The Golf Course at Black River: the Evolution of a Golden Age Links (ebook)
Oscar Mueller and Fred Riggin Build Their Dream
History of a classic 1920s Golden Age golf course originally designed by Wilfrid Reid, then pro at the CC of Detroit and later architect of Indianwood site of the 1930 Western open won by Gene Sarazen. Redesigned later by an Irish immigrant pro, and still later by Indiana Amateur Champion and founding member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, William Diddel. The course was founded by Oscar Mueller, winner of the first automobile race in the U.S. and leader in the Illinois family brass and auto parts business. He was sole owner of the Port Huron Michigan Mueller Co. having started it with Fred rigging, another Illinois native, in 1917 as a munitions firm producing shell casings for the U.S. in WWI. In a classic story of ego and early feminism, he decide to build the course when his daughter wasn't allowed to play before noon on Saturday at his local club. The daughter died tragically on her honeymoon and never played the course. The course became the site for many state tournaments including the Michigan Open and four Michigan Amateurs that involved many of the leading pros and amateurs of the day. They included major champions Tommy Armour, Denny Shute, Masters' winner Horton Smith, native son Walter Burkemo winner of the 1953 PGA, and Michigan's all-time amateur great Chuck Kocsis. Walker Cup team member Kocsis played the course annually in the club's Invitational tournament. When Mueller retired after his only son also died in an automobile accident, Fred Riggin took his place as both the head of the company and golf club. He led the club during its glory days as one of the leading clubs in the Detroit District during the post war 1940s and 50s. The history of the club is told with drawings and photos going back to 1918 including engineered surveys of the course in the 1920s. 30s, and 40s as well as many historical photos taken of and at the club.