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Yale GC: A Short History

Alex Eppler in the Yale Daily News files a nice story on the history of CB Macdonald and Seth Raynor's splendid but long-neglected Yale Golf Club design.

The course is seeing a maintenance resurgence verified by the awarding of a 2015 NCAA regional.

In 1923, the widow of former Bulldog football captain Ray Tompkins 1884 bestowed Yale with a sizable donation to be used for the University’s athletic programs. The University purchased a 700-acre swath of land close to Yale’s campus that golf course architect Charles Blair Macdonald once described as forest, rock and muck.

Eighty-nine years later, one of the country’s premier college golf courses occupies that area. Ranked by Golfweek as the No. 1 campus course for the past three years, the course at Yale will play host to an NCAA regional tournament for the fifth time in its history in 2015. Director of Golf Operations Peter Pulaski said the course stands as a prime example of early American golf architecture.

“It remains a very relevant, challenging test of golf for college golfers,” men’s golf team head coach Colin Sheehan ’97 said. “It really was one of the landmark courses from that golden age of design.”

Ran Morrissett's 2008 review of Yale includes a nice photo tour during the fall.

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Reader Comments (14)

Here's hoping they have an all day online feed of the 9th.
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric
A more detailed history of the course is available in the book GOLF AT YALE. See
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGate74
Playing it in May - can't freaking wait.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
The feed from the 9th would be interesting to watch.

Yale GC should be on everyone's list to play in the northeast. It is simply a wonderful collection of golf shots. The interest in the approach shots to, and putting on the greens can easily match and exceeds most of the other MacDonald / Raynor courses.

By the way, Colin Sheehan published a superb 3 volume collection of his interviews with every living US Amateur champion except for one. It is one of the many fine publications by Classics of Golf, " The United States Amateur, the History and Personal Recollections of Its Champions".

And, if you don't have time to play, stop by and grab a sandwich and pint at the golf shop, and look at all the fine aerial photographs of Raynor / MacDonald golf courses displayed in the men's locker room. I sincerely offer no apologies for plugging Yale GC or Mr. Sheehan's book.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjstiles
Colin is a golf pimp
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
I was lucky enough to have a friend you was in Yale Graduate school about 20+ years ago...he would get us on, with me as a "student" for $6!!!

It remains one of my favorite courses I've ever is truly monumental in scale, and just loads of fun. Also nice to play a course on 300+ acres without any condos, homes or roads lining the course.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterManku
Rick, be sure to get 10 hours sleep the night before, Yale is a steep physical test if walking. Waaaay harder than Bethpage Black. I also hope you are playing with someone that knows the course intimately because there are a lot of shots that require prior experience/knowledge.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Del -thanks for the advice - I am sure we will be walking. I'm giving a seminar at Yale and will be escorted by a long-time faculty member. To say I am looking forward to it would be a serious understatement! Plus, my nephew is heading off to Williams College next year and I'll get to play Taconic. It is fun to play other university courses around the USA....
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
Rick, I can't wait to go back now that I know where everything is! All the other things I mentioned were working against me too. Played with some real hacks (good buddies, but hacks none the less), had no idea where to hit certain shots, and was exhausted even before starting to boot (that part was my fault;). It one was of the few times where I wished I had ridden!

You will love it. The sheer size and scale of the place is unreal.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
such a terrific course!
11.8.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Rick, when you are there tell someone you know a biology-type who really needs to give a talk in the Kline Biology Tower...or the medical school. Either will do.
11.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I grew up in Westville a few blocks from the course.
Caddied there as a young kid in the early sixties.
For those who are familiar with the course I did a double bag 18 twice a day.
Best loop...Jackie Robinson
11.9.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrob
As C.B.Macdonald's great grandson, I am delighted that Yale is finally getting the recognition it so justly deserves. It is a great testament to those that have worked so hard to bring it up to speed, which includes Colin Sheehan, who I have had the priveledge of exchanging correspondence over the past year. I look forward to watching the 2015 NCAAs.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert M. Young
Ky - I'll be happy to make the suggestion. With any luck they will listen to me!
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ

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