The History of Golf at Yale

This site is brought to you by

William W. Kelly, Professor of Anthropology, Yale University
John A. Godley, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine (Retired), Yale University

Welcome to the web site for our research project on “The History of Yale Golf.” Our aim is to provide a comprehensive and informative account of the Yale University golf course, long recognized as one of America’s finest courses and most important designs, and to offer the story of golf as an activity at the University, especially through the undergraduate varsity teams and through some of the famous Yale golfers.

Our project began more than a decade ago in 2004, and we continue to collect material and conduct interviews. We always welcome your comments, your suggestions for further topics, and your contributions and leads to other materials.

PLEASE NOTE that due to some server and software changes in the Yale network, we have recently moved this site and its materials to a more secure platform. During the process, some of the links may not be active. We apologize for this and will endeavor to restore the site to full functionality as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you may be interested in …

The Book

Golf at Yale: The Players, The Teams, The Course is the book that has resulted from our research. It was published by Marvelwood Press in 2009, and its 260 pages tell the many stories of over a century of Yale golf.  There are profiles of 52 people who have been important to Yale and American golf, including Robert Pryde, Jess Sweetser, Charles B Macdonald, Seth Raynor, Harry Meusel, Widdy Neale, William S Beinecke, David Paterson, Bob Heintz, Heather Daly-Donofrio, and many others. The 110 images (many not previously published) include some of the teams that have won 21 national and 45 regional championships. The book describes Yale’s little-known two earliest golf courses, and it narrates the design and construction of the present magnificent course in the 1920s.  It contains drawings, photographs, and commentaries of each hole, considered from the prospective of Charles Banks in 1925 and as it is today, and it has a complete list of all men’s and women’s varsity team members. As a special bonus, the book comes with a facsimile of the original scorecard of the current course when it opened in 1926.

The book may be purchased at the Yale Golf Course Pro Shop, and it is available online at


We’ve had some nice comments about the book:

From Ben Crenshaw:
Golf at Yale is a fascinating read for anyone who desires to learn more about the many Yale people who advanced our awareness of golf in this country.  The stunningly classical Yale Golf Course is a treasure unto itself, and I hope it will always be studied and preserved for future generations.

From Peter Oosterhuis:
The Yale course has everything you could wish for in a golf experience.  A shot-making challenge that combines character, beauty and history. Wow!

From Bob Heintz:
Golf at Yale is a compelling look at the past 110 years of golf at Yale, and the far-reaching impact of the university on the game.  As a Yale golf team member from 1989-92, I felt fortunate to represent the university and be part of its athletics history.  I am humbled by the story of Jess Sweetser, a true champion of his era.  His story, those of other prominent Yale graduates like Herbert Warren Wind, Ned Vare, and Mark McCormack, and the account of Coach David Paterson are informative and inspiring for any golfer.

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