By 1900 Lexington had a population of more than twenty six thousand. Yet the town still lacked a special locus for social recreation. Local society leaders recognized this
shortcoming and moved toward a solution.
To bring the vision of a grand social and recreational club to life, a group of important local businessmen and community leaders were recruited to bring forth the financial support needed for such an ambitious undertaking. Several of the local horse farm owners were approached and brought into the enterprise, such as James B. Haggin of Elmendorf Farm, L. V. Harkness of Walnut Hall, Foxhall Keene (owner of the famed race horse Domino), August Belmont (co-founder of the American Jockey Club and owner of race horse Man ´O War),
and William Whitney.
The purpose of the club was once defined as this, "Think of having a charming place near town in easy driving distance, with an opportunity to enjoy country life in its most finished sense! Where men after business hours can go and take their families and guests for luncheon or dinner, outdoor and indoor games, where there are beautiful lawns and tennis and golf grounds and society in general go for dances and all sorts of diversions."
Before the end of 1901, the Club had created its Articles of Incorporation with those who would become many of the early members listed on the document. Finally, a location on Paris Pike was selected. In those days, Paris Pike was a narrow dirt road marginally suitable for horse traffic. Early transportation to the Club site consisted of horse and buggy rides along dirt roads several miles from the center of the city of Lexington.
As the Club facilities took shape, the membership base continued to grow. Finally, on October 17, 1907, the Clubhouse at the Lexington Country Club was opened in a gala event. Following the opening of the Clubhouse, the Lexington Country Club became a popular location for outings for the entire Lexington, Fayette, and surrounding counties’ community. Social activities on the weekend drew large numbers of attendees.
Next came the design of the golf course. Famous golf course designer Tom Bendelow was selected to complete the course layout. Bendelow had created a substantial
reputation for golf course design by the time he came to Lexington to
meet with the Board of Governors in the fall of 1912.
After Mr. Bendelow laid out his plans for the course, and with much concern that the course might prove to more difficult for the less than expert player, the Board of Governors, had Mr. W. T. Withers and Harry Waters go over the grounds as laid out by Mr. Bendelow,
and make such changes as in their judgment seemed wise.";
Members of the Club were encouraged to walk or play through the course both as Bendelow had designed it and as Withers and Waters had amended it to see which course was more suitable for the membership. Once they had a chance to review the course, the members’ votes were recorded in a book in the clubhouse. The majority vote would decide the shape of the Lexington Country Club golf course. In the end, the Club made some minor modifications to the original Bendelow design and began construction on the Lexington Country Club course.
By the dawning of the roaring ´20s, Lexington Country Club was a spectacular facility with a challenging golf course and a striking Clubhouse.