a few months, the Short property had been purchased.

The area where the new land was located was already well known to members of the Club who were early automobile enthusiasts. A blacksmith's shop at the same intersection was one of the first smithies in the Cincinnati area to turn its attention from shoeing horses to repairing the new mechanical contrivances being produced by Mr. Ford. Club members who had not yet purchased their own Model T automobiles also had some concerns about transportation to the new property. It was located "two miles west of the end of the wood block paving on Elberon Avenue," and "somewhat removed from streetcar service." The Price Hill members of the Club had already entered a petition to ask for an extension of the Warsaw Avenue streetcar out to Neeb Road. Meanwhile, the Club intended to provide automobile service to the new location for members living in Westwood.

Between August 1912, and April, 1913, two hundred charter members joined the new Club, and they were happily anticipating the construction of the golf course. Scottish golfer and designer, Tom Bendelow, was commissioned to lay out the eighteen-hole course, which was designed and constructed during 1913-1914.

The course as it was designed had descriptive names for each hole; the original score card calls #3 the Punch Bowl, #9 the Barnyard, #12 the Oasis, and #13 the Speedway. The original rules state that balls hitting telegraph poles were officially out of bounds, and note that players should stay out of the vegetable gardens south of the #6 fairway.

There was an old-fashioned brick house on the grounds of the new site when it was purchased, and Club officersintended to have the structure extensively remodeled to provide the larger assembly space needed for the social side of the Western Hills Country Club. The clubhouse was enlarged and improved in 1915-1916, and the remodeled building was dedicated on February 14, 1916. An old local news weekly called the West Cincinnatian covered the Valentine's Day opening, presided over by the Club's first president, William J. Howard. The front page story read, "Cincinnati's latest addition to suburban life, the Western Hills Country Club, formally opened its hospitable doors. Esberger's Orchestra furnished the music and 300 persons enjoyed the occasion and their interest gives promise of a brilliant future for the new clubhouse."

Many changes and expansions continued to shape the Club during its early existence. The membership increased rapidly between 1918-1924, as more and more people discovered the pleasures of golf. Increasing numbers of automobile owners also made the Club accessible to many people. Between 1937 and 1950, membership continued to increase steadily, and the Club's members had also purchased additional land, bringing the holdings to 126 acres.

In the 1950s, the clubhouse was again the focus of renovation. The architectural firm of Kruckmeyer & Stron began to prepare plans in early 1956 for a major expansion. The groundbreaking for the project was March 1, 1957, and work was completed on June 27, 1958. This renovation included the spacious addition that houses the Main Dining Room, an enlarged Men's Grill, a new kitchen, a screened porch, and the swimming pool constructed on the western side of the building. Club offices and the main entrance of the building were also renovated.

The Western Hills Country Club has continued to improve and expand facilities in recent years. In the past two decades, major renovations of the Grill Porch and patio, the swimming pool, the men's and women's locker rooms, and the kitchens in the clubhouse have kept the club up to date. Technical advances such as a state-of-the-art computer-controlled watering system and an extensive computer system used to expedite meal service and billing also have been installed at the Western Hills Country Club. The most ambitious project undertaken recently has been the complete renovation of the golf course, in three phases. The final phase of the renovation was completed in 2002 and it seems that the Western Hills Country Club has never been content to stay as it is; its members continue to make it a better place each year.