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OUR HERITAGE

In 1910, Adolphus Busch decided St. Louis needed a social and dining club in South County.  He wanted a hilly, undeveloped, wooded site that would permit privacy and an opportunity to share in nature’s beauty, and one that would serve Anheuser-Busch products exclusively.  In November of 1910, he settled on our initial 26 acres and constructed the Sunset Inn which served an impressive 1,800 Members.

Adolphus’ son, August A Busch Sr. eventually took the lead on the purchase of additional land for their club growth, and in May 1911, he formed the Sunset Hill Country Club in a small building adjacent to the Sunset Inn.  With the death of Adolphus Busch in 1913, the property fell solely to August Sr. to continue the legacy of Sunset.

Through 1914, August Sr. continued to purchase more land until he acquired over 170 acres.  In 1915, Sunset Member, Jesse Carleton joined August Sr., and Eberhard Anheuser to propose that it was the right time to construct a golf course using the beautiful landscape.

Jesse Carleton was familiar with golf development and was familiar with the current work being done in town by the Foulis Brothers, Robert, Jim, and David.  He convinced August Sr. and Eberhard that the Foulis’ were the right choice to design the new Sunset Hill course.

Jim Foulis was both a golf professional at Chicago Golf Club and a course designer.  Upon winning the 2nd U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills, his services as a course designer were in very high demand.  His brother Robert was considered one of the finest professional greenkeepers in the country, and his knowledge of grasses was unsurpassed.  The third brother, David, was an excellent clubmaker. Native to Saint Andrews, Scotland, “birthplace of golf”, the brothers, who learned their golf from Old Tom Morris, became known as the founding fathers of Midwest golf.

When the course was fully completed in in the spring of 1917, it was hailed as one of the most beautiful and best designs in the country.

Following construction of the golf course, Sunset built a grand swimming pool in 1918 which quickly became a family favorite and was also to be the first pool in the St. Louis area to permit men to swim “topless”.

The Sunset Hill Country Club at the time was so far out in the country, it had to be virtually self-contained.  Buildings for club management, chefs, and service staff were located next to the Inn, so help would always be available. The stables that used to hold the horses and carriages for members and guests dining at the Inn, was later converted into the Men’s locker room. The original Sunset Hill clubhouse, with the large Hohenzollern Eagle as the centerpiece, was later updated for use as the Ladies locker room.

However, like most private clubs, Sunset Hill suffered through the years of the Great Depression and temporarily closed its doors in 1937.  A few months later, a group of former Sunset Hill members approached Anheuser-Busch to reorganize the club, which they did in 1938, renaming the club Sunset Country Club.  In 1944, Anheuser-Busch was approached by the membership with a proposal to buy the club outright.  After consulting with Alice Busch, the widow of August A. Busch Sr., who held deed, the sale was completed in 1945.

In 1955 the original clubhouse began to show signs of wear.  By 1957, it was determined that the clubhouse needed to be replaced and the present building was constructed on the original foundation and still sits the same today.

Further renovations on the interior of the clubhouse were done in 1989, 2004, and most recently in 2019 as the continued needs of the Sunset membership needed to be met.

Following the economic fall-out in 2008, the Sunset members voted to begin a project to create a unified recreational complex of tennis, golf, and swimming near the front of the club.  Designated as the first phase of an overall long term development plan, a new pool, pool and tennis pavilion, and practice facility was built.  This project was completed in the summer of 2011.  Sunset was one of only a few clubs to take on a renovation of this caliber during a recession. 

Between 2011-2018, most notable club improvements took place on the golf course.  Dr. Michael Hurdzan was hired by the club back in 1989 to present a plan for long-term course renovation projects.  Some of the course re-designs were addressed immediately and some were held for later dates.  With the help of local course architect, Roger Null, Hurdzan’s plans were most recently implemented with renovations on holes #4, 7, 11, 12, 15, and 17.

Most recently, Sunset broke ground a full clubhouse renovation in Fall 2019 maintaining the original vision of Adolphus Busch; to have the best social club in South County that appeals to the entire family.  This state-of-the-art inside and out renovation concept will fulfill the needs of Sunset families and membership growth for years to come.

Sunset’s clubhouse sits on one of the highest elevations in South County providing a spectacular western view of the golf course and the Meramec River Valley and Ozark foothills.  Sunset Country Club represents a beautiful combination of land use and environmental preservations.  Its magnificent rolling hills and woods provide a natural sanctuary for wildlife.  Golf at Sunset is truly walk in the splendor of nature without man-made intrusions.