Golf team coach and head pro
Al Wilson was the freshman soccer coach at Yale from 1950 to 1960. He was also working at his trade as a tool and dye maker when Joe Sullivan left to become the professional at Race Brook Country Club in 1955. Each of the team coaches was asked if he would be willing to take the golf coaching job. Wilson was the only volunteer. Al became certified as a PGA professional by apprenticing to Sam Snead (by telephone!) over a two-year period.
Wilson’s teams compiled a 90% winning record (W-136, L-14). The team won seven Eastern Intercollegiate Championships.Three of his captains — Ted Weiss, Dan Hogan, and Ned Snyder — made All-American teams. Jerry Fehr and Ned Vare were individual eiga Champions. Today’s outstanding golf course architects, “Bobby” and Rees Jones, played for Coach Wilson. In 1963, he was elected president of the ncaa Golf Coaches Association.
Among the well-known people who played the course during Wilson’s time were Ed Sullivan, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, George Bayer, “Porky” Oliver, and Ken Venturi. Wilson had his son Al caddie for all of these players. “Porky” Oliver didn’t like the course and told Al’s son that “the guy must have been drunk who designed this course.” Some of the players whom his son encountered weren’t so well known. There was a foursome of bookies who came up from New York City every year, bringing their own caddies, who carried a golf bag and a cooler of beer for each player. One year, when the caddies returned the bags to the trunk of the car, son Al noticed a Thompson sub-machine gun lying there. Al Wilson’s son and grandson now work in golf course maintenance.