Edwin C. "Ned" Vare

Edwin C. “Ned” Vare

1956 team captain

Like so many other sons, Ned Vare (Class of 1956) learned to play golf from his father at the Philadelphia Golf Club. But no one else could have had a mother like Glenna Collett Vare.

Glenna Collett was born in New Haven and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. There she learned to play golf from her father at the Metacomet Country Club. She became the finest female golfer of the first half of the twentieth century. In the pre-professional era from 1919 to 1959 she won fifty championships. She advanced to the finals of the US Women’s Amateur Championship eight times and was the champion six times, both records that still stand. As Glenna Collett Vare and mother of two, she won her sixth US Amateur in 1935. In 1924 she didn’t win the US Amateur, but she did win the Canadian championship for the second time. In 1930 she added the French championship. From 1928 to 1931 she entered and won sixteen consecutive tournaments. She was involved either as player or captain of every Curtis Cup competition from 1932 to 1950. Although Vare was never a professional, in 1953 the lPGA began presenting a trophy in her name to the professional with the lowest annual stroke average. In 1965 she received the Bob Jones Award from the USGA and in 1975 was part of the first class inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Ned Vare was also a winning golfer. In his senior year at the Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia, the golf team was undefeated and won the eastern interscholastic team championship, which was played at the Yale Golf Course. Ned won the individual championship. He played a practice round before the tournament starting on the tenth hole. On that first hole played at Yale, he scored an “eagle” by holing his 8-iron second shot. That summer he won the Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania Junior Championships.

At Yale Ned Vare was captain of the freshman and varsity golf teams and also of the squash teams. The varsity golf team won the Eastern Intercollegiate Championship in 1954, 1955, and 1956. He was the individual champion in 1955, when the tournament was played at Yale. He qualified as an individual for the national ncaa tournament each of his four years at Yale. In 1954 and 1955 he played in the US Amateur Championship. He lost his first round match in 1954, but stayed on in Detroit to follow all of matches of the winner, Arnold Palmer (including the semifinal against Ed Meister, Yale Class of 1940). Vare well remembers the difficulties of the Yale course of his college years: “Any ball that missed the fairway was likely lost, as the woods came right up to the edge of the fairway.”

After graduation Vare stayed at Yale to study architecture for a year and a half. He joined the Army and was discharged in 1959. That year, as an amateur with a one-stroke handicap, he Monday qualified for four PGA tournaments. During the next twenty years he followed many occupations, as schoolteacher, contractor, furniture designer, ski instructor and rancher. In Tucson, Arizona in 1979, he advertised his services for “golf teaching lessons, by former PGA Tour player, at the student’s own course.” He became a golf pro without ever becoming a member of the PGA! Vare wrote an innovative book on the golf swing and, in 1984, returned to New Haven as a golf instructor.

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