Leewood GC in Eastchester celebrates its rich 100-year history this year with a series of events that illustrate its place in the lives of its members, staff, and neighbors. “We’ve built our celebration around a concept of three Cs,” says Leewood VP Greg Messerle. “They are Community, Celebration, and Carrying Forward.”
Highlighting the club’s dedication to its community is a special campaign to raise $100,000 for six local organizations, including the First Tee, Boys and Girls Club, and the Westchester Diaper Bank. As part of the fundraising campaign, the club will sell pavers to be installed in a centennial plaza that will also feature a 100-year time capsule to be filled by children from the many families that belong to Leewood.
Leewood was founded in 1922 by a group of local residents, including motion-picture director D.W. Griffith. The charter members purchased a certificate for $250 and paid annual dues of $50. They financed the construction of a clubhouse that opened two years later and was designed by Henry Bacon, the architect of the Lincoln Memorial.
The most famous member of Leewood is undoubtedly New York Yankee slugger Babe Ruth. A room in the clubhouse celebrates the Babe’s membership, and the club annually holds “The Bambino,” an invitational tournament that draws top players from throughout the metro region. The Babe donated two of his Leewood golf trophies for display in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Leewood’s golf course was designed by Devereux Emmet and is known for tight fairways and wicked greens, making it a classic Westchester course. The club has kept the course up-to-date with the modern game, however, with significant renovations over the last decade that included additional length for longer hitters and placement of forward tees to accommodate other players.
While Leewood is celebrating its past, it has an eye on the future, according to Messerle, expanding its water-retention ponds to capture more rainwater and runoff, restricting chemical application, and utilizing natural grasses in many areas off the fairways. The club makes an effort to be a good environmental neighbor by taking street drainage and running it through the ponds until it is usable for irrigation. Drainage from the course itself runs through the same ponds, so when the sprinklers are running, they’re spraying recycled water.
As part of the centennial theme, the club will also be supporting the Eastchester Parks Department in reclaiming some public playing fields in the community.
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