Table of Contents - Tillinghast Association



Table of Contents - Tillinghast Association
The Official Journal of the
Tillinghast Association
Table of Contents
News and Notes
Ben Crenshaw Interview
Ranking Tilly
Q and A
Editor, Bob Trebus
Vol 2
No. 2
By Phil Young
We are very pleased then to offer this, the first of what we hope will be many interviews,
or rather, conversations about the game, their work and Tilly with those notable in the
game today. It is presented as a conversation in the manner in which it occurred. We have
included notes throughout to explain the feel of the conversation.
We’ve asked Ben Crenshaw to speak with us first. As a player, he is a multiple major
championship winner and in golf’s hall of fame. As an architect, four of his co-designs
with Bill Coore were recently named as among the Top 100 Courses in the United States
by GOLF Magazine, with Sand Hills being considered the 8th best in America and 11th
greatest course in the world. In addition, as you will see from parts of our conversation,
Ben is one of the great historians of the game, highly knowledgeable of Tilly and a big
fan of his work, and a member of the Tillinghast Association.
For all of these reasons and more, we can think of no other person who could grace
these pages with his thoughts as the first interviewee of Tillinghast Illustrated. Ben made
time for us while he was recently on vacation.
Thank You Ben…
A Conversation
Ben Crenshaw
This past month our roving reporter Phil Young caught up
by telephone with the Masters Champion, Golf Architect
and Golf Historian, known as Ben Crenshaw.
PHIL YOUNG: We’re starting a monthly journal, more
than a newsletter, an actual magazine, and we hope to
interview someone every month and just wanted to have
you as the first.
BEN CRENSHAW: Oh yes, absolutely… certainly. Well I
can tell you that I received the latest installment, that
wonderful book about his life [Tillinghast: Creator of
Golf Courses] that just came out… I’ve got it on my desk
at home and I’m fascinated with it, and I went through it
quite a bit… but, obviously as my tournaments started… as
I started to travel, when I was 21 I started going up East
and learned of certain courses that we were about to play
and that name [Tillinghast] kept coming up, so obviously I started learning quite a lot
about him… I just think that he was marvelous in so many ways. I had also, as an
adjunct, when Winged Foot’s story came out and also when his grandson published The
Course Beautiful and also The Way I See It, [Gleanings From the Wayside] I believe
that’s what it is, sort of a diary and Reminiscences [Reminiscences of the Links]… just
fantastic! They’re just fascinating reading.
PHIL YOUNG: Well I am just thrilled that you mentioned the biography because I don’t
know if you knew that I’m the one who wrote it?
BEN CRENSHAW: Oh, did you really! [He begins laughing as he says this] Well I’m
sorry, my names are just. That was a fabulous, fabulous book that you wrote and a nod to
a great man.
PHIL YOUNG: [Also laughing] No, no, don’t worry, that doesn’t matter…
BEN CRENSHAW: Well I’m just elated to get your book, my God it’s, it’s, fantastic.
PHIL YOUNG: Well thank you. I’m actually hard at work on volume II. Our Tillinghast
Association takes a very proactive stance on trying to protect Tilly’s work, but we don’t
believe in telling people what to do. We want to make available as much information as
we can. That’s why we are developing our website into a virtual research center. We’ve
got a great deal of what Tilly wrote already on the site…
BEN CRENSHAW: I think if you just implore people to read what Tilly wrote; he was
so vibrant. He was such a writer. My God, he just… his images… they just jump out at
you. His sentences are pieced together with such vibrancy. He talks about people passing
people on the street and he remembered their faces. He said that’s what greens reveal to
you. “When building a green,” he said, “when building a green there’s got to be
something in it about a green that people will remember.” To put that into a human
context; that’s the way he thought. That’s sort of a… that’s definitely the mind of an
PHIL YOUNG: Have you considered writing more yourself?
