Home » InterviewsCAT (Page 2)

Category Archives: InterviewsCAT


Director of Golf
Interviewed on December 21, 2004

Interview (42 mins)

Peter Pulaski grew up in Stratford & at Mill River C.C. where his father and grandfather played. At age 12 he started taking lessons from Al Fuchs and Doug Daigel. He played high school football and golf. He attended Southern Connecticut State college for two years (1979-80) and played golf for coach Tony Martone, a Yale golf club member. He used Yale for practice and remebers it as being “wet in the spring and brown & wild in the fall.” He worked as assistant pro at Oranoke Village and Grassy Hill C.C. At Grassy Hill he was Assistant Pro to Doug Daigle and then became head pro for five years after Daigle left to play on the Senior PGA Tour.

He moved to Yale in 1994 as Assistant Pro to Dave Paterson. He places great emphasis on teaching, which he learned by “watching good teachers,” attending clinics and seminars, etc. He introduced video analysis and club fitting and was named the CSGA Teacher of the Year in 2003. He became Director of Golf in 2000. He then came to appreciate the course, its “playability..the longest 6,600 yards”. He worked with Forrest Temple to bring in a USGA agronomist four times per year, he stopped what he thought to be “overwatering.” Other projects during his time as Director have been the third irrigation system now run by computer, which has improved drainage on several holes, the bunker restoration/renovation, and a large-scale tree removal program. Yale is now ranked # 2 university course in America. His future hopes for the course included a new practice facility and continued alumni support (through the Beinecke Endowment & Patrons Program).


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”).


1973 PGA Champion and CBS golf analyst

Interviewed on February 19, 2005 
[conducted by telephone by John Godley]

Interview (12 mins)

As a professional golfer (who has won 20 tournaments worldwide, including the French and Canadian Open and the US PGA, played on six Ryder Cup teams, was a runner-up in the 1974 British Open, and placed third in the 1973 Masters), Mr. Oosterhuis “had little interest in golf course architecture.” Nevertheless, when he became Director of Golf at Forsgate Golf Club in Jamesburg, NJ from 1987-1990, he became interested in other courses designed by Charles Banks. As a result, he became aware of Banks’ relation to Seth Raynor & C.B. Macdonald and began visiting courses in the east and Bermuda that they both had designed. During that period he visited Yale and later played the course in a Hogan Tour event. He has been concerned that as Ben Crenshaw had told him “the course design was not being protected and maintained with due respect.”


Architect and designer of Prospect Hill Clubhouse and the cart barn
Interviewed on April 7, 2006

Interview (13 mins) with introduction by John Godley

He first designed the golf cart storage shed in the late 1970’s [he is concerned that it has not been well-maintained], and then the Prospect Hill Clubhouse which opened in 1984. It was to be built over the shell of the existing clubhouse with retention of the double fireplace and chimney. He met with Bill Beinecke [the donor] and his family as well as Director of Golf David Paterson and Assistant Athletic Director Dave Moyer to plan the structure. The program included expanding the locker room, pro shop and eating area, as well as adding a women’s locker room, meeting rooms and a porch [later enclosed]. He planned a “modern version of a traditional clubhouse… quiet intimate place… with continuity to the past” [the fireplace is still the central interior feature]. He wanted it “to sit quietly and not draw attention away from the course.” He wanted it to be open and “glassy, to see the beauty of the course” [3rd and 4th holes]. Because of the proximity to the 3rd “long” tee the glass had to be shatterproof.


Former Dean of the 
Graduate School of Music, Yale University and Chairman of Golf Committee in the 1970’s
Interviewed on September 4, 2005 [conducted by telephone by John Godley]

Interview (22 mins)

Born in Minnesota and began playing golf at age 7. Attended the U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Played several PGA events as an amateur in the early 1950’s. When he came to Yale as music school dean he was a 7 handicap; his best score at the Yale Golf Course was a 69. Appointed by Kingman Brewster as chairman of a golf committee to upgrade the golf program, which was “in disarray”. “Widdy” Neale, “a nice person and a good secretary of the athletic department and CSGA, was running the course as his own”. No more than 8,000 rounds were played per year. Nelson, was joined on the committee by Dick Tettelback, Burt Resnick, Herb Emanuelson, Richard Broadbent, & Herbert W. Wind. In looking for a Director of Golf they considered many prominent people, several suggested by Philip Nelson’s good friend, Byron Nelson [no relation]. “But, the name of David Paterson kept coming up”. He fit their desire to have a golf person, but one with an intellectual and cultural background. Paterson was a graduate of the art school at the University of Glasgow, as well as a PGA Tour and club professional. Philip Nelson is very proud of the fact that he had a part in finding the person that has been the Director of Golf and as served as the golf coach for more than 30 years.

Nelson has made 10 trips with David to the British Isles to play golf, and he now spends each summer with his wife at St. Andrews. He confirmed the truth of the rumor that there had been talk of selling the golf course, [when it became subject to New Haven city taxation] but that corporation members Erwin Miller and Bill Beinecke had vetoed that idea. He believes the current golf course is the second oldest collegiate course.


