The Nation’s Oldest African-American Women’s Golf Club Turns 80

There was once an extensive network of African-American golf leagues and clubs spread across the country. As the golf world opened up, most of them faded away.

But one that remains is the Chicago Women's Golf Club, which turns 80 this year and is the oldest black women’s golf club in the nation. (On Dec. 2, the club hosts its anniversary gala. Get information on that event here.)

We paid them a visit at their home course, the Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course in south suburban Riverdale.

The Chicago Women’s Golf Club’s junior division, the “Bob-O-Links,” plays in Jackson Park and is open to boys and girls ages 8-17. 

  • Jay Shefsky and photographer Dave Moyer film Ernestine Harper and other members of the Chicago Women’s Golf Club at Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course in Riverdale.

    Jay Shefsky and photographer Dave Moyer film Ernestine Harper and other members of the Chicago Women’s Golf Club at Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course in Riverdale.

  • The "Bob-O-Links" are the junior division of the Chicago Women's Golf Club. These are the first Bob-O-Links, ca 1954.

    The "Bob-O-Links" are the junior division of the Chicago Women's Golf Club. These are the first Bob-O-Links, ca 1954.

  • The original members of the Chicago Women's Golf Club, 1938.

    The original members of the Chicago Women's Golf Club, 1938.

  • Jay Shefsky with members of the Chicago Women's Golf Club.

    Jay Shefsky with members of the Chicago Women's Golf Club.

Note: This story originally aired on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 2.


Related stories:

Looking for a New Hobby? Just Axe

May 9: A Portage Park range takes a whack at bringing axe-throwing to Chicago.


JB Skating: Chicago’s Smoothest Creation

Feb. 15: In 1971, Calvin Small and two friends started roller skating a little differently than everyone around them. It caught on. And now, JB skating is known all over the country.


Tiger Woods-Designed Golf Course in Jackson Park Gets Green Light

Jan. 11: The Chicago Park District takes the first steps to bring a Tiger Woods-inspired golf course to Jackson Park, but not without controversy.