As Sunningdale Country Club marks its centennial this year, the members will be playing one of the most frequently updated courses in Westchester. For this year, architect Mike DeVries, who has been executing a long-range plan for the club, designed new green complexes for the fourth and eighth holes.
Actually, the founding members played their first three seasons on nine holes in Mount Vernon that had been vacated by Siwanoy Country Club. They moved to the current site in 1916, a piece of property with historic ties to the American Revolutionary War. In 1781, it served as an encampment for the French forces when they joined the colonists in their fight for independence.
When the club moved, Seth Raynor was retained to lay out a new course on 149 acres containing the Overlook Golf Course, a private course owned by Thomas Simpson. The new track opened for play in 1918, but alterations began almost immediately for reasons lost to the ages. Walter Travis, noted amateur champion and designer of Westchester Country Club, was hired to build five new greens and several new tees and bunkers in 1920.
The renovated course apparently still didn’t satisfy the members, so in 1929 A. W. Tillinghast was brought in to handle some rerouting and other changes, probably intended to eliminate some blind shots that had proven irksome to the membership.
Recent work has involved not so much restoration as redesign to take advantage of the gently rolling landscape and toughen up the contours of several greens that had become flatter with the passage of time. Several holes were lengthened, and more than a few elephants were buried in some of the greens.