Twenty thousand years ago, a massive continental glacier invaded Wisconsin from the north and buried the land Blackhawk Country Club now occupies under more than a thousand feet of ice. As the glacier moved across the land it leveled hills and became laden with rock and soil. When the glacier eventually melted, the rock, soil, and debris dammed the valleys and formed lakes like the nearby and picturesque Lake Mendota. The promontories and valleys that make Blackhawk Country Club such a beautiful place today were formed at the same time.
As significant as our natural history is today, the history of the people who occupied the lands before us is even more significant. The Effigy Mound Builders Indian Culture occupied these lands between 500 and 1500 A.D. leaving us with a number of spectacular effigy and burial mound landmarks. The “Three Bears” on the 16th Hole, “The Goose” near the 12th Tee, the three conical shaped mounds behind the second green and the linear burial mounds along the 14th and 15th fairways are a lasting reminder of our ancestral heritage. Club members engaged in a bicentennial project during 1976 which lead to the restoration of these mounds and their inclusion on the National Park Service Register of Historic Places in America.
Pride in our past is evident in the names associated with several holes on the golf course, which we hope you will find interesting. The Club itself is named after Chief Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk Indians, who traveled through this land in the early 1830s.
Blackhawk Country Club was founded in 1921 in the Village of Shorewood Hills overlooking Lake Mendota and the wooded rolling hills and countryside. A temporary course opened quickly for immediate play with Charles H. Mayo, a Chicago golf course architect designing the first nine holes. J.C. Hackbarth designed the second nine. Ernest Pitt was the superintendent of the golf course construction. He gained his experience on several golf courses in England and added interesting features to the course. F.R. Simonds, a Chicago landscape architect, laid out the plans for the grounds, buildings and roads. A.E. Mayo was the first Club Professional.
Blackhawk Country Club throughout it’s history has kept the golf course in immaculate playing condition, always rated as one of the best in the Midwest. In 1936, famed Philadelphia golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast developed a master plan for the renovation of the course. After completion, eleven of the eighteen holes were changed to make the course layout more challenging, more playable, and above all, more beautiful. The first fairway irrigation system in Wisconsin was installed in 1938, furthering Blackhawk’s image as a premiere golf club in its day. Tillinghast once wrote that golf course planners must “produce something which will provide a true test of the game and then consider every conceivable way to make it as beautiful as possible.” Attesting to his thoughts over time, Blackhawk’s natural beauty has always been its hallmark.
From 1975 to 2005 Richard P. Nugent served Blackhawk Country Club in the capacity as golf course architect. Nearly every year since then the course has undergone noticeable improvement and modernization to keep pace with the changing game of golf and the increasing level of interest in the game itself. Blackhawk Country Club is a golf club in the purest sense. The course has been the venue for excellent golf for over seventy-five years. From the great amateur golfers like our own Walter Atwood to great professional players like Walter Hagen, Blackhawk has always presented a challenge to those who have played the game. Our hope is that you will find your round of golf with us a truly memorable experience.