January 29, 2022

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125 Years After the First Faculty Golf Match, a Rematch

125 Years After the First College Golf Match, a Rematch

On a fall day in 1896, a bunch of Yale college students, caught up in a brand new sports activities craze known as golf, traveled from their New Haven, Conn., campus by practice and stagecoach to a course north of New York Metropolis — one of many few golf equipment within the nation on the time — to tackle some chaps from Columbia.

In what turned the primary intercollegiate match within the nation, Yale swept Columbia, with all six golfers profitable their matches.

Earlier this month, after 125 years, Columbia lastly bought its rematch.

“That is a unprecedented day for our recreation — the collegiate recreation was born 125 years in the past,” Columbia’s present coach, Wealthy Mueller, mentioned to the 2 groups gathered on the observe inexperienced of the Saint Andrew’s Golf Membership in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Sure, the primary school golf match was performed between two Ivy League groups which have not often cracked the highest 100 Division I colleges in many years.

After all, these have been totally different occasions in school sports activities. For many years after the primary intercollegiate soccer recreation was performed by Princeton and Rutgers in 1869, Ivy League soccer groups would stay athletic powerhouses making nationwide headlines.

Equally, in school golf, the 1896 match signaled the start of Ivy dominance. The next 12 months, the primary school nationwide championships have been held, and practically each staff and particular person title by means of 1930 was received by an Ivy League college — particularly Yale, whose 21 nationwide titles are nonetheless probably the most of any school.

Credit score…The New York Instances

This was lengthy earlier than huge warm-weather state colleges like Houston (16 nationwide titles) and Oklahoma (11) loved dominant eras after the N.C.A.A. took over the nationwide championships in 1939 and have become feeders for the P.G.A. Tour.

The Yale males’s golf coach, Colin Sheehan, who loves his golf historical past, lately got here throughout two New York Instances articles from 1896 overlaying the Yale-Columbia match, which he promptly talked about to Mueller.

The coaches organized a commemorative replaying of this match that turned the crucible of intercollegiate golf, to get their gamers fired up about school golf historical past and traditions, and to make for some spirited competitors.

The unique match was performed on Nov. 6, 1896, at the Ardsley Casino, which had opened the earlier 12 months as one of many nation’s first 18-hole programs and whose members included outstanding financiers comparable to Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt and J. Pierpont Morgan.

The membership, now known as the Ardsley Nation Membership, in close by Dobbs Ferry, was not out there to host the match this fall. And due to logistical issues with the unique date, the coaches scheduled the match for Oct. 22 at Saint Andrew’s, which is Columbia’s dwelling course and has its personal place in golf historical past.

Based in 1888, the membership claims to be the oldest frequently working golf membership within the nation (although a number of golf equipment make claims to varied variations of this title) and is among the 5 golf equipment that in 1894 based the US Golf Affiliation.

In truth, Columbia and Yale have had many rematches over time, with Yale profitable most, however each groups now largely play a tournament-only schedule as an alternative of head-to-head matches.

So that they agreed to play this one as an unofficial scrimmage. Nonetheless, the significance of this momentous problem match appeared to register with the gamers as they pulled as much as the membership not in stagecoaches however in smooth passenger vans.

They filed out wearing vibrant golf shirts, baseball hats and khakis or shorts — a far cry from their 1896 counterparts, who wore knickers, monogrammed blazers, tweed caps, costume shirts and bow ties.

The 1896 groups performed their greatest six gamers in a holes-won format, with the victor being the staff with probably the most whole holes received by all gamers. The coaches determined to maintain that now-obscure format for the rematch and to play their full beginning lineups of seven gamers every.

An official on the primary tee — Mueller’s son, Kurt, 9 — introduced every twosome together with the names of the 1896 golfers who performed within the respective group.

In a single group, William Sung, 18, a Columbia freshman, was paired in opposition to Yale’s Darren Lin, 21, a senior.

