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History

Riverside Golf Club is located on the banks of the Menominee River. Riverside is the most popular golf course name in the United States according to ClubHouse Magazine. There are 46 Riversides’ in the US and the oldest member of that group is Riverside Golf Club in Menominee, Michigan.

Menominee gets its name from a regional Native American tribe known as the Menominee, which roughly translates into “Wild Rice”. The area was originally the home of the Menominee Indian tribe who harvested the wild rice from the river. They now have a reservation along the Wolf River in North Central Wisconsin. The Menominee River forms the natural boundary between Michigan and Wisconsin. This river made Menominee a lumber town. In its heyday Menominee produced more lumber than any other city in America. During this time, Menominee boasted an opera house, which is now being restored. In 1910, Menominee manufactured the Dudley Bug cycle car. In 1917, Menominee became home to the Lloyd Loom courtesy of Marshall Burns Lloyd and his Minneapolis Manufacturing which automated the process of weaving a man-made wicker and is still used today.

Today, Menominee relies on paper making, wicker lawn furniture, auto parts & industrial supplies, ship building, chemicals, helicopter design & construction, airplane components, health care, as well as tourism for its economic well-being. Riverside has grown along with the city and has a long history as well.

Finding it impossible to maintain separate clubs in Menominee, Michigan and its sister city, Marinette, Wisconsin, the leading golfers of both clubs held a meeting on May 24, 1901 and formed one club, Riverside Country Club. Land was rented for $1 per year from the Menominee River Boom Company and a 45 foot square clubhouse surrounded by a portico and carriage shed, designed by an architect by the name of Robinson, was erected. The total building expenditure was $600.00. The board decided to hire Thomas Bendelow, golf professional and golf course architect from Chicago, to lay out the course. Bendelow, nicknamed “The Johnny Appleseed of American Golf”, is credited with having designed some 600 courses in a 35 year span. The first professional hired to run Riverside was Alex Jolly, Sr., a native of Scotland, whose tenure lasted 22 years. Jolly is credited with thrusting Riverside into Midwest eminence with his recruiting and promotions. Among his publicity stunts were guest appearances here by such noted golfers as Walter Hagen and Charles “Chick” Evans. The official grand opening of the clubhouse and course took place on June 27, 1901 with 84 active members attending the gala event. A family membership was $15.00 which was under the newspaper heading “Golf Expensive”.

The first clubhouse was destroyed by a fire in 1907. It was replaced the following year when the Club purchased the old polo clubhouse and moved it to the golf course. In June of 1919, the Club was reorganized and incorporated under it’s present name and land was purchased outright. A small bond issue in 1921 permitted rehabilitation of the clubhouse and the purchase of more land to lengthen and standardize the course.

Fire once again took it’s toll July 19, 1946 when Riverside’s second clubhouse was destroyed. An oil burner used to heat water was considered the cause of the blaze. Undaunted by these events, a group of members pooled their resources to begin again and the first portion of the present clubhouse was erected in 1947. The Francis James Hood Memorial addition which housed the locker rooms and Pro Shop was built and dedicated in 1952. In 1966-67 the club house was renovated and a beautiful new bar, lounge area, and second dining room were added. With these changes, the clubhouse was enlarged and became a facility for year round social events. In 1974, two tennis courts and a new entrance to the grounds were added. In 1985 the golf course was expanded to 18 holes. The new 9 holes were designed by Roger Packard, son of the late golf course designer, E. Lawrence Packard. In 1997 the clubhouse renovated the Hood Memorial addition to include new Pro Shop, locker rooms, and a mixed grill for more casual dining.

With the advent of Y2K, the times were changing and so did Riverside. Riverside was sold in 2009 and became open to the public. The name was changed but everyone still knew it as Riverside. Shortly after, the Club was renamed Riverside Golf Club.