The Glen Oaks Club was formed in 1924 by a group of twenty-five men who purchased 165 acres from the estate of William K. Vanderbilt on the Nassau-Queens border. The property was south of Lake Success, with the old Motor Parkway forming its southeastern border. Included was the Vanderbilt Mansion, high on a hilltop, which became their clubhouse.
The club's original golf course was designed by Wilfred H. "Pipe" Follett, an English-born graduate of Oxford who apprenticed under Devereux Emmet. His course was a scenic beauty, carved through virgin forest over terrain that in part was quite hilly.
When the Northern State Parkway was constructed in 1927, the right of way cut through club property. Some forty acres were condemned, and another 18 acres north of the road, including the clubhouse site, were isolated from the remainder of club grounds. This necessitated a restructuring of the golf course and a new clubhouse. A two-story Georgian building with a gabled portico was built at the western end of the property, on the highest point in queens, overlooking the new parkway. The main building included 12 guest rooms on the second floor, and there were an additional 18 bachelor rooms above the men's locker room. The clubhouse was unveiled in 1927 with a gala dinner-dance, with Jimmy Walker, the mayor of New York, the featured speaker.
When the United States entered the Second World War, the Glen Oaks Club property, located across Lakeville Road from the Sperry Corporation, became a very sensitive site, and was taken over by the government. The surviving 130 members leased the financially-troubled Lakeville Club, and played there for the remainder of the war. After the war, they returned to their original site, after having nearly doubled in number.
After the war, the Glen Oaks Club enjoyed a period of relative stability. The 3800-family Glen Oaks Village complex was built beyond the western border in 1949, and in 1955 the club welcomed a new neighbor to its south, Long Island Jewish Hospital. The clubhouse was altered extensively in 1957 to add a new cocktail lounge and dining area.
By the late 1960's, the need for more extensive facilities was apparent, and there was no room to expand at the Queens location. In 1968, the club sold the property (the North Shore Towers complex was built on the site), and purchased a 250-acre tract in Old Westbury, part of the Winthrop Estate, that had been planted as an arboretum.
Glen Oaks Club engaged Joe Finger, who built "The Monster" at the Concord Hotel, to build 27 holes. Work started in 1970, and the new course was playable by Labor Day of 1971, when the club was forced to vacate its old quarters.
Construction of the new clubhouse started in 1971, but was not close to completion by Labor Day. For the remainder of that season, the club used two rental trailers as makeshift locker and dining facilities. The new clubhouse was ready by May of 1972. The building consists basically of just one floor, spread over 110,000 feet. Club facilities also include 7 tennis courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a 20,000 square foot patio overlooking the picturesque finishing holes on two of the three courses.
Over the years many areas of the clubhouse have been updated, including the locker rooms, main dining room, kitchen, mixed grille, main bar, men's card room, sports bar, ladies card room and pool. The club plans to continue renovating and updating the facility.
The Glen Oaks Club golf course remained mainly unchanged from 1972 – 2011. In the fall of 2011 the club began a renovation of all 27 holes which was completed in 2014, including a new short game practice area. The results have been outstanding as the course has been reinvented and modernized. It has a beautiful new look that presents a great challenge to golfers of all abilities along with world class playing conditions.
In recent years the club has hosted qualifying for the men's 2008 U.S. Open Championship and hosted the Met PGA Championship in 2008 and 2014. In 2016, Glen Oaks hosted the Met Open and in 2017 the club was host to the Northern Trust Golf Tournament, part of the Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs.