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Tradition

Over the last century, Sunset Country Club has been regarded for having one of the best private club courses in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  Although not long, the 6,686-yard layout features tight tree-lined fairways, rolling hills, strategically placed bunkers, natural flowing creeks, challenging but fair greens, and scenic course views.  Sunset is known for testing a player’s accuracy and short-game; always bringing a true challenge to all that play it. Unlike other clubs in the district, Sunset is unique in that very few homes sit on the property giving golfers the sense of seclusion from the outside world; a vision foreseen by Adolphus Busch, August Busch, and Eberhard Anheuser that has held true to this day. 

Sunset has been host to several PGA Tour events, national amateur competitions, and actively hosts both district and MAGA golf championships. Notable tournament winners at Sunset Country Club include but are not limited to:

  • Harry Legg – 1919 Western Amateur Champion
  • Tommy Armour – 1930 St. Louis Open Champion
  • Frank Stranahan – 1941 Trans-Miss Amateur Champion
  • Ben Hogan – 1946 Western Open Champion
  • Dow Finsterwald – 1956 Carling Open Invitational Champion
  • Jim Holtgrieve – 1978 Missouri Amateur Champion

Sunset’s rich golf history made this club an attraction for the games best bringing the talents of Bobby Jones, Chick Evans, Harry Vardon, Ted Ray, Clarence Wolff, Lawson Little, Sam Sneed, Bob McDonald, Gene Sarazen, Tom Kite, Jan Stephenson, Judy Rankin, Peter Jacobson, Ed Sneed, Ellen Port, and Arnold Palmer to the course for many professional and amateur competitions.

In addition to being host to some of the game’s greatest players, Sunset Country Club has attracted some of the best Club Professionals to manage the Golf Operation.  Sunset was home to Jim Barnes who won the 1919 PGA Championship during his time at the Club.  Johnny Manion won the 1927 St. Louis Open as an Assistant Pro at Sunset, only to be promoted to the head job.  Jim Fogertey became the PGA of America’s first Master Golf Professional during his stint at the Club only to be inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame.  Ryan Johnson currently leads Sunset’s first-class golf experience.

Unlike other Clubs, Sunset Country Club is a “No Tee Time” facility, another vision that dates back to its founding days.  The “No Tee Time” policy gives its Members the freedom to enjoy their Club at any time that they would like without needing to plan days in advance.

A1/A4 Bent Grass Greens, Zoysia Fairways and Teeing Grounds, and Fescue/Blue Grass Rough provide the best playing surfaces for Championship golf. 

Today’s Sunset golf experience is designed to be social and welcomes every Member to the game.  Sunset offers a variety of events and programs, for Men, Women, Couples, and Junior Golfers.  An extensive teaching and coaching program rounds out the golf experience just as it began back in 1916 when the course first opened.

HOLE HIGHLIGHTS

HOLE #4 | Par 3 – 169 Yards

Sunset named this hole the “Dew Drop” for its 70-foot drop in elevation from Tee to Green. This hole has maintained its character since its original construction back in 1918.  It requires a precise club selection only to be doubted by swirling winds. A natural flowing creek behind and to the right of the Green as well as a newly reconstructed pond in the front of the Green makes this shot challenging giving no bail out but to the left side. If you do bail out on the left side, you are faced with a tightly mown chipping area with contour mounding.  When standing on the Tee, take some time and enjoy the backdrop of trees and rock cliffs. This landmark hole can be played from the following yardages:

 

HOLE #5 | Par 4 – 442 Yards

Ben Hogan stated that #5 at Sunset Country Club was one of his “top 18” holes in golf. Back in Championship days, its length, dogleg, flowing creeks, and sloping green made it one of the most challenging holes in golf. This hole only became more challenging with time as the trees have grown in, bunkers guard the front right and left of the green, and the fairway pinches at the turn only yards from a hazard that runs the entire length of the hole on the right side. There is a reason that this is Sunset’s #1 handicap hole. If you make Par, you just picked one up on the field. Hogan’s hole can be played from the following yardages:

 

HOLE #12 | Par 4 – 450 Yards

This was the original 1st Hole at Sunset and a challenging one to start. Upon new construction of the Clubhouse back in the 60’s and 70’s, the entire layout of the Course was modified. Members were happy with this change given out-of-bounds up along the entire right-hand-side of the hole.  #12 is a beautiful hole which requires a demanding tee shot out of an Augusta National like shoot. The second shot produces a downhill, ball below your feet lie which brings out-of-bounds right back into play.  A large greenside bunker to the left and an angulating chipping area to the right make up and downs very difficult.  The green complex is one of the best on the course giving golfers several different pin locations to tackle with slopes moving in different directions. The toughest original starting hole in the district can be played from the following yardages:

 

HOLE #15 | Par 3 – 222 Yards

#15 is the best Par 3 on the course. Know not only for being a great golf hole, it also brings back the unconfirmed history of the original Sunset Inn built in 1910.  When you are standing on the green, you can look back and see an old cave that was built into the hillside. This man-made cave is rumored to have served the following purposes: water trough for the horses, a secret tunnel for Sunset Inn guests to get to the countryside, or a secret storage spot for the famous Anheuser-Busch products to be hid during prohibition. In addition to all this history, this Par 3 stages as the final shoot-out hole for all our major Club events and plays as a tiebreaker from a specially designed Par 3 19th hole Tee Box by the Club Bocce Courts. 222 Yards of Par 3 may intimidate the regular golfer, but it used to be 239 yards until golf architect great, Dr. Michael Hurdzan did a redesign in 1989. The green is the most challenging on the course and is divided by an elevated spine. Up and downs do not come easy and a green in regulations is your best chance at making Par. This Par 3 can be played from the following yardages:

 

HOLE #18 | Par 4 – 408 Yards

World renowned golf artist, Walt Spitzmiller named #18 “fly away home” when determining which of 5 holes should identify most with our club. Mr. Spitzmiller painted a 5 x 7-foot mural of #18 which today hangs in the Clubroom as a celebration of Sunset’s Centennial Celebration back in 2010. The beauty of the fairway contours, bunker placement, and green complex provide not only the ultimate test for a closing hole, but the characteristics of holes Mr. Spitzmiller is accustomed to painting as commissioned by the PGA Tour. A Par on this final hole must be earned with 4 excellent golf shots. “Fly away home” can be played from the following yardages: