About LuLu Country Club
A farm bordered by Limekiln Pike and Jenkintown Road was the birthplace of LuLu Country Club. George S. Cox owned the farm and during the first decade of the new century, he would invite his fellow Shriners from LuLu Temple, along with their families, to join him there for weekend picnics.
The LuLu Temple Automobile Club also met there for rallies. The high point of these gatherings were dinners featuring road pig and fried chicken, as well as horseshoe pitching and baseball games.
One Sunday in the summer of 1907, a man by the name of William H. Ward had just returned from a visit from England when he showed up at the Cox farm. With him, he carried a golf club under his arm. Few of the picnickers had ever seen a golf club, but it didn’t take long for their interest to be sparked. Several of them were demanding the chance to take a swing at the golf ball. From that point, it was clear that the farm’s days of producing corn and tomatoes were numbered.
In 1909 the golfing Shriners rented the farm from George Cox with the intent to build a nine-hole golf course. They knew that just any amateur golf architect wouldn’t satisfy. They refused to settle for anyone but the best- and the best course designer in America, Donald Ross, happily obliged. Ross, who was born in Dornoch, Scotland, had learned the craft of course design both there and St. Andrews. He had established his reputation on the strength of his outstanding layouts at Pinehurst, North Carolina. Now that Ross was broadening his horizons, LuLu Temple was among his earliest efforts outside of Pinehurst. It was also his first course in Pennsylvania. Over the next 16 years to follow, there would be 16 more Donald Ross courses built in the Keystone State.
A charter was granted by the State in the name of LuLu Temple Country Club in 1912. The land upon which the clubhouse was to be located was leased in 1918. Inevitably, Mr. Ross was called upon to design and build an 18-hole course. In 1924, this leased land was purchased by the club and the Clubhouse was built 3 years later.
Between the years of 1929 and 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, the membership of the Club fell from 300 members to a mere 70. Despite these trying times, the Club managed to survive their financial difficulties. By 1945, LuLu Temple was free of all mortgages and finally economically stress-free.
The Oasis room, a staple in the Clubhouse, was added in 1950 to appeal to the members and particularly to give them the ability to enjoy the gorgeous vista of the course. Air-conditioning was installed throughout the Clubhouse in 1956. In that same year, the swimming pool was completed.
The pro-shop, along with cart storage, were added in 1964. This addition allowed the Club to expand the men’s locker room and update its appearance. The kitchen was renovated the following year and a walk-in freezer was added to the rear of the building. In 1967, the women’s locker room and a space for a new club office was added, paving the way for construction of the dining room and an entrance to the clubhouse which were completed in 1987. Ten years later, Lulu would go through a major reconstruction project that really reflected the beauty of the Clubhouse. The main entrance and foyer took on a whole new appearance. Interior walls were removed to increase the size of the Ballroom and Fairway Lounge, complete with new tables, chairs, and carpet. The kitchen saw the addition of new refrigerators, ice machines, and tile on the walls. The Pro Shop was also remodeled, allowing the installation of a new, movable storage-rack system that could accommodate over 400 golf bags.
Over the last 100 years the golf course has also experienced many changes. With LuLu’s prior history of being a farm, very few trees existed on the property which led the architect to construct many bunkers and land hazards that challenged the player. Through the years, trees were planted and grew to maturity. Many of these land hazards have been removed and remodeled.
The greens were originally designed to hold rainfall because irrigation was not installed for the greens until the 1920’s. This led to irrigation expansion projects starting in 1951 with a fairway system on the Clubhouse side. The remaining holes were finished in 1964. In 1969 the system became automated and was one of the first systems of its kind. In 1990, with the increase in technology, a state of the art computed system was installed. It’s hard to believe that when the course was first built, the grass was cut with horse and gang mowers which operated from an old stone barn that stood beside the eleventh tee. Along with the most recent clubhouse, the barn was part of the original Thomas Fitzwater property that mined and processed limestone in a mill that still exists across the street. Due to poor structural condition, the barn was replaced by a new maintenance building which was constructed in 1989.
On the morning of Sunday, October 18th, 2015, an unexpected turn of events presented LuLu with, by far, its greatest challenge. At 6:30 am, firefighters arrived on the property only to be met with smoke and the historic clubhouse engulfed in flames. A second-alarm was called in. With fire hydrants located as far as 2,500 feet away, it was imperative that additional help was received in order to get water supplies established. More than 100 firefighters, from 8 to 10 fire companies, were present that day.
Many members had arrived early that morning to participate in the second day of a Club tournament. Many watched, heartbroken, as their beloved Clubhouse burned to pieces. It was determined that the fire was, in fact, accidental. However, the actual cause has never been determined. With only the pro shop standing, the Clubhouse was considered a total loss.
Although LuLu suffered this tremendous loss, the golf course, as well as the golf carts, were unharmed. Thankfully, there were also no injuries. While it may have seemed logical to say LuLu was defeated at that time, it was anything but. In 2016, the pool was filled in and temporary facilities for the pro shop, administrative offices, and the pub were brought on premises. A tent complete with flat screen TV’s, dining tables and chairs, a portable bar, and fire pit became the place for members to socialize and enjoy themselves before and after a round of golf.
2017 will see the construction of our New Clubhouse. This will be a state of the art facility with many amenities for our members including a fully stocked Pro Shop, Bar and Restaurant with Golf Simulators, Bag Storage, Cart Storage, as well as Spacious Men's and Women's Locker Rooms and a fitness facility.
On the Club’s anniversaries, past president, William Simms, shared a statement that resonated with the rest of us. He said:
“It was conceived in love of a sporting game and born as a family in 1912. It is not a story of a stone and wood – nor is it a story of a beautiful golf course. These are tangibles. To me, it is a story of all people, through more than a half a century, gathered for friendship and fun, whose indomitable spirit has refused to concede defeat no matter what the obstacle. This club has earned its many Anniversaries and I am sure any message for the future will be this echo from the past.”
“Grow old along with me – The best is yet to be.”
Now you can experience this Donald J. Ross treasure.
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