In 1913 the club was born out of a split in the membership of the exclusive Euclid Golf Club, which was located on property owned by John D. Rockefeller at the top of Cedar Hill. Euclid members, J.B. Zerbe and Judge Dwane E. Tilden approached O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen seeking to build a golf course and clubhouse in the Village of Shaker Heights. Both of the Van Sweringen brothers became founding members and served on the original House Committee.
On May 29, 1915 the original clubhouse formally opened with a dinner dance attended by 500 of Cleveland's society. Frank B. Mead, Cleveland's leading architect at the time, designed the clubhouse.
The search for a golf course architect took sharp focus upon a young Scotsman named Donald J. Ross. Ross had quickly gained the reputation as America's leading craftsman. When Ross viewed Shaker's property he agreed to design the golf course. Completion of the golf course took about 23 months. Donald Ross designed many of the most famous golf courses in the world including: Pinehurst #2, Seminole, Scioto, Inverness and Aronimink.
On May 31, 1915 the first golf swings were taken on Shaker's front nine. The first 18-hole scores were recorded on July 4, 1915 when the lower nine holes opened for play.