Their counterparts 125 years in the past have been Yale’s Roderick Terry Jr. and Columbia’s G.C. Pier. Terry beat his opponent 7-0 and carded an 88, the day’s lowest rating. It was additionally a formidable feat, provided that Terry and his teammates have been hitting rubberlike gutta percha balls with handmade wooden-shafted golf equipment that, as an alternative of numbers, bore names like brassie, niblick, spoon and cleek.

As for Lin and Sung, each grew up in California competing in junior golf tournaments and honing their swings with the assistance of high educating professionals, video aids and varied studying instruments. On the course, they use vary finders that give precise yardage to a goal.

“It’s cool to see how far golf has come. It’s actually surreal how essential the know-how has grow to be,” mentioned Sung, whose driver had a head made from aerospace titanium.

In 1896, golf was simply starting to take root in the US and had solely lately “discovered its manner among the many faculties,” as a preview of the match in The Instances famous.

A second Instances article, recapping the match, detailed how Yale blanked the fledgling Columbia squad 35-0. The victorious Yale gamers every acquired a “First Intercollegiate Golf Meet” medal.

Columbia’s defeat was no shock. Situated in Manhattan, Columbia had no dwelling course and had solely pulled a staff collectively weeks earlier than the match. Its star participant, talked about in an 1896 Columbia Spectator article as L. Tappin, was “off his recreation” and misplaced by 4 holes as his staff was “overwhelmed by a big rating however nonetheless didn’t shame themselves.”

“They have been principally bringing a knife to a gunfight,” Mueller mentioned. “You’ll be able to think about how quiet that stagecoach journey again was for Columbia.”

So this time, the Columbia males have been enjoying “with the burden of historical past on their shoulders,” he mentioned.

“We bought such an enormous butt-kicking the primary time round,” he mentioned. “A few of my guys mentioned they have been by no means extra nervous than on that first tee.”

The superior Yale staff grew out of an explosion in golf recognition in New Haven coupled with the 1895 opening of the New Haven Golf Membership close to campus.

Yale had dozens of golfers on its staff, and the beginning six was stocked with expert gamers from outstanding golf households, together with John Reid Jr. and F.C. Havemeyer, whose fathers helped discovered the united statesG.A.

Reid Jr. received his match in opposition to Columbia by 10 holes and would win the primary Yale particular person nationwide title in 1898. He was the son of John Reid, a Scottish immigrant who helped discovered Saint Andrew’s in 1888 as a three-hole observe in a cow pasture in Yonkers.

The elder Reid’s previous golf golf equipment are displayed within the John Reid Room at Saint Andrew’s within the authentic clubhouse the place members like Andrew Carnegie and Stanford White relaxed, mentioned Rick Powers, a member of the membership’s historic committee.

Ivy League athletic dominance, together with golf, ultimately light as huge state faculties outdoors of the Northeast grew in stature and the Ivies prioritized teachers over athletics.

“I joke that everybody on the staff is right here as a result of Conrad Ray didn’t make them a suggestion,” Sheehan mentioned of the lads’s golf coach at Stanford, the golf powerhouse the place Tiger Woods performed.

Yale continues to be a dominant pressure within the Ivies, and regardless of its unfamiliarity with Saint Andrew’s, it had its moments within the latest match. There was Ben Carpenter’s difficult up-and-down from simply off the inexperienced to win the sixteenth gap and Lin’s again 9 comeback that included a chip-in on 18 to edge out Sung, 1-0.

However in the long run, the day belonged to Columbia, whose 15-2 victory rubbed some balm on that 125-year-old spanking.

Seeing his staff rise to the historic second, Mueller mentioned later, was “by far the proudest second in my 22 years of teaching.”

That evening, he mentioned, he texted his gamers that the Columbia chaps from 1896 can be proud.

“Although they’re lifeless now,” he wrote, “I’m additionally sure that tonight they’re smiling down upon you all basking within the redemption.”

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