BEN CRENSHAW: It’s so hard for me to write. I’ll tell you what, one of the nicest
things that ever happened to me was I got to know Herbert Warren Wind quite a bit, and
we talked about it. He said, “Ben, you’ve got to somehow write some day. You’ve got to
sit down and just let yourself go.” I said, “It’s so hard for me Herb.” He said, “Well,
you’ve got to practice it somehow.” It’s just… I’m just one of these people… I don’t type
well… I just sit down with long-hand and just start writing. I haven’t written in a long
time. With three children; three girls and a wonderful wife and playing and trying to
design; I have a hard time trying to figure out time to do it… I will, later on, probably…
PHIL YOUNG: That’s good. Today, everything has gotten to be about reporting…
BEN CRENSHAW: There’s it, there’s no doubt about that. There’s no lyrical sense of
what golf can be. I think a lot of us give a great nod to the past. I love history and it’s
hard that you find a piece that intertwines history with what’s going on today…
Well I think, probably, my first glimpse of a Tillinghast course was Brook Hollow in
Dallas. I played the Trans-Mississippi Amateur tournament there when I was 19 & 20,
right around that time, and right around then I was invited up to play at Winged Foot. As
part of the NCAA All-America team we were treated to a round at Winged Foot… so I
guess it was right around those two years when I was 19 or so that I played those courses
for the first time.
PHIL YOUNG: I recall your helicopter journey around the metropolitan [New York] area
playing the 18 greatest holes of the MGA.
BEN CRENSHAW: Oh yeah, that was an exhausting day! That was the hardest 18 holes
I ever played by far! It was so much fun to see the metropolitan area by air, a lot of it;
that was a heck of a day. I just ran into George Peper over in Scotland. He orchestrated
that day with Jay Motola with the Metropolitan Golf Association.
PHIL YOUNG: To see you actually play at least one hole on the Black meant a lot to me.
BEN CRENSHAW: Oh yes. What a test. My first sort of meaty article about Tillinghast
was, of course, Frank Hannigan’s piece in the Journal; that came out in ’74, I believe. It
was just a fabulous piece that he wrote and fascinating to read. I think we all have to
remember how many hats that Tilly had up until then. Obviously he was a fabulous
golfer, he was a fabulous photographer, and as a writer was probably the most vivid of
the architects.
George Thomas certainly had his way of writing, Donald Ross didn’t write that
much until way later with his diary and Mackenzie did too toward the end of his career,
but Tillinghast actually organized Golf Illustrated and what a publication that was. He
was a lover of the game… an intense lover of the game in it’s every facet… Obviously he
got to meet so many people early, early in his career; Old Tom Morris and everyone. But
he was entertaining and energetic and loved entertaining people also. A heavy investor in
plays and lived a flourishing life.
PHIL YOUNG: It was 1898 and after he had come back from Scotland that he built in a
public park in Philadelphia just a little bit of a course where he then taught the public
how to play.
BEN CRENSHAW: Yes, I would think that anyone who had traveled over to Scotland
and had met old Tom Morris and been around that atmosphere would come back with
that love and would want to spread it. Charley Macdonald did that too in America. That’s
what he wanted to do, to spread the gospel, so to speak, which, back then, was a calling.
And a determined effort was made; certainly by Tilly and others.
PHIL YOUNG: You mentioned Brook Hollow earlier. How challenging was the
restoration there? [Crenshaw and Bill Coore did a sensitive restoration and renovation of
this wonderful Tilly design in Dallas, Texas, in 1991]
BEN CRENSHAW: I don’t think it was that challenging as we had determined we
weren’t going to change much. We didn’t need to, in our opinion, at all. It’s a very, very
fine test of golf in that it typifies his philosophy with driving. It’s a fairly tight golf
course, but the second shot that he wrote about so intensely… one of his great
admonitions about “a closely controlled shot to a well-guarded green” personally typified
that. Oh there’s some lovely holes there and tight green-side bunkering…
That particular piece of land in Dallas, which is fairly rare as it’s got some undulation to
it, although fairly mild, but just enough; it’s actually a fairly sandy piece of property in
some areas and that’s what fascinated him in the early days and that’s why they went to
that site.
PHIL YOUNG: I’d read that he actually looked at a few different sites for them at the
BEN CRENSHAW: That’s right, and this is fairly close to town too. There were some
enthusiasts in the area when Brook Hollow was built and he had fun on that piece of
property. He takes the [golf course] on some wonderful angles and he made the best out
of it, no doubt. We didn’t… the challenge was not to disrupt anything, that was the
challenge. We had hoped that we had carried out our work and had hoped that nobody
knew that we were there… That’s what we enjoy doing.
