Herrmann has covered the Mets and Yankees since 1988, and has been Newsday’s national golf writer since 2002. Show More
One thing is absolutely certain about the U.S. Women's Amateur at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove next week: Whoever has the best score in the stroke-play phase will be dressed a whole lot differently than medalist Georgianna Bishop was in 1914, the last time this tournament was held there.
A photo of Bishop, loaned recently along with the medalist trophy by her grandnephew Richard Gordon, is on display at the club's front desk for all of the 156 players to see. There she was, leading the field with an 85 over 18 holes, wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat, long flowing skirt, long-sleeved shirt and a necktie.
Longtime Nassau members Dan and Helen Coleman are familiar with that history, and all the lore of their club. But this week, they will be totally focused on the generation that features their twin granddaughters, Jenny and Kristin Coleman of Rolling Hills Estates, California, and the University of Colorado, who will be in the tournament starting Monday (admission is free).
"They've played here before," club president Peter Quick said of the twins, adding that Jenny qualified for the Women's Amateur in South Carolina last year while Kristin caddied for her.
The real point is that all kinds of golfers have played at Nassau before, which is why the championship is returning after 100 years. Members are proud that Nassau is one of America's most historic courses, so they wanted to mark the centennial of Katherine Harley's 1-up victory over Elaine Rosenthal (alas, Bishop lost to the latter in match play).
A 100th Anniversary Club initiative asked members to make four-figure (or more) donations to support the tournament. Quick said that their fundraising total set a Women's Amateur record. That is despite the fact members must give up their course for 10 days, and the men are ceding their locker room to the Women's Amateur players.
"It's going to just add to the rich tradition we have at Nassau Country Club of supporting amateur athletics," the club president said.
Tradition is thick in the air at Nassau, starting with the very name. Golfers all over the world say, "Let's play a Nassau," a scoring/betting system established at this club at the turn of the 20th century.
The most famous amateur of all time, Bobby Jones, saw his career take off because of the Calamity Jane putter he was given on these grounds. Walter Travis won the 1903 U.S. Amateur here, and four times he also won the Nassau Invitational, an annual amateur classic that began in 1897 and still is going strong (and also has been won by golf icon Tommy Armour and baseball Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward).
But the real motivation for this event is that Nassau Country Club doesn't see golf as a hidebound relic of the women's necktie era. "Just look over there, on the range," Quick said Monday, nodding toward a practice tee that was packed with kids from the club's day camp.
With a field composed mostly of college players such as 19-year-old Annie Park of Levittown, the 2013 NCAA women's champion for USC, and with brand new renovations on Seth Raynor's vintage greens, this Women's Amateur at Nassau is as much an ode to the future as the past.
Youth is moving in, literally. Many club members are hosting players. Quick's family is billeting a golfer from the University of North Carolina. "I wrote to her and said, 'Full disclosure: My wife and three of my daughters went to the University of Virginia.' She wrote back and said, 'It might be a tough week. Only kidding.' "
The goal is to have a week that people will be talking about 100 years from now.