It all began with two traveling Kansas City salesmen, Charles Babb and Max Pehl, in the fall of 1916. Their dream was a golf club with no fewer than 50 members, an initiation fee of $50.00, as well as annual dues of $50.00. As they headed southwest on what was then known as the Strang Line, they came across a 480-acre bluegrass farm belonging to Judge John Foster and his wife, Mary. During the early stages of their negotiations to lease 160 acres, they learned Mrs. Foster's maiden name was Milburn. Mary was related to George Milburn who bought the property in 1880. George's family made Milburn wagons and they were related to the Studebakers, who invented the famous Studebaker automobile. At once they decided on the name The Milburn Golf & Country Club.
The Club was officially organized in February 1917 and established its founding officers:
- Charles Babb, President
- Max Pehl, Vice President
- Warren C. Hill, Secretary, Treasurer
- Gus M. Wise, Board Member
- T. E. Johnston, Board Member
- Col. C. Lechtman, Board Member
- W. A. R. Summers, Board Member
- O. H. Williams, Board Member
- Judge D. H. Cecil, Board Member
The original course featured a 9-hole layout with a small stone station used as the pro shop, clubhouse and snack bar. Soon after opening with a full membership and waiting list, the Board decided to bring William Boyce Langford, the noted golf architect of Chicago, to get his ideas on an 18-hole course. About this time the Board hired Harry Robb, Sr. as the Club's first golf professional. Born in Montrose, Scotland, Robb was introduced to golf at age 15 as an apprentice club maker. After five years, he achieved professional status and came to America. He was hired as an Assistant Pro at the Houston Country Club and a year later as head pro at the Hutchinson Country Club. Robb also helped layout courses in Great Bend, Dodge City and Iola. By the time he arrived at Milburn, Robb's golfing reputation had spread widely throughout the Midwest.
W.B. Langford and Harry Robb, Sr. shaped the destiny of Milburn and ensured its longevity. In 1926, the members decided they wanted a true championship course and hired the firm of Smith and Harrison. They installed 18 new bentgrass greens, new tees and 85 sand traps. The clubhouse was also rebuilt at this time. The final design renovation was completed by Floyd Farley, golf club architect, in the early 1960's. Throughout his time at Milburn, Harry Robb, Sr. worked hard to make Kansas City, and especially Milburn, a regular stop on the PGA Tour. In 1949, the Kansas City Open became a reality.
Milburn has hosted a number of prestigious events throughout its history including:
- Missouri Men's Senior Amateur
- Men's Missouri State Amateur - Won by Tom Watson
- Kansas State Amateur - Won by Jim Colbert
Milburn is also one of the most often used courses for local qualifiers for the U.S. Open, and the alternate year schedule for the final sectional U.S. Open Qualifier. John Daly qualified for his first U.S. Open at the 1991 Sectional.
Milburn members who have gone onto golf honors include:
- Mike Peck, Played in the PGA Tour
- Cathy Marino, Played in the LPGA Tour
Today, Milburn continues to be an outstanding championship course with remodeled greens and green banks. Our rich history and proud membership make Milburn one of the finest golfing tests in the Kansas City area.