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The Hyde Park Golf & Country Club, by Lyle Kennedy PDF  | Print |

If we were to take one of today´s golfers to 36th Street overlooking Hyde Park, with the old bed of Harris Creek still plainly visible, and tell him that this was the first golf course in the area (believed to be the first west of the Mississippi), he would probably look askance, tap his forehead to indicate his opinion of our mental stability and walk off. But this was really where golf started n Kansas City&endash;because Kansas City had not yet annexed Westport.

When T.H. Mastin, J.J. Mastin and Seth Ward platted the Hyde Park subdivision the two block long, one block wide gully, which is now Hyde Park, was platted as blocks 22 and 31. But that was before architects had begun to suit their building designs to fit the terrain. There were no cantilevered houses or multilevel houses terraced down a hillside. Therefore, the steeply sloping lots along the gully were considered useless as building sites.

By some unknown agreement with the Hyde Park Land Company the residents who lived near blocks 22 and 31 had the gully surrounded by an iron fence with locked gates. For more than 50 years thereafter, the residents of the more modest homes in the James Hunter subdivision to the north referred to the fenced area as the place "where the rich kids used to play."

Harris Creek with headwaters at 30th Street drained about one square mile by the time it reached 39th Street and turned east through the gap. During the wet seasons this must have been almost a river, but in the dry seasons, fed mostly by springs, it must have been a beautiful little valley, and an great place for the children of the neighborhood to play. Just south of 37th Street (which was never cut through) the land leveled out, and the water of Harris Creek which ran through the property, spread out into a large shallow "bog."

In the early 1890´s a young Scot by the name of Stanley Young came to Kansas City from Boston. Since golf originated in Scotland and was very popular among Scotsmen, Young brought golf clubs with him when he moved to Kansas City. He naturally assumed that any city of 132,000 would have a golf course, but alas, it was still a "cowtown."

Young kept on the lookout for a place where he could practice his golfing and eventually found the little fenced park and obtained permission to use it for practice.

Soon the men living on McGee on the west side of the park and those on Oak, now Gillham Road, on the east became interested in Young's strange activities and went down to watch. When they expressed an interest in the game, Young ordered clubs for them from Boston and a golf club was born.

It is probable that a green was built at the northwest corner and possibly another in the southeast corner.

Within a few years so many men had joined the club that the playing area became overcrowded. Officers were elected and as their first order of business began a search for a larger tract of land for their club. The Officers were Joseph Hubbard, 3622 Locust; Charles Washburn, 3523 McGee; Joseph Peppard, also on McGee, and Henry Van Brunt, 3617 Oak.

An article appeared in the May 6, 1896 edition of the Westport Sentinal Examiner which stated that the Hyde Park Golf and Country Club was moving out into the country and had purchased 120 acres on the west side of Santa Fe Road (now Wornall Road) between what are now 51st and 55th Streets. The club, said the article, planned to build a clubhouse designed by architect W.C. Root. The clubhouse is described as having a glassed-in veranda overlooking the golf course, locker rooms, a dormitory, kitchen and dining room.

Soon after Westport was annexed by Kansas City, the club changed its name to the Kansas City Country Club, and it remained at its location on Santa Fe until 1926 when it moved to 62nd and Indian Lane. Mrs. Jacob Leander Loose, who lived at the Walnuts across the street from the club, bought the club´s property when it moved and give it to the city. We know it today as Loose Park.