Friday, July 19, 2013


    Lisa and I have enjoyed some memorable  times at events sponsored by  golfing societies including the American Seniors Golf Association (ASGA) and the James Braid Society in the U.K.. When we got wind of the Donald Ross Society's  planned May excursion to five notable  Ross courses in Rhode Island, it was time to join this society too. The mission statement of the Ross Society states that its purpose generally  is "to recognize and safeguard the integrity of courses from the 'Golden Age' of golf course architecture," and in particular those of Donald Ross- arguably  the greatest of all golf  architects.
     May 9th marked the first day of this event. A brief five minute drive from the Ivy Lodge  brought us to  historic Newport Country Club's entrance.  This is the ultimate blueblood club. The Astors and Vandberbilts were among the founding members. To say that the 1895 Whitney  Warren designed Beaux Arts clubhouse is an eye catcher  does not remotely  do it justice. It is really an architectural jewel box!

Jongleux, Case, and Callahan into the mist

We  explored  the interior of the clubhouse. Many relics from the club's early days were on display. The club has every right to be proud of its history as the  first U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur were  played here in 1895.  Our golf professional at Brookside in Columbus Brad Zeitner,  who has visited the course many times,  points out that you could actually watch the America's Cup races from the second floor locker room. After getting our bearings, we met our two assigned  playing partners for the day, Jack Callahan from Easton, Pa.  and Dave Jongleux, a CPA  from Indianapolis  and a strong player. The daily rounds we played with the Society had a friendly competitive aspect  in which  we counted the two net better balls of our four players on each hole. The heavy fog rolling in from Narragansett Bay enveloped the course during our front nine. After a brief rain delay on the back nine, the fog burned off and we finished our game in brilliant sunshine. The beauty of the venerable layout was finally  revealed in full.  Seascape views of the bay  coupled with rolling meadowlands satisfied our visual appetites.

The privilege of playing Newport would have sufficed to make this a memorable day. But there was more! One of the Society members treated us to  a sumptuous luncheon and cocktails at his mansion "High Tide," also built by Whitney Warren in 1900. This afforded us an opportunity to make friends with the other members. We encountered  an interesting array of folks including golf writer and historian Michael Fay, a couple of refugees from hickory golf club societies, and former Ohio Women's Amateur champion Alison Reifers.

High Tide Mansion

Our stellar day was concluded with a tasty lobster dinner at the Bristol Yacht Club. After dinner,  member Shawn Pierson  made a pitch for assisting the renovation of the Bobby Jones Golf Course in Sarasota, Florida- a muni course designed by Ross. This is the type of project in which the Ross Society takes great interest. Our stint with the Donald Ross Society was off to a flying start!

Bristol Yacht Club 

                                Newport C.C. provided us  all the amenities       

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