Standard Club has been a part of the Louisville Community for well over a century, since just after the Civil War. Records of the exact date of the Club’s founding were lost in the flood of 1937 when the Ohio River destroyed the Standard Clubhouse, then located on River Road. Surviving records indicate the Club was founded as a social organization in 1873 and public records show the Club was incorporated in 1885.
The Club was reported to have first been located at 639 South Fifth Street and remained there until it relocated to South Third Street. There are also reports that the Club maintained a clubhouse on Chestnut Street. At these locations the Club operated as a town club primarily for dining, entertainment and social functions.
In 1910, the Club members decided to relocate to acquire a golf course. Standard rented property from the Louisville Water Company on River Road at Zorn Avenue which included nine holes of the golf course formerly occupied by Louisville Golf Club, which had merged with the Country Club of Louisville to become Louisville Country Club, and relocated to the east. Standard’s first golf professional was Bobby Craigs who came from Scotland. In 1914, the Clubhouse burned and was replaced by a clubhouse built next to the golf course.
The notorious flood of 1937 caused extensive damage to the Club. “The Spokesman,” Louisville’s weekly Jewish newspaper at that time, reported the damage to Standard was between $35,000 and $45,000, for damage to the Clubhouse, the Golf Course, and to members’ belongings in the Locker Room. One member reported that the Clubhouse was accessible only by rowboat with flooding up to the second floor.
On March 4, 1946 Standard purchased the property on Brownsboro Road (Highway.22). An additional 62 acres was purchased on November 5, 1956. Kentucky Highway 22 was previously known as the Brownsboro Turnpike. When the property was first purchased, the majority of the area consisted only of pastureland, crop fields and farm houses. This historical property was reportedly once used as a stagecoach stop for weary travelers between the cities of Louisville and Shelbyville. The old toll house was located on property adjacent to the golf course, and an old family graveyard can be found near the tennis courts and the tee for the twelfth hole. Indian arrowheads and other interesting artifacts have been occasionally found on the grounds of the Club.
Construction of a clubhouse and a nine-hole golf course was begun in 1951 and opened to members in 1952. In 1960 member demand for a full 18 hole golf course resulted in the construction of an additional nine hole, most of which is on the south side of the property, creating one of Louisville’s finest 18-hole private club golf facilities.
Standard later purchased an additional 60 acres of adjacent land. Lighted tennis courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, children’s pool and fishing docks were later added. Today, Standard Club occupies approximately 150 acres.
Unused Club property adjacent to Highway 22 was sold in 1995 to The Village of St. Andrews to generate funds used to renovate the golf course; more water holes were added on the course and zoysia grass replaced the bent grass fairways. In the spring of 1996, after a major clubhouse renovation and just two weeks prior to a grand re-opening, the Clubhouse burned due to a reported electrical problem during final construction. A new and vastly improved Clubhouse re-opened in the spring of 1997.
In 2000, a long-term mortgage was paid and members celebrated with a mortgage burning party. In 2003, a new turf building, paid for from available capital funds, was added across from the Village of St. Andrews to house the maintenance equipment for the golf course.
In October, 2006, the Club approved a renovation plan for enhancements to outside facilities. New stone walls, attractive plantings and club signage now offer an attractive introduction to the Club. The parking area was completely rebuilt and landscaping added, including a new front staircase. Three lower-level tennis courts were completely reconstructed offering members a tennis complex with five clay courts and a practice backboard. The tennis and pool complex also received new drainage, fencing and walkways. The lake, which enhances the signature-hole on the golf course, received a new rock wall surrounding the green, and improved drainage to enhance water flow. The golf practice facilities were completely renovated and expanded offering Standard members and their guests a premium golf practice facility. Walkways with brick interfacing and black iron fencing complete the new look to the grounds of the Club.
Joseph H. Cohen
President and unofficial Club historian