Course History

It took three visionaries—a landscape architect, a real estate developer and a golf professional—to discover the potential of the land now known as Bull Valley Golf Club. Harry Vignocchi, the late Russell Ray, and Steve Sidari collaborated to create the 18-hole championship course by carefully overlaying fairways on parts of nature undisturbed since the glacial age.

Unlike the vast majority of flatland prairie and forest that fell to the settlers' plows and axes, the 500 acres of Bull Valley Golf Club preserves remnants of ancient Illinois. From the last glacial advance 10,000 years ago, the site of our 12th tee (a 1,010 foot high terminal moraine) gave up its secret only to an occasional deer, or a passing Mesquaki or Potawatomi. A lone Mesquaki using this aerie as a lookout for friend or foe could only have guessed he was camping on the highest point between the great lake to the east and the father waters to the west.

Ceded by Mesquaki was chief Blackhawk to the U.S. Government in 1833, this moraine hill and the land around it was immediately claimed by homesteaders, and the settlers of Bull Valley. James G. Dufield, a farmer and dairyman, staked his claim and in 1841 was issued a letter of patent granting 240 acres to him, his heirs and assigns forever by President John Tyler. Soon Issac Torbert, Abraham Bondine McConnell and others followed.

These settlers broke the prairie sod on the flatlands to harvest small grains and fodder their herds. The dairymen flourished making cheese for sale sixty miles southeast in the growing metropolis of Chicago, the burgeoning rail hub for the nation.

But in that difficult terrain of moraine hills, wet prairie and rocky perched fen, row-crop farming was impossible and the topography made even dairy grazing difficult. Prize milk cows could get lost in the forested dells or in the six-foot prairie grass which covered the hills and ravines carved by glaciers centuries ago. By common consent of dairymen and their heirs, these inaccessible parts of the valley were set aside for grazing bulls needed only once a year for maintenance of the dairy stock. These settlers bequeathed an inadvertent treasure to all of us: remnants of nature as only the Mesquaki and Potawatomi knew it.

Bull Valley Golf Club is blessed with an abundance of natural elements that come into play on every hole. A kaleidoscope of features from native Illinois flowers, oaks and hickory, to wetlands, prairie and a rare perched fen provide golfers a truly memorable shot-making course.

Now Bull Valley Golf Club is your private legacy to play and enjoy...


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Bull Valley Golf Club | 1311 Club Road | Woodstock, IL 60098 | P. (815) 337-4411
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