Longtime members of the Yale Golf Club and of the Eli Club
Interviewed on September 7, 2004

Interview (46 mins)

Bob Nagel (Yale class of 1938) first learned golf as a caddy in Walpole, MA from 1929 to 1933. He first played the Yale course as a guest of hockey coach Murray Murdock in 1952, and he has been an official member since 1954. According to Bob, no college team has won more national championships in any sport than Yale in golf (21). He has also seen Grantland Rice, Gene Tunney, Red Rolf and Greasy Neale all play at Yale.

Bob Tettleback lived in Westville, and with his brother Dick as a child of 10-12 in 1937, he snuck onto the course and played until they were thrown off by Mr. Perkins. He later worked as caddy for 50 cents a “loop,” and thus knows that the caddy shack was located where one can now find the cart barn. He joined the club in 1950, thanks to his brother and Widdy Neale, and enjoyed a club within the club (i.e. Eli Club) started by Abe Weissman and run for most of 1940-90 by his brother Dick for tournaments and club championships. Once Dick even played the course with Joe Dimaggio. He describes the greatest change to the course to be that the cliff across the seventeenth pond now is now a dirt slope instead of a rock cliff.



Grandson of “Widdy” Neale
Interviewed March 23, 2006

Interview: part one | part two


His first memory of his grandfather is from when he was age 10-12. On a summer evening, after his father came home from work, he would go with his father and mother to meet “Grandpa” to play 4 or 5 holes at Yale. He learned to play golf that way, but more importantly he learned the rules and etiquette. He heard about players calling up “Widdy” on a Monday to get a ruling on an incident that occurred at a weekend match or tournament. After “Widdy” died he bought his home [on Mackenzie Lane in Westville]. He often ran from there through the golf course and was sometimes upset to see a player not using proper etiquette.

Other family golf memories relate to “Widdy”s brother “Greasy” Neale. Bill knew him after he retired as the Philadelphia Eagles football coach and was living on Park Ave. in NYC. Two or three times a year “Greasy” would come to play golf with “Widdy” and Bill’s father. He was allowed to tag along. “Greasy” didn’t show him much good golf, but from him he learned his first swear words, usually after “Greasy” hit his drive in the water on the 4th hole. In his scrapbook there is a scorecard showing “Widdy” score 70 and “Greasy” 85. He believes that “Widdy” lost track of the times he shot his age. He was still playing 9 holes in the year he died of a brain tumor at age 85, after a heart bypass operation at age 81. In his last year he had retired from the CSGA and attended a dinner in his honor at the New Haven Country Club, with Dick Tettleback as the master of ceremonies. He died in December and Reverend Bill Lee celebrated a Memorial in January along with a blizzard.

Bill called attention to a photograph in his scrapbook of “Greasy” and “Widdy” on the first tee at Yale with the Mara brothers [owners of the NY Giants football team]. He related the story of President Dwight Eisenhower’s secretary calling the Yale course to schedule a tee time [he would bring his own golf cart] and being told by “Widdy” that Yale didn’t allow carts. On another occasion Bill Beinecke asked to play a round with “Widdy”. During the round he asked “Widdy” what improvement he would like to make in the course. He was told that an in-ground watering system was needed to replace the gravity feed above ground system and that it would cost an amount that “Widdy” guessed at. After the round Bill invited “Widdy” to have lunch in the clubhouse. His invitation was declined. “Widdy” said that he would be going home to have lunch with his wife, as he did every day. Several days later an envelope arrived at the athletic department containing stock certificates valued at the estimated watering system plus 20%. Being turned down for lunch didn’t bother Bill Beinecke. Of course he and his family later also gave the money to rebuild the clubhouse [where you now can eat lunch in “Widdy’s”], as well as the cart barn and cart paths.

“Widdy” graduated from Yale in 1925 and his son [Bill’s father] in 1950. If Bill had gone to Yale he would have graduated in 1975. But, he was “independent” and went to New England College and then spent 10 years overseas, first in the Peace Corp in Tunisia and then he worked for Care in Haiti. He returned to go to graduate school at the Yale School of Management. He didn’t tell his parents or grandfather of his plans until after he was admitted to the SOM. “Widdy” then told him that he had attended the opening of the school as Bill Beinecke’s guest. “Widdy” was born in 1900 and his first great grandchild in 2000.


Head Greenskeeper, Yale Golf Course
Interviewed on September 7, 2004

Interview (51 mins)

Mike Moran started mowing greens at age 12, thus earning the nickname “mow.” In 1975 he graduated from U. Mass. at Stockbridge with a degree in Turf Management. He worked both East and West Coast courses before coming to Yale as Master Gardener more than 20 years ago under Harry Meusel, when David Paterson was the Director of Golf. He was told of changes to the second green (which had been like the eighth), the sixteenth green, and the third green (which had been a “double punchbowl”). Mike’s favorite holes are the eighth and thirteenth. By his estimation, the best golfers to play Yale include John Daly, Tom Lehman and Jeff Maggert in the Hogan Tour, as well as Widner, USGA Junior Amateur winner and now a golf coach. His favorite stories include Sam Snead being escorted from the course by Harry after he used a wedge on the ninth green, and Sammy Davis Jr. being asked to leave because he had had “too much grape.”

