By Dave Senko, Champions Tour staff
The winner of 20 PGA TOUR titles and 45 more on the Champions Tour, World Golf Hall of Famer Hale Irwin and his wife, Sally, called the St. Louis area home for nearly 30 years before relocating to the Phoenix area a few years ago. While residing in the St. Louis area, Irwin held the annual Hale Irwin St. Louis Children's Hospital Golf Benefit for more than two decades, which helped raise funds that eventually built the Hale Irwin Center for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Dave Senko caught up with Irwin to talk about the St. Louis area and what it has to offer.
What Makes the St. Louis Area Special – There are several great things about living in the St. Louis area. From a business standpoint, the city and area is centrally located making it easy for business people to travel to either coast as well as to major cities from St. Louis. It is also a very traditional city with many different neighborhoods and ethnic areas. It allows people who may have come here from other places or other countries to maintain their roots. It’s that kind of city. We’ve seen over the years where kids have gone away to college in another area and have come back and put down their roots back here after being away.
Golf Courses – The St. Louis area has a number of fine golf courses both public and private. Among the popular public courses are The Courses at Forest Park (at right)), a 27-hole facility in St. Louis. It is renowned as “The best city golf course in Mid-America”. Missouri Bluffs Golf Club in nearby St. Charles is considered one of the best championship courses in the state of Missouri. The Tom Fazio design was named the third-best public course when it opened in 1995 by Golf Digest and was home to a Web.com Tour event in 1997 and 1998. Another favorite is Quail Creek in St. Louis which is considered one of the most difficult tests in the area. Those looking for private clubs have several to choose from, including Bellerive Country Club, site of this year’s Senior PGA Championship. The club has also hosted other major championships like the 1992 PGA Championship and the 2004 U.S. Senior Open. Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, a Robert Trent Jones design, is another club that has served as host of championship events, including the 1971 Ryder Cup and the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Two other fine courses are St. Louis Country Club and Norwood Hills Country Club.
Things to Do in St. Louis – St. Louis offers a wide variety of things to do to satisfy interests of young and old from sporting events to day trips in the area. For sports fans we have our St. Louis Cardinals, the winners of 11 World Series, playing in Busch Stadium which opened in 2006. Football fans can follow the St. Louis Rams and for hockey fans we have the St. Louis Blues. One of the most popular places for area residents and visitors to enjoy is Forest Park. The park is the home of the St. Louis Zoo, The Science Center, the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Art Museum. In addition, visitors can take advantage of hiking, boating, biking and running trails. Visitors can spend a few hours or a full day at the park. Another great place for families to visit is Grant’s Farm south of St. Louis. Admission here is free and it is home to hundreds of animals as well as the famous Budweiser Clydesdales (pictured). St. Louis is home of Budweiser and a visit to the Budweiser Brewery is also a popular spot. For those who enjoy wine, a nice day trip is just a few miles west from St. Louis across the Missouri River to the Augusta area. It is home of the Missouri Wine Country.
Dining – St. Louis residents and visitors can have their choice of an array of restaurants and food choices. One of the most popular and well-known spots is Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield. The restaurant has won numerous awards for its food and wine. Reservations are recommended. Some of my other favorites are J. Bucks with locations in downtown St. Louis and Clayton, The Crossing in Clayton and Almonds, also in Clayton. Another award-winning restaurant is Robust in Webster Groves, and is well known for its wine list. While visiting Forest Park, a popular lunch spot is The Boathouse, a casual dining spot in the park. For a wonderful view of the downtown area, Three Sixty is a popular spot. Visitors get a 360 degree view from the restaurant, including a bird’s eye-view into Busch Stadium. A trip to St. Louis would not be complete without a stop at Ted Drewes for their famous custard with locations on South Grand Blvd., and Chippewa. They have been serving custard for more than 80 years in the St. Louis area.