Long Island Golf Club Histories – originally published June 2006
We all know of the most famous of the Long Island courses, Shinnecock Hills; but the richness of Long Island golf is both broad and deep. Consider that Bobby Jones won his first major championship at Inwood on Long Island in 1923; That the U.S.G.A. has held eight U.S. Opens on Long Island and the P.G.A. five championships. A recommended book to get a good overview of the richness of Long Island golf is America’s Linksland: A Century of Long Island Golf published in 2002, written by William Quirin. It includes a chapter on the now lost Lido course built by Charles Blair Macdonald. During its day it was frequently described along with Pine Valley as the best course in the nation. Also by Quirin is Golf Clubs of the MGA which gives a history of the 118 golf courses on Long Island and for many includes multiple color pictures. Both are recommended.
The Garden City Golf Club located in the middle of the famed island is a throw-back in time. This all-male club feels like it hasn’t changed a day since it opened in 1899. Garden City hosted the U.S. Open in 1902 the U.S. Amateur four times and the Walker Cup in 1924.
The first Garden City history published was Golden Anniversary: The Garden City Golf Club: 1899-1949 by H.B. Martin. Published by the club in 1949 the book is 71 pages. The green cloth/white cover with gilt lettering and club logo is illustrated below. The book was limited to 600 hand numbered copies. The book contains black and white illustrations only and includes one full page facsimile of a letter from Bobby Jones.
Seventy-Fifth Anniversary: The Garden City Golf Club: 1899-1974 was authored by Neal Fulkerson and John T. Thacher and was published by the club in 1974. It is a limited edition of 1,000, hand-numbered. The book is 60 pages but curiously page numbers stop at page 49. The book has the same cover as the 1949 history but with the colors changed to blue/white cloth with silver lettering.
The Garden City Club: A History by William Quirin and Tom Doak was published in 1999 by the club. This is also a limited edition of 1500 produced in a green cloth with gilt lettering and the club logo is also in gilt. This is one of the best golf club histories ever produced. The back of the book has a photographic essay in color. The rest of the book is in black and white, which serves as a nice differentiator to the color spread in the back. It was printed on a heavy cotton paper and is a special book if you can find it.
Although geographically separated from the main island of Long Island, Fishers Island is part of the Suffolk County, NY and thus part of Long Island. Fishers Island is one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world.
Sixty-Seven Years of the Fishers Island Club Golf Links 1926-1993 by Charles B. Ferguson, was published in 1993 by the club. It was published in both a special edition of 100, signed, and a total edition of 500. The book is illustrated below and is blue cloth with gilt lettering and the gilt club logo. The special edition is signed by Richard W. Goss III, President and Charlie Arnold, golf chairman, on the forward page.
Fishers Island Club and its Golf Links: The First 75 Years 1926-2001 by Charles B. Ferguson and Pierce Rafferty was published in 2000. It is 118 pages and was produced with a green dust jacket in blue cloth with a gilt club logo. This second edition of the club history was limited to 2,000 of which 200 are numbered and signed by the authors. The book includes pictures of the old clubhouse, which has since burned down, which looked great. The book includes a hole by hole photographic account of the course. Page 40 contains an over-pasted color photo of the 13th, 12th, 11th and 10th holes which you can see underneath this corrected an error where the original caption didn’t mention the 10th green.
One of A.W. Tillinghast’s best designs is Bethpage Black. A fantastic course that is under-served in the club history department. A recent book written by John Feinstein in 2000 covers the recent U.S. Open at Bethpage: Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black.
The Story Of The Fresh Meadow Country Club by Josselyn M. Shore was published in 1985 in green fabric with gilt lettering to cover. Fresh Meadow is an interesting course on Long Island with a great pedigree, designed by H.S. Colt and Charles Alison. The original Fresh Meadow Country Club located in Flushing, in what is now Queens, NY was designed by A.W. Tillinghast. It hosted the 1932 U.S. Open, won by the legendary Gene Sarazen and the 1930 PGA Championship, won by Tommy Armour. Sadly, it was destroyed in the 1940s to make way for a housing development. Sarazen served for a time as the club pro at Fresh Meadow. In his historic volume The Story of American Golf, Herbert Warren Wind, mentions Fresh Meadow no less than seven times. The course hosted many sports and movie celebrities over the years including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Joe Lewis. Although Bobby Jones had given up competitive golf by 1932, he did play in a U.S. Open practice round at Fresh Meadow. This is a rare and underappreciated golf club history that covers both the lost course and the current course.
Bobby Jones won the U.S. Open at Inwood in 1923 and Walter Hagen won the PGA championship there in 1921. Two histories have been published on Inwood. Fiftieth Anniversary: Inwood Country Club 1901-1951 was edited by Morton Wild and published by the club in 1951. Inwood Country Club 1901-1976 was edited by Marilyn M. Kahn, and was published in 1976. The course is still in existence and is located across the bay from JFK airport.
The Creek, located in Locust Valley was designed by C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor in 1923. The Creek: a pause along the way, 1923-1988 was published in 1988, written by William Quirin.
Westhampton Country Club
Another Seth Raynor design located on Long Island is the Westhampton Country Club. Two club histories have been published on Westhampton. The first, A History of the Westhampton Country Club was written by Standish F. Medina in 1955. And the second, Westhampton Country Club: A 100 Year History by Hampton P. Howell, Jr. was written in 1990.
Located in Bridgehampton and designed by Rees Jones in 1992, the Atlantic Golf Club history is Miracle On Breeze Hill The Making Of Atlantic Golf Club was published By The American Golfer in 2002 and was written by Lowell Schulman.