Mow talks about Harry Meusel’s major beautification program that inlcuded the planting of laurel, rhododendron, and daffodils, as well as evergreens, which were planted “to protect cart paths from stray balls.” The evergreens have now been removed, but one can still find the weeping black pines between the seventh and eighth fairways. The Japanese garden by the thirteenth fairway was also developed by Harry. Among his experiences on the course, Mike helped to scatter Al Wilson’s ashes behind the third green. And for those who are interested, Mike has files, including maps of all greens, that he is willing to share.


Head coach, Women’s Golf Team
Interviewed on November 30, 2004

Interview (57 mins)

Mary Moan first learned golf from her family in Far Hills, NJ . She played for four years at Princeton, becoming the senior captain and first Ivy League individual champion in 1997, as well as achieving All-American status (there are only two such women in the history of the Ivy League). She worked for one year within the administration of the USGA. She was the assistant coach of the woman’s team at U. Florida, where she received her Masters degree in sports management. 2004-5 was her fifth year as head coach here. She is the only full time women’s golf coach in the league and the only one who is female. The 2004-2005 team has members from all over the USA, including Hawaii, Washington, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois. In 2004 she won both Connecticut woman’s amateur tournaments (medal and match play), She has taken a leave from her coaching position to turn pro and play the Futures Tour, hoping to qualify for the LPGA.


Course Superintendent, 1951-93 
Interviewed on September 14, 2005

Interview (1 hr 24 mins)

Harry’s neighbor, John Czenkus, gave him the 1924-26 construction photographs that he took (he is the construction worker in the photo) which are now on display in the clubhouse.

Harry grew up in Hamden and as a youth, Harry caddied at the New Haven Country Club, playing in the Monday caddy tournaments. Drafted in World war II, he served as a German translator for POWs. He met a general from New Hampshire who sent him to Rutgers University to learn skills so that he could maintain the golf course at Fort Dix in New Jersey. After the war, he went to the University of Massachusetts on GI bill to study horticulture. He interviewed at Race Brook Country Club, Woodbridge CC, and Yale for a job of superintendent. He took the Yale position because course was “unreal”. Hired by Bill Perkins, business managed of Athletic Dept. (he had maintained the course as superintendent of the athletic field crews from 1926-45, when he hired Tony Longo) and charged with making “our unique course the most beautiful golf course in the world”. Perkins argued with Harry about proper fertilizer blend of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Harry used 24/10/12 and Perkins had used 8/6/2 . Harry called that a “farmer’s blend” and not proper for the course. Harry won the argument; “use any damn thing you want” said Perkins, and he was dead within the year from a heart attach. To respond to the Perkins charge, Harry transplanted mountain laurel from below and behind the 9 th green all over the course (including the cliff in front of 13 th tee by dangling workers by ropes), planted dogwoods along fairways, 1000’s of daffodil bulbs, etc.

When he arrived maintenance “barn” had no electricity, was heated by a wood stove, it burned down in 1966. The clubhouse was a cabin-style building in the present location; one room with nails on walls for clothes, electricity by a generator, and a hot dog stand in the parking lot area. Crew was 2 in winter & 17 in summer. Greens were cut by hand with push mower, fairways every other day and rough once a year. Only greens were watered. Wells below 9 th pumped water to tower near WC Parkway behind 7 th green, then by gravity through above ground cast iron pipes to no more than 5 greens per night, starting with the highest i.e. 10 & 12. Fairways were only green until July using fertilizer and a lot of lime (learned from lime lines at football field etc. kept grass green). Dogwoods that he planted along many fairways have died. Pines that he planted for “protection from stray balls” have been cut down.

He carried out a number of course changes to “make the course more pleasurable… for the average golfer.” He filled the bunkers on holes two, ten, (across road from tee 12, 17,18 ( highest hill). He also built up the green on hole three, cut down the right side of the second green, covered 17’s cliff with loam by dredging the pond and lowered the right side of cliff by three feet.

When he arrived, Joe “Porky” Sullivan was the golf pro and coach, as well as “the only coach he ever saw giving lessons on the course to team players.” He was often behind the fourth green “pitching ball after ball.”

Perkins died just a year after Harry was hired, so Widdy Neal became his business manager for the remainder of Harry’s term. Widdy not interested in beauty, just the playability of the course. Because money was tight, “the university did not understand what they had here.” It wasn’t until the Beinecke gift in 1969-70? that the fairways were finally irrigated.

His daughter carved stumps around the course; the only one left is a German leprechaun to the right of the fourteenth fairway which she did for his birthday.

He saw Gary Player and Ken Venturi play here, though the best he has seen is Bill Lee.

The original greens were built by piling up rocks taken from fairway areas and covering them with layers of sand and swamp muck.