Golf, tennis and young families are the enduring story of Northwood Club. From the very beginning on a tennis court in 1946, the opening of Dallas’ most expansive swimming pool in 1948 and the hosting of the nation’s most prestigious golf tournament in 1952, Northwood Club has a proud tradition of serving its member families.
It started on the tennis court as four young businessmen, playing their regular Saturday game, grumbled about long waits on the first tee and stuffy atmosphere in the clubhouses of Dallas’ two leading clubs. With great confidence, they called their friends to propose the first country club built in Dallas since 1920.
First, they had to find a site. The co-founders, including Hugh Prather (developer of Highland Park Village) identified the Fogelson Ranch in the remote North Dallas. Oilman Buddy Fogelson was recently divorced (later marrying Oscar winning actress Greer Garson) and agreed to sell his 160-acres to the young men.
Two of the nation's leading golf course architects – Bill Diddel and Perry Maxwell -- were brought to Dallas to look over the land. The members chose Diddel, the Indiana-based designer of nearly 300 courses from 1921 until 1974. At the top level of American architects, Diddel joined Maxwell, Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and nine other preeminent golf course architects as a founder of The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) in 1947. His most famous protégés were Pete and Alice Dye.
Two years after completing the course, Northwood Club was awarded the United States Open golf championship for 1952. Northwood remains one of only three Texas clubs to host the championship. The favorite was Ben Hogan who had won the three previous Opens in which he played and the field included Sam Snead, Jimmy Demaret, Cary Middlecoff and Gene Sarazen. Byron Nelson covered the tournament for the Dallas Times Herald.
After two days, Hogan was in the lead but the golfers had to play 36 holes on the final day. Julius Boros shot even par for both final day rounds and won his first U.S. Open by four strokes winning $4,000.
Only seven rounds were played under-par for the tournament leading Golf magazine in 2016 to rank Northwood as the fifth toughest Open course in history. Celebrated golf writer Dan Jenkins said, “At the time after Northwood got the Open, Southern Hills, Colonial and Northwood were considered the three best courses [in the area].”
When Golf Digest compiled a list of America’s most important courses including the “most significant of each decade” it identified Northwood among the country’s highest profile courses. And, in 2015, the Texas Golf Hall of Fame designated Northwood to the Texas Registry of Historic Golf Courses.