PHIL YOUNG: When you were doing the project, in fact before you did it, with the idea
of keeping it as true to Tilly’s design as possible, and with a the fire having destroyed all
the early records, where did you do your research about the original design of the course?
BEN CRENSHAW: I don’t know who produced the aerials, but we were presented some
holes aerials and there were far more bunkers on the golf course… We really rejected
quite a few of them because so many times, as you know, golf courses, and especially in
this particular case, lost a lot of bunkers throughout the 1930’s and 40’s and then later
[the course] became forested a little bit more, that it was just too much to put a lot of
those bunkers back in. We tried, in our minds, to keep all of the key bunkers that are in its
present form and not go so far back. That is to say we went back many more decades than
people were going to think of.
PHIL YOUNG: Do you think that Tilly used so many bunkers there because he it was his
first real attempt to emulate Pine Valley?
BEN CRENSHAW: I suppose… There is no question if you look at the old aerials there
are superfluous bunkers; there’s bunkers everywhere. The greens were a little bit of a
symmetrical, rectangular shape. Those, I suppose, were a little bit odd to look at in trying
to size his work up at other places. When you look at Winged Foot, when it was
completed, the actual greens were a little more squarish, a little more squared-off in the
front; little things like this. The bunkering and the positions of them will always be, but
there were many, many bunkers at Brook Hollow in the beginning.
What we had to work with later on, which was just fine, was a little something
different, but the shots are always there and the angles of play in the golf course are
playing along certain undulations, so that the routing and the scenes were just brilliant.
You’ve got to play all sorts of shots. And he took, I think, wonderful advantage of the
breezes that blow in Dallas.
PHIL YOUNG: Were you aware that Tilly visited and consulted on the Austin CC?
BEN CRENSHAW: Yeah, and if I’m not mistaken, that was at the site of the first Austin
CC. I may be wrong about that, but it was where Harvey Pennick was the pro…
PHIL YOUNG: That’s right, in fact Harvey had asked him to come in 1936.
BEN CRENSHAW: That is what is known as Hancock Park now, which is a public park,
but that was the original Austin CC… And that was 1899 or something. It existed there
until about 1950, and that’s when Perry Maxwell came in and built the second one.
PHIL YOUNG: That’s great that you mention him because of the wonderful Southern
Hills which is hosting the 2007 PGA Championship.
BEN CRENSHAW: Absolutely. I’m a big fan of Perry Maxwell’s…
PHIL YOUNG: I read your list of your favorite Golden Age architects and I wanted to
ask you a little bit of something about C.B. McDonald. You said that you were impressed
with McDonald and Raynor for “their abilities to guide early American designs in the
right direction.” So with that in mind, do you believe that golf courses should be designed
against templates of great hole types like McDonald practiced?
BEN CRENSHAW: Well certainly he was a proponent of that and he, as a general rule,
was a huge fan of classic architecture, whether it be golf, the arts or anything. He studied
that in Scotland in golf, and in his ode to tradition, it reflects in his work. He believed that
and to me it was uncanny how quickly Seth Raynor picked up what McDonald was trying
to attempt as an engineer… it’s just amazing to me, and he was not a player as well. I
mean, he went out and did some uncanny work in different locales and the templates, the
Alps, Biarritz and Eden appear, and you would say this one certainly fits here; it’s just
amazing to me. And the soundness of the work…
You know, from a variation of those themes, obviously, is how you make them fit on
the ground. I was amazed, two weeks ago, when I went to the Senior British Open and I
stayed at North Berwick. Any time you go to see the Redan… it’s just a fantastic golf
hole! But you could see that, and McDonald certainly thought it too, that that
configuration of the green and how it flows on the ground can work for par-fours as well
going into the green. Because that’s the beautiful thing; it allows options for people to
play, that’s the fascination of it.
PHIL YOUNG: Well how would you describe then your own philosophy of design?
BEN CRENSHAW: I think I’m very much… Bill Coore and I very much want to study a
piece of ground and to try to take in all its considerations and, at least to us, to fit the
holes onto the landscape as natural as possible, no question about that… When we go
look at a piece of land, we’re not any different from anybody else. We arrive at the site,
and you come with no preconceived notions whatsoever, and you try to discover the
ground and think about a simple walk across the piece of property, and what would be the
most exciting way to get across it, taking advantage of its natural features, and you try to
link the holes up as completely different as possible.
