Bunker Links History

 

In 1919 a contingent of Galesburg golf enthusiasts presented a petition bearing 199 signatures to Mayor W. O’R Bradley asking for construction of a municipal golf course. The only area golf course at the time was located at the Soangetaha Country Club located east of the city.
 

Despite increased interest from potential local golfers and support from Galesburg elected officials the physical development of a municipal golf course took five years to become a reality. Construction of Galesburg’s municipal course began in the summer of 1923. The original nine-hole course was laid out in an area covering 23 acres in size on the northern edge of Lincoln Park. It was pointed out that the course was generally small in nature as most new golf courses required at least 40 acres. It was felt that due to natural hazards the course would be extremely difficult and require skilled playing to produce low scores. It is interesting to note that land for the initial 9-holes cost $8,970.

Distance between the nine-holes was 1st- 384 yds. with timber on the left, 2nd- 262 yds with timber on the left, 3rd- 135 yds crossed by a water hole, 4th- 455 yds with a long uphill drive across two small creeks, 5th- 323 yds with a straight drive and fences on both sides, 6th- 258 yds, 7th- 433 yds with two creeks and an arm of the lake to cross, 8th- 364 yds with a creek to cross and 9th- 150 yds with fences on both sides and a creek to cross. Temporary greens will be seeded which will take several months to mature.

In early April 1924 Galesburg’s Municipal Course opened for business. Mayor E.W. Mureen was the first to tee off, followed by Alderman Joe. E. Anderson with each driving the ball nearly 200 yards. The first ticket bought at the new golf course was Postmaster George Clark.

The course became so popular that city officials agreed to purchase an additional 16-acre tract stretching east to Seminary Street to enlarge the course to 18-holes. On April 27, 1929 the second nine holes were inaugurated. The first to hit off the tee on Hole No. 10 was then Galesburg Mayor William L. Boutelle who was attired in a conventional blue suit.  He lofted his shot the length of a football field. Former Mayor Maureen who hit the first drive when the course opened in 1924 proceeded to dub the ball into the fence along the parking lot on the east side of the course.

A week following the completion of Galesburg’s 18-hole golf course the Galesburg City Council named the course in honor of its architect Dwight Carpenter Bunker.

Dwight Bunker, usually known and called "Bunk" was not only considered the father of Galesburg Golf, but also was the custodian of the park system for over thirteen years. Following a boyhood where he was raised in Galesburg he was recognized as an outstanding athlete and one of the most proficient golfers in the area.

Following the death of his father in 1897, Bunk assumed management of the Bunker Shoe Store located in the 100 Block of East Main Street in Downtown Galesburg. He sold the popular shoe store in 1923 and was immediately appointed as Director of the entire Park System. One if his inherited responsibilities was to complete the development and construction of Galesburg’s first municipal golf course and the rest is history.

It should also be noted that Mr. Bunker was also the main architect and developer of both the Soangetaha and Lake Bracken Golf Courses.

 
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