The long, daunting par 3 closing hole at the historic Normandie Golf Course will be around to challenge St. Louis-area golfers for at least another decade.
The University of Missouri–St. Louis today announced it has completed a purchase of the 117-acre tract at 7605 St. Charles Rock Road – adjacent to the southern edge of the campus – for $1.4 million with private funds donated exclusively for that purpose. Well-known Walters Golf Management has signed a 10-year agreement with UMSL to operate and market the course. UMSL will receive $1 a year in lease payments.
“The Normandie Golf Course has been an important community asset for more than 100 years,” UMSL Chancellor Thomas George said. “We want to make sure that over the long term it is operated and developed in a manner that benefits UMSL students and the surrounding community.”
George said the agreement with Walters was the “best way in which UMSL can ensure Normandie thrives” over the next decade without directly investing university or tax dollars.
“We promised the local community that every effort would be made to keep Normandie as a golf course for the foreseeable future,” George said. “The agreement with Walters provides it with financial flexibility to improve and market the course.”
“We’re humbled to be entrusted as the caretaker of this 100-year-old gem,” said Jeffrey Smith, principal and managing partner of Walters Golf Management. “We take this responsibility very seriously. This is a historic course with a layout unique to St. Louis. So, the investments we make going forward will be done to improve the golfing experience without affecting the ambience that makes Normandie special.”
Smith said that Walters staff would begin immediately enhancing the clubhouse and playing conditions as well as create a long-term plan for other potential improvements. The rate of improvements, Smith said, will be dictated largely by the support shown by area golfers.
That message resonates with George.
“Those who love Normandie can best demonstrate that affection by playing the course,” George said. “Like UMSL, Walters wants this course to be a community asset for years to come.”
Walters will be implementing special-rate programs for UMSL students, alumni, faculty and staff. The firm will also look into starting youth-development programs and enhancing league play.
Acquiring Normandie became a real possibility following a meeting of the UMSL Chancellor’s Council in May, when members learned that the property near UMSL was for sale.
“We discussed what impact future development of the golf course would have on UMSL and the neighboring community,” said Mark Burkhart, retired executive with Cassidy Turley and chairman of the Chancellor’s Council Committee on Building and Grounds. “It quickly became apparent that the best possible option for everyone was an association involving UMSL.”
Realizing that UMSL was not in a position to purchase the property itself, Burkhart said he was delighted that members of the council were able to finance the purchase for the university.
Normandie Golf Course
Descendants of Charles Lucas – who created what is now known generally as the Greater Normandy area – established the Normandie Country Club and Golf Course in 1901. The 18-hole course became public in 1985. It is the oldest public course west of the Mississippi River.