NEW YORK, NY (Oct. 20, 2021) – In celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the first collegiate golf match played in the United States, the Columbia and Yale men’s golf teams will take to the links to square off in a holes-won format event on Oct. 22 at The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club.

The exact same holes-won format was used when the two Ivy rivals competed on Nov. 6, 1896 in the first-ever collegiate golf match, which was played at Ardsley Casino (Ardsley Country Club). At that time, golf was coming into its own in America and “found its way among the colleges,” says an article which was published prior to the competition in the New York Times on Nov. 1, 1896.

Initially, five college teams were invited to compete in the event—Columbia, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale—showing that the game among Ivy schools was slowly taking shape. Unfortunately, Harvard and Penn did find it “difficult to field teams” for the event, but Princeton did commit, and by at least one account, were quite good. 

However, and most notably, Princeton’s team decided not to participate in the match because team members wanted to enjoy the football game against Harvard.  It’s fair to say that this was, indeed, a different time in college sports. Alas, it left only Columbia and Yale to duke it out.

According to the New York Times’ recap of the event published on Nov. 8, 1896, the event was exceptionally well-attended and garnered lots of local interest. Each side put forward their best six players in a holes-won format. Unfortunately, the Lions were beaten by the Bulldogs 35 holes to zero.

Columbia Director of Golf Rich Mueller said. “The Saint Andrews Golf Club is the perfect setting to host such an event and we would like to thank those at the course for helping to make it a reality.”

At 133 years old, Saint Andrew’s Golf Club is the oldest, continuously operating golf club in America and is the home course for the Columbia University men’s golf team.  

Other historical items of note:

  • Yale was the first college in the country to have a golf team and it was organized by John Reid Jr.
  • Two of the five Yale golfers that day were the sons of the five founders of the USGA.
    • John Reid, Jr., whose father (John Reid) was a Scottish émigré who helped co-found The Saint Andrews Golf Club with Robert Lockhart in 1888.
    • C. Havemeyer was the son of the sugar baron Frederick Havemeyer, of the Newport Country Club, for whom the U.S. Amateur Championship trophy is named.
  • The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club was a founding member (along with The Country Club, the Chicago Golf Club, the Newport Golf Club and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club) of the United States Golf Association.
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