Ivanhoe Club’s rich tenure and legacy dates back to 1949 with the naissance of Thorngate Club, started when members of the Sky Crest Club of Chicago found themselves without a home. The Club, located in Deerfield, was leased from Golf Architect Robert Bruce Harris and housed our members until 1985 when escalating property values forced them to look again for a place of their own. They found it in The Smith Estate. A 380-acre undeveloped piece of land with 9-holes of golf, it was the perfect setting for what was to become an innovation in country clubs.
The Club broke ground in 1987, and by 1991 opened with a magnificent 67,000 square ft. Clubhouse unlike any other in the Chicagoland area. Comprised of two distinct dining facilities, meeting and hospitality space, ballroom, clay tennis courts, competition size pool and a second installation of 9 holes which presented a daunting field of play, the Club, christened, Ivanhoe Club, became a formidable challenger to all others.
In 2003, Ivanhoe Club began a massive $4.5 million renovation of the courses by world renowned golf architect, Arthur Hills. The re-creation, resulting in 3 distinct nine holes of golf; Forest, Prairie and Marsh, has given the Club the distinction of being regularly recognized as one of the Top 25 Championship Courses in Illinois and was coined the “Rebirth of a Champion”.
The rolling terrain of the Forest Nine marks the highest topographic point in Lake County and features tight, Oak and Hickory tree lined fairways, offering the stiffest test of golf. Its two landmark 80-foot high windmills with the distinctive Ivanhoe logo can be seen for miles around.
The Prairie Nine, with its grassy hillocks and beautiful waves of native Prairie grass, offer golfers a traditional links style challenge. Deep greenside bunkers, test abilities to their limits, but are balanced by the profusion of wildflowers that frame each hole like a Picasso painting.
The Marsh Nine embraces wetland wildlife; Herons, Red-winged Blackbirds, Terns and Turtles can be seen at close distance. The nine closes with a spectacular Par Four hole that features an elevated tee over Lake Ivanhoe, requiring a long, accurate shot to an island fairway, followed by a second shot over water to a heavily guarded green. Golf Magazine has named this, and Ivanhoe Club’s Forest Hole number 9, two of the prettiest finishing holes in golf.
As a supplemental challenge to all 3 courses and an additional aspect of beautification; water features are a prominent part of the Ivanhoe Golf Experience. Fifteen lakes and ponds, a manmade waterfall and countless bridges amalgamate the 27 holes. In addition, 4,000 trees frame the fairways and scores of ornamental flowerbeds feature horticulture themes which complement each particular Nine. Ivanhoe is also one of a select few Clubs to earn the Certified Signature Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status in America.
In 2006, Ivanhoe Club embarked on yet another exceptional capital project. In just 70 days, a 10,000 square foot, $1.5 million interior renovation of banquet areas and main floor was completed, that not only put the Club ahead aesthetically but allowed for an increase in already incomparable levels of service. The Club now boasts additional space to allow for accommodation of every aspect members’ experience, including the largest banquet facility in Lake County, state of the art audio/visual capabilities and home away from home feel that provides practicality and comfort.
The Ivanhoe Experience is one that cannot be found anywhere else. Its traditions will live on as membership continues to thrive and the Club will reinvent itself as needs require. Now in its sixteenth year, the Club is much more as part of a 58 year past and will go on to persistently surpass the expectations of its founders.