The Yale Golf Association
Alumni have been encouraged to return for golf at a Yale venue for over 100 years. Articles in the Alumni Weekly in the 1890’s pointed out the ease of traveling from New York to New Haven by train and then by the Winchester Avenue trolley to the first tee at the New Haven Golf Club. Matches between golf team members and Alumni were reported in that era. Coach Ben Thomson began taking the team south in the spring, soon after he arrived at the Yale Golf Course in 1926. By the 1930’s he was taking the team to Scotland. Who paid for these trips is not known. However, given the background of most of the players of that time, it would not have been a problem. After the Depression and WW II, the students were more diverse and in need of financial support. A group of alumni formed the Yale Golf Association to provide that support.
Prior to the 1970’s the Y.G.A. activities were simple and straightforward. On the first Saturday in May, the Yale Golf Association Annual Meeting and Lettermen’s Reunion took place after a tournament matching alumni against team members. It served as a reunion for team alumni and as a fund-raising event. In addition, an appeal letter was sent out annually to all Yale Golf Club members, soliciting donations for the team’s annual spring trip. The founders of the Y.G.A. are not known, but Widdy Neale, Burt Resnik, Arthur Williams and Dick Tettlebach were active members.
With the arrival of Coach David Paterson in 1975 the association became more active. Board membership was expanded and there was stable leadership, with Herb L. Emanuelson, Jr. ’51 as president from 1963-1983 and Giles Payne ’63 from 1983-2003. David Paterson has been a very successful fund-raiser from alumni, parents and “Friends of Yale Golf”. He started a second revenue-raising tournament, the “Scratch Cup”, and later a third tournament, the Yale Men’s College-Am. It is played in the fall on the Friday preceding the Macdonald Cup.
Jim Rogers, the 1968 captain, was elected president of the association, along with several new board members, in 2003. A new mission statement was adopted that identified preservation of the Yale Golf Course as an addition goal along with the association’s traditional mission. The annual meeting and championship tournament was moved to Monday, and a foursome competition was added to the usual medal play event. Under the dynamic leadership of tournament director Ian MacAllister ’00, the inaugural “Yale Golf Association Championship and Outing” in May 2004 was a huge success. It attracted 112 golfers, and a spirited auction and raffle was a historic fund-raiser. Later that year another event was added. The Yale Women’s College-Am, like the men’s, is played on a Friday in conjunction with the Yale Women’s Fall Invitational tournament. The highlight of the day has been a pre-round clinic given by an LPGA pro. During its first three years, through the efforts of board member Jack Curren, the Sea Island Resort has been the title sponsor. This event has also been an important revenue source. Julie Hansen ’88 joined Jim as co-president in 2005. After a very successful tenure, Jim was replaced by Ian MacAllister at the end of 2006.
Jim Kreuttner and JAG 2/26/2007