You have a lot of different situations, and you want to work with those and you want
to in every conceivable way so there’s no sameness. You want to give the golfer some
fresh problems to work out.
PHIL YOUNG: When you look at a piece of property for a potential client, are you ever
tempted to encourage them to think in terms of greatness rather than budget?
BEN CRENSHAW: Well… not to temper a client, but it was MacKenzie, I believe, who
said a golf course can only be as good as the ground that it’s on. Bill Coore and I believe
that the more you do to a property, the more that you try to add in and that you try to
interject, it gets… well, we just believe you can’t compete with nature. You certainly can
if you want to, but we think that it’s almost folly.
I’ll tell you what, when I played Whistling Straights a few weeks ago, my hat is off
to Pete Dye. Now we’re talking about an example there where everything is made! God,
it’s just amazing. I said, “How in the world did they do this?” We knew, I knew from Mr.
Kohler, what the site was. He said, “Ben, there was nothing here.” I said, “You’ve got to
be kidding!” I mean it’s the most unbelievable piece of work. Pete Dye is just a master at
that. He gets a certain material in mind and he goes like a badger, it’s amazing…There’re
certainly people who can do it, but it’s not Bill and I. We just can’t… I don’t know, we
just can’t bring ourselves to do it, it’s amazing.
PHIL YOUNG: It’s almost ironic that maybe two of the greatest links courses built in the
last few decades are totally manufactured that way with Kingsbarns as well.
BEN CRENSHAW: Yes. I don’t know enough about Kingsbarns, but I know that it has
so many people that are proponents of it and I’ve heard great things about it. I’ve seen a
few pictures of it. It looks spectacular.
PHIL YOUNG: You once stated that “No course should be so obvious to reveal itself
upon one viewing.” I love that.
BEN CRENSHAW: Well, you know, there’s certainly some people who feel, and some
people who’ve written about a game of golf with your friends and that it should be an
adventure… The golf course has something in it so that when you play it you learn
something about it every day, and there’s no finer example than St. Andrews. That still is
a paradox. I was fascinated to watch the girls play the Women’s British Open, some for
the first time to play St. Andrews, and it is very puzzling golf course when you see it.
Where do you even start there; it only gets better, it’s just amazing. Plus it’s very flat,
basically… It’s flat from a distance but when you’re up close there’s nothing flat about it.
PHIL YOUNG: Its real atmosphere goes right into you.
BEN CRENSHAW: It’s remarkable. It’s something that changes so much. Your strategy
changes; how you feel about your game on a given day and what you’ll try and what
you’re willing not to try… You can play it for the rest of your life and just learn so many
things about it.
PHIL YOUNG: Like it or not, as a historical figure and you are going to be talked about
for a lot of years after you’re gone. How does that make you feel?
BEN CRENSHAW: Well, I’m… umm… I don’t know, I’m a little uncomfortable. I’ll
just say this; that I was just blessed with a set of parents and Harvey Pennick who made
me want to study the game far more than it’s played. My playing, you know, has been my
life’s work for a great part of it. But really, ever since I played The Country Club at
Brookline when I was a teenager, 16 years old, I was fascinated with architecture and
how different that golf course appeared to me in a completely different locale [than
Texas]. And to me it reflected something of New England that I had just visited for the
first time. I found that fascinating.
The more I started to study, the more I found fascinating how golfer’s lives were
intertwined and the people who played it and the people who helped build and
administrate the game; there was a correlation.
I guess really, when it comes down to it, there’re enthusiasts in the game that want to
start a club and they’re no different than anywhere else. A few people get together and
they say, “Let’s build a course,” and form a club. Whether it be public or private, it’s a
desire to play the game and to present it in a way… Each course starts that way.
PHIL YOUNG: I’m researching a biography about Chick Evans, and you won both the
‘73 Western Amateur and the ‘92 Western Open. As you know, revenues from the
Western Open have funded the Chick Evans Caddy Scholarship Foundation over the
BEN CRENSHAW: How ironic that you mention Chick Evans name, because I was just
sent a letter by Nancy Boatwright, P.J. Boatwright’s wife. She had kept copies of certain
letters that P.J. had kept and in it was a letter by Bob Jones… apparently they did not get
along. I don’t know, there was something about Chick Evans that, I don’t know. I’ve
read about it and Bob Jones didn’t write about it in any of his books but, right or wrong,
their personalities didn’t match or something. But certainly one thing to say about Chick
Evans, besides being a fabulous player from Chicago, he started the most enduring caddy
program in existence, and if you start thinking about all the people who have come under
and benefited from that program, why that’s quite a legacy.
PHIL YOUNG: Well it’s interesting too that you mentioned Bob Jones… He’s
fascinating to me for a several reasons, and not just because of his relation to Chick and
Tilly. It goes along with another question I had for you because Tilly once wrote that he
had designed and built several hundred courses, and we only knew of 88 of them until
quite recently. In the first issue of Tillinghast Illustrated we announced a new one that
was just found. It was built in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, believe it or not. It was
designed to host a U.S. Open and Bobby Jones was asked to serve on its Board of
BEN CRENSHAW: Wow…That’s fascinating…I’ve always read about a course that I’ve
never visited, in Corsicana, Texas. I believe it’s still there. I’ve got a good friend, a
fraternity brother who lives there; it was an oil town. And just like any architectural
endeavor, right around those times, they were obviously looking for well-heeled
investors. Tillinghast certainly…they were all (the other Golden Age architects)
obviously trying to look for somewhat the same client list at the time, and they would go
to different places… I am certain it had to be fascinating that the network of people that
they met during the ‘20’s, which was such a flourishing age in America, they said “I’ve
just talked to this chap over here and he knows this fellow over here and it went on from
there…” But when you get into it, it’s amazing what you see and you say, “maybe that’s
the reason that that happened.”
PHIL YOUNG: Our research at the Tillinghast Association continues to rediscover
Tilly’s design work. There are a hundred-plus projects that he may have been involved
with that have been forgotten.
BEN CRENSHAW: I do know probably the best hole we have at the Austin Golf Club, a
club that we started in the year 2000, our ninth hole, is named “Tilly.” It’s an absolute, a
very natural par-five, his version of a three-shot par-five in that the fairway is cut off and
you go over a giant cross-hazard; very much like number seven at Pine Valley. He
certainly asserted himself that he convinced George Crump that this is the way that hole
ought to be played. You know, that hole is featured in many of his publications, or the
framework of that hole, and it was a natural for us so we named the ninth hole “Tilly.”
PHIL YOUNG: Well that’s great…
BEN CRENSHAW: It’s probably the best hole out there…
PHIL YOUNG: Are you going to be playing in the Seniors Players Championship at Five
Farms this October?
BEN CRENSHAW: I certainly am! I’ve played it, fortunately, and it’s a wonderful golf
course. I can’t wait to hear what these other fellows think about it ‘cause that’ll be their
first time to play it. I also have to tell you too that the green superintendent at the Austin
Golf Club did seven years at Baltimore Country Club. Peterson is his name. He was at
Prairie Dunes for 15 years before he went to Baltimore.
PHIL YOUNG: Just two more quick questions for you… I know you collect golf
literature. If you could read one last book, which one would it be?
BEN CRENSHAW: I still think, Reverend Tulloch’s, The Life of Tom Morris, is a
fascinating read. It’s hard to believe that a reverend could compile this huge book on the
life of his friend; it’s an amazing piece of work. It’s written by Reverend W.W. Tulloch.
PHIL YOUNG: If you could play just one last round on a sunny afternoon, nobody
around, just you enjoying yourself, where would it be?
BEN CRENSHAW: Well, it might be St. Andrews. Yeah, that’s probably it… You know,
it’s so hard for me, when people ask me some of my favorite courses. I can’t relegate
myself to a few; I have so many in my head that I love.
PHIL YOUNG: Then it’s got to be really difficult when they ask what are your favorite
courses of those you’ve designed. That’s like asking which is your favorite child.
BEN CRENSHAW: That’s true, to a great extent it probably always will be Sand Hills,
out in Nebraska, because it was so pure. We took our time with it. We’re happy that
people enjoy it. It was a thought to bring golf to obviously a remote location, but for what
we think were the right reasons.
PHIL YOUNG: Well, thank you so much for your time…
BEN CRENSHAW: You’re welcome… We’re all looking forward to Baltimore and it
was so nice of Constellation Energy to do this… The fellows will be in for a treat…And
I’m very happy and I’m honored to be the very first interviewee.
Interviewing a person whose accomplishments are on the scale of Ben Crenshaw’s is
both fun and fascinating. Having a conversation with someone who is as genuinely warm
and humble as is Ben, is an honor.
Thank you, Ben.
Ranking Tilly’s
Courses Today
1898 was a pivotal year in the life of A.W. Tillinghast. That spring he enjoyed his
second trip over to Scotland and St. Andrews, to play golf. He came back a very changed
man. That summer would see him build a rudimentary golf course in a public park where
the Old Wister farm once stood in Frankford, Pa. He spent his time teaching anyone and
everyone that would wander by about this game called golf. He also was now writing
about the game. The oldest article that we have so far been able to find was published in
the December 1899 issue of GOLF Magazine. As we’ve come to appreciate, it would be
the first of many. Among the aspects of the game that most appealed to Tilly and that he
enjoyed relating, were conversations that he had with many of the notables involved in
golf. Players, architects, writers, administrators; all found places within his writing. As a
result, we have a clear picture of how the game grew from almost the beginning of when
it was organized here in the U.S. From as far back as records of the game of golf have
been kept, those who have played it have taken great pride in measuring themselves
against another. Matches, both individually and as teams pitting outstanding players and
golf clubs against another have drawn crowds of onlookers and found keenly interested
readers of articles regaling the accounts of these.
It is no surprise then that a ranking of both the best players and golf courses has
always been of both great interest and cause of more than one spirited and contentious
debate. It is also no surprise that someone of Tilly’s stature would be asked to list those
he considered as all-time greats of both.
Among the very last articles that Tilly would write in his life was “Time’s Top Ten”
found in the December 1939 issue of The Pacific Coast Golfer. Here Tilly expressed his
views on whom he considered the nine greatest players of all time, with the “tenth” being
any of a number of other greats playing at that time.
Though Tilly ranked players, he never gave a ranking, Top Ten or other, of golf
courses. As a practicing golf architect, he felt it would be a conflict and inappropriate for
him to do so.
This is decidedly different today where most of the major golf publications list either
annual or bi-annual rankings of the 100 greatest courses in America and the World. There
are two things that we find fascinating in GOLF Magazine’s rankings of the 100 Greatest
Course rankings. First, how many of those involved in the ranking process are golf course
architects in their own rights and that now, more than 70 years since Tilly last designed a
golf course, a staggering total of 11 of the 100 Greatest Courses in America (7 of which
are in the Top 50) and 7 of the 100 Greatest Courses in the World, were designed by
Tilly. Both totals are the most among all architects, living or dead, of the courses that
GOLF Magazine ranked.
What is even more amazing is that there are other Tillinghast designs not ranked by
GOLF that are ranked as a Top 100 course by other leading golf journals. The Fenway
Golf Club, long considered and overlooked and hidden Tilly gem with some of the most
spectacular green complexes he designed anywhere, is an example of one.
In addition, it must also be remembered that several of the great Tillinghast designs
are no longer around. Courses at such clubs as Jackson Heights in New York and
Colonial in Atlanta conceivably were of such caliber that they might have been ranked
today, and Fresh Meadows, now the site of a shopping center and low-cost apartments,
was the first Tilly design to host two national championships.
This recognition of Tilly’s greatness as a golf course architect explains why we
believe that his work transcends time and is worth preserving and protecting. Those who
will come to play the game in future years deserve to do so on Tillinghast designs and to
be enthralled with them then as we are now.
GOLF Magazine’s Ranking of Tilly’s Courses
Winged Foot GC, West Course
San Francisco Golf Club
Bethpage Park, Black Course
Baltusrol GC, Lower Course
Quaker Ridge Golf Club
Winged Foot GC, East Course
Somerset Hills Country Club
Newport Country Club
Baltusrol GC, Upper Course
Baltimore CC, Five Farms
Ridgewood CC, West/East Nines
Mamaroneck, New York
San Francisco, California
Farmingdale, New York
Springfield, New Jersey
Scarsdale, New York
Mamaroneck, New York
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Newport, Rhode Island
Springfield, New Jersey
Timonium, Maryland
Paramus, New Jersey
News and Notes
Tillinghast Invitational Golