Monday, February 25, 2013

St. Andrew's Scores Numerous Golf Firsts

Here are a few historical facts about St. Andrew's Golf Club in Hastings, NY, guaranteed to astound your friends and golf trivia fanatics:

 • Saint Andrew’s is the oldest continuously existing golf club in the United States, established on November 14, 1888.

The first photograph of golf in America.
Harry Holbrook, A.P.W. Kinnan, J.B. Upham, and John Reid
 with caddies Warren and Frederic Holbrook at St. Andrew’s.
photo courtesy of the club
The first photograph of golf in America was taken at Saint Andrew’s in 1888.

The first recorded mixed foursome in America was played at Saint Andrew’s. Mrs. John Reid, paired with J. B. Upham, defeated the team of Miss Carrie Law and John Reid on March 30, 1889.

The first known American golf “clubhouse” with its rudimentary “19th hole” (the famous apple tree) was established at Saint Andrew’s in 1892.

Saint Andrew’s was a participant in the first inter-club team matches played in the US on October 9, 1894, along with Tuxedo (host), Brookline, and Shinnecock Hills. Saint Andrew’s tied for first place with Brookline but was unable to stay another day for a play-off, since the first US Amateur/US Foursome/US Open tournaments (October 11-13) were beginning in two days time at Saint Andrew’s.

Saint Andrew’s was the host of the first U.S. Amateur Championship, held under match-play format (as all the UK tournaments of the period were conducted), in 1894.*  The first U.S. Amateur Championship was won by a Saint Andrew’s member, L. B. Stoddart, in 1894.*

Saint Andrew’s hosted the first US Open Championship, in 1894.*

Saint Andrew’s hosted the first U.S. Foursome (two players per team playing alternate shots) Tournament, in 1894.  Held in conjunction with the above-mentioned U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open championships, this event was short-lived on the national scene.

The team of L.B. Stoddart and J.B. Upham from Saint Andrew’s won the inaugural US Foursomes Tournament, 1894. They defeated another Saint Andrew’s pair, T.C. Ten Eyk and W.E. Hodgeman, in the all-Saint Andrew’s final.

Saint Andrew’s member/official Henry O. Tallmadge suggested and organized the December 22, 1894, meeting of five golf clubs at the Calumet Club in NYC, which resulted in today’s USGA.

Saint Andrew’s published the first Club Yearbook (or Club Handbook) in the U.S. containing a list of members, officers of the club, the various committees, and constitution and by-laws, in 1895.

The first golf club in the U.S. formed by women was the Saegkill Golf Club, organized by Saint Andrew’s women (Mrs. John Reid among them), in 1895.

Saint Andrew’s organized and funded the first U.S. Public Links Tournament at Van Courtlandt Park (the first public course in the U.S.), with a field of 50 golfers officiated by John Reid, in 1896. This tournament was “for players who did not belong to a club in the United States Golf Association.”

Saint Andrew’s member Charles E. Sands won the first-prize gold medal for golf at the Paris Olympic Games in 1900, the first year golf was included in the Olympic Games.

*These championships are regarded by some as unofficial, as they were held prior to the formation of the USGA the following year. However, there is no dispute that they were the first amateur and open national golf championships ever held in the U.S.

For more Westchester golf history, check out the May issue of Westchester and Hudson Valley Magazines.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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