Yale and Columbia re-play first intercollegiate golf match in the U.S | Photo by Joe Epstein
The 125th anniversary of the first intercollegiate golf match brings Columbia and Yale to the oldest, continuously existing golf club in America.
The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club in Hastings celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first intercollegiate golf match in the United States this fall when the club hosted the men’s golf teams from Yale and Columbia. The original match was played on November 6, 1896 at nearby Ardsley Casino (now the Ardsley Country Club).
The Columbia men’s golf team defeated Yale in the exhibition competition, which was played in a holes-won format, the same used as when the original event took place. The Lions earned a 15-2 victory after topping the Bulldogs in 4-of-7 pairings. Each duo competed head-to-head, similar to match-play. However, each grouping completed all 18 holes, and the difference in holes won went to a team score.
“I think the event was a tremendous success,” Columbia Director of Golf Rich Mueller said after the win. “The sportsmanship between the teams was really evident. The buy-in to all the historical features of the tournament was also evident. It was also wonderful to re-write a little bit of history and I’m happy for our team for how hard they are working and how patient they’ve stayed. This is a really big moment for us, even though it technically doesn’t count, it’s something that counts for Columbia University and the game of golf.”
“I love match play, but this was even better because you have to play all the way through because every point counts,” Columbia sophomore Alvin Kwak said. “I was up three up with two holes to go, but I knew being in the first group I needed to keep that margin up, so I just kept grinding. I can’t believe I was lucky enough to be at Columbia for this anniversary. Creating history is unreal.”
John Reid, Jr., the son of the Saint Andrew’s Golf Club’s founder, organized the golf team at Yale, making the university the first in the country to have one. Today, Saint Andrew’s is the home course for the Columbia men’s golf team.