La Belle’s Rich History
La Belle Golf Club was incorporated In October 1895 as The Country Club of Oconomowoc. Play began the following summer. The original nine holes bordered beautiful Lac La Belle. The first club house, known as The Seavern farmhouse, was expanded with a spacious double-veranda porch overlooking putting greens and tennis courts to accommodate social events for the membership.
Original club membership included the summer crowd of Milwaukee’s wealthy upper class and vacationing Chicago industrialists. The trip from Oconomowoc was a one-hour carriage ride or a boat ride across the lake.
Early professionals hired by the club included future U. S. Open champions, Willie Anderson and Alex Smith. In honor of four-time U.S. Open champion, Willie Anderson, the club pub has been rededicated to honor Willie’s accomplishments. A number of professional player tournaments in the early years brought Chicago, St. Louis and Wisconsin professionals to La Belle.
The course membership grew until financial problems affected the club prior to WWI. The two key monetary issues revolved around prominent members wanting to expand the course to 18 holes but the adjoining land was not for sale. Secondly, the long carriage ride from town weighed on certain members who became reluctant to travel so far for their leisure activities. Club membership split and the course struggled until the mid-1920s.
A new ownership group procured possession of the course and erected a new smaller clubhouse. Play continued on the original nine holes until its valuable lakefront property was subdivided into lots and sold in the 1950’S. This allowed the group to purchase the additional land needed to expand the course to 18 holes.
In 1959, a new clubhouse was designed and built on the hill, and the course remapped while keeping the natural flow of the land in mind.
The current clubhouse features a 230 seat banquet hall with a state of the art kitchen, locker rooms with shower and sauna facilities, and a practice range with greens and sand traps.