Director of Golf Emeritus and Head Coach, Men’s Golf Team
Interviewed on September 19, 2004
Interview (1 hr 20 mins)
Dave Paterson was raised on golf courses in Scotland. His father was a golf professional who “only knew golf & sheep” (during WWII sheep were grazed on courses for maintenance). After high school he joined the Air Force and then attended art school in Glasgow. He left art school to become an assistant pro at Turnberry. Met Pres. Eisenhower there. Then Bermuda, Riddles Bay head pro & played the US PGA tour in the summer as a member of British PGA (7 tournament maximum). He became interested in the USA by listening to a Saturday radio program, Letters from America by Alistair Cooke. Asst. pro at Brooklawn, then head at CC of Fairfield and applied to Yale after seeing an ad in Bridgeport paper. He was hired in 1975. Phil Nelson headed the search committee formed after talk to sell course thwarted by Beinecke & Miller trustees. Arrived to find Gene Sheehan running shop and Widdy running the business (his private). Took him 1 year to see the books.
Inherited good players, like Teravainen and then started recruiting and has produced many All-Americans and Ivy Championships. Eli club events in 1960-1990 but taken over by U. after taxation in 1985. Dave’s vision..” Pine Valley of the North” with national membership not fulfilled. Attempts to attract Alumni with Beinecke tournament etc. very similar to 1895 notes in Alumni Bulletin re train and trolley to course from NYC and 1925-26 Patrons program and now Beinecke endowment.
Produced 2001 video. Developing a Yale “Golf Hall of Fame.” At one time had 300+ non-resident members only 1/3 of whom ever played the course; then lost them when fees raised too high. “my time as Director was the best time”. He expressed the ideal arrangement to be similar to Princeton and Williams ( ”private club with higher fees”).