National Golf Links of America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Club information
LocationSouthampton, New York
Total holes18
Tournaments hostedWalker Cup (1922, 2013)
Designed byCharles B. Macdonald
Length6,873 yards
Course rating73.6

National Golf Links of America is a prestigious links-style golf course in Southampton, New York, located on Long Island between Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and Peconic Bay. Though the course is noted for hosting the initial Walker Cup in 1922, which the United States won 8 and 4, it has never hosted a major men's championship.[1] The Walker Cup was again held at the National in 2013.[2] The private club has been called "America's snootiest golf course" due to its exclusive nature.[3]


Windmill at National as viewed from Shinnecock Hills

The course was designed by Charles B. Macdonald, who had been schooled at the University of St Andrews in Scotland during the 1870s. Macdonald was introduced to golf at St. Andrews old course, playing many rounds there with Tom Morris, Sr. and Tom Morris, Jr., both of whom were multiple winners of the Open Championship, founded in 1860 as the first major championship in golf.

Macdonald, the founder and original designer of the Chicago Golf Club, had been paired with John Shippen, an African American, in the 1896 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Following the event, he quit Shinnecock and founded the new club.[4] He set out to design a course that would rival the prominent golf courses located abroad, looking at potential sites in Cape Cod and Napeague before settling on a plot of land on Sebonac Neck next to Peconic Bay.[5] Macdonald relied on his extensive knowledge of Britain's finest holes, using them as templates for his new course.

The course was constructed adjacent to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and now also borders Sebonack Golf Club, which opened in 2006.[6] Construction of the golf course was supervised by Seth Raynor, a local civil engineer from Long Island who went on to design several golf courses of his own, including the Fishers Island Club.[7]

Jarvis Hunt designed the club house that overlooks Peconic Bay

When it opened in 1911, the course was called the National Golf Links of America because its 67 founding members, which included Robert Bacon, George W. Baxter, Urban H. Broughton, Charles Deering, James Deering, Findlay S. Douglas, Henry Clay Frick, Elbert Henry Gary, Clarence Mackay, De Lancey Nicoll, James A. Stillman, Walter Travis, and William Kissam Vanderbilt II, resided in various parts of the United States.[8] The clubhouse was designed by Jarvis Hunt, one of the club's founding members.[9][10] James Hepburn—one of the founding members of the PGA of America—served as one of the early head professionals, working at the club from 1914 until 1928.[11] There is a small bar half-way round the course which contains P.G. Wodehouse memorabilia, and the course is mentioned, surprisingly negatively, in the preface to The Heart of a Goof short story collection.

The National Golf Links of America was selected as the host of the 2013 Walker Cup in September 2008.[12] In 2009, "The National" was ranked 15th in Golf Digest's list of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses.[13]

The current head golf professional is Jim Morris.

On April 18th, 2018 the right wing of the building caught fire, but was extinguished by local fire departments causing minimal damage to the exterior.

Course design[edit]

National Golf Links of America is laid out over 250 acres (1.0 km2).[5] The course is a par 72 and plays 6,873 yards (6,285 m) from the back tees.[14] Many of the holes were patterned from famous golf courses in the British Isles and adapted to fit the local setting:

  • The 2nd hole, named "Sahara", is a par four modeled after the 3rd hole at Royal St. George.[15]
  • The 3rd hole, named "Alps", is a par four that requires a blind approach shot to the green, similar to the 17th hole at Prestwick.[15]
  • The 4th hole, named "Redan", is a par three that copied the 15th hole at North Berwick, the site of the original Redan hole.[16]
  • The 7th hole, named "St. Andrews", is a par five that was designed based on the 17th hole (Road Hole) at St. Andrews.[15]
  • The 8th hole, named "Bottle", is a par four that resembles the 12th hole at Sunningdale Golf Club.[15]
  • The 13th hole, named "Eden", is a par three that replicates the 11th hole at St. Andrews.[17]

Some of the other holes were original designs, the most notable of which is the par four 14th hole. It was named "Cape" because the green was located on a small peninsula that jutted into a bay. The green was later moved during construction of Sebonac Inlet Road but is now surrounded on three sides by a large bunker.[17] A unique feature on the golf course is a windmill located between the 2nd and 16th holes. A member once remarked that a windmill would make a nice addition to the course, so Macdonald purchased one when he was in Europe and sent the member the bill.[18]

National Golf Links of America
Tee Rating/Slope 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Back 73.6/137 327 330 426 195 478 141 478 424 540 3339 450 432 435 174 365 397 404 375 502 3534 6873
Middle 71.7/133 307 270 411 177 466 131 462 404 532 3160 429 408 388 161 336 367 381 350 478 3298 6458
Forward 68.8/127 289 240 378 159 451 110 406 286 514 2833 391 370 352 147 286 311 360 319 448 2984 5817
Par 4 4 4 3 4 3 5 4 5 36 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 5 36 72
Handicap 11 15 1 13 9 17 7 3 5 2 8 4 18 14 12 10 16 6


  1. ^ Clavin, Tom (November 16, 2003). "The Home of American Golf". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  2. ^ "2013 Walker Cup Matches". Archived from the original on 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  3. ^ Boyle, Robert H. (February 26, 1962). "The Ways Of Life At The Country Club". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  4. ^ Weber, Bruce (June 14, 1992). "Members Only". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  5. ^ a b Graves, Robert Muir; Cornish, Geoffrey S. (2002). Classic Golf Hole Design: Using the Greatest Holes as Inspiration for Modern Courses. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 64–72. ISBN 0-471-41372-0.
  6. ^ "Sebonack Golf Club To Host 2013 U.S. Women's Open". United States Golf Association. June 25, 2008. Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  7. ^ "Seth Raynor (1874-1926)". Shoreacres. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  8. ^ "The National Golf Links of America". The American Golfer: 163–170. August 1910.
  9. ^ "Jarvis Hunt: Works". Retrieved 2008-07-13.
  10. ^ "Jarvis Hunt". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  11. ^ "Clubmakers: James Hepburn (Carnoustie/London/New York)". Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  12. ^ Herrman, Mark (September 21, 2008). "Walker Cup Headed to Island". Newsday. Long Island.
  13. ^ "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses/2009-10". Golf Digest. May 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  14. ^ "National Golf Links of America". Metropolitan Golf Association. Retrieved 2009-09-06.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ a b c d "National Golf Links of America". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  16. ^ Macdonald, C.B.; Whigham, H.J. (July 1914). "Redan Hole at the National Golf Links". Golf Illustrated.
  17. ^ a b "Feature Interview with George Bahto". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  18. ^ Clemente, T.J. (April 20, 2007). "Scotsman Charles MacDonald Creates the National Golf Links Here". Dan's Papers. Bridgehampton. Retrieved 2009-09-06.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°54′34″N 72°27′03″W / 40.909444°N 72.450833°W / 40.909444; -72.450833