Sometimes 95 is good number for golf

Published 11:22 am Friday, May 6, 2011

Golfers play at Tryon Country Club in 1919. The course, which celebrates 95 years of continuous operation this Sunday, opened for play on May 8, 1916. (photo submitted)

Tryon Country Club celebrates 95 years Sunday

1916 was an important year in U.S. golf history. In that year, the PGA of America was founded with 82 members, the first PGA championship was held and, on May 8, Tryon Country Club opened for play.

The Scots began playing golf in the 1500s, but the game didn’t have broad appeal until the late 1800s, when Scotland’s St. Andrews Golf Club began organizing it as a sport and conducting tournaments with cash prizes. St. Andrews boasted the first professional golfer, Old Tom Morris, who worked at the club his whole life and was succeeded by his son, Young Tom Morris.

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Interest in golf began to appear in the United States near the turn of the 20th century and golf courses began to be built. A number of golf course architects came from Scotland to help investors develop their dreams. One of the most talented and prolific was a young man who had studied under Old Tom Morris named Donald Ross. Ross eventually built more than 600 golf courses; many are considered classics and are respected worldwide for their beauty and superior tests of skill. Tryon Country Club and Pinehurst #2 are examples of his creations in the early 1900s.

By 1916 golf popularity was expanding and Tryon was in the forefront. Many of the new courses were built as nine-hole venues because investors weren’t sure that golf was not just a passing fad. The U.S. Open Championship was first played on the nine-hole Newport Country Club in Rhode Island (1895 – 1898). The U.S. Amateur was played the next day on the same course and was considered the bigger tournament.

Tryon Country Club was formed on May 8, 1916 and has continuously operated as a private golf club to the present day. It remains a nine hole (+1) course but has 18 tees so 18 different holes comprise a round. For the last 95 years, thousands of golfers of all skill levels and notoriety (including Sam Snead, Lady Astor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, David Niven and Randolph Scott) have enjoyed a round of golf at Tryon Country Club.

Those same golfers lost hundreds of thousands of golf balls in a little stream (Wee Burn) that must be crossed nine times during the 18-hole round. The stream is so small it doesn’t look as though it can capture even one ball.

Tryon Country Club is celebrating its birthday with special membership offers and “get-acquainted rounds.” For more information, contact Marc Brady, PGA professional, at the club house, 828-859-9561, or visit