The Leland Country Club (or Golf Club as sometimes known, depending on its ownership or corporate status) came into being as a golf course about 1914. The course was built as a private venture for public use by Charles B. Wilder of Wheaton, Illinois. Mr. Wilder was assisted by Norman Petersen, also of Wheaton, who remained as manager for many years.
The original nine holes occupied forty-eight acres of what had been a dairy farm. There were two rather distinctive features. The present 3rd green (then the 5th) had a hard clay base with thin sand covering — no grass. Golfers today, used to smooth, soft turf, can imagine it was quite a trick to hold the ball.
Even more unique and well known throughout the Middle West was the 3rd tee for what is now the 1st hole. This was the elevated wooden platform pictured today in the Clubhouse. Raised some seven feet above ground, it was located at the circle drive in front of the present Clubhouse. There was a bench with a railing around three sides which was frequently occupied by those who just wanted to enjoy the marvelous view. New sod was put down every spring, but seldom lasted through the season.
Throughout the 20’s, green fees were $1.00 daily, and $40.00 covered a family membership for the entire season. There were caddies for everyone who wished one at the going rate of 35 cents for nine holes and 60 cents for eighteen. The caddies were teenagers, most of whom walked over and back from Provement (now Lake Leelanau).