The original Frank James-designed Overlake Golf Club opened in 1927. James and his partner, William Henry Tucker, designed such early layouts as Olympia Country & Golf Club, Sand Point Country Club, and Jackson Park Golf Course. Overlake was in full swing as a social and sporting scene for Eastsiders and Seattleites, many of whom arrived by small boat or ferry, until 1935 when the Great Depression forced the Club's closure.
The two owners who bought the site following the original Club's demise converted the course into pastureland for horses and Hereford Cattle. Norton Clapp then acquired the property. Clapp had known about the previous course and met with some local men who wanted to create another golf club. In 1952, Clapp agreed that another private golf club was needed and agreed to lease the 132-acre site to the newly re-formed Overlake Golf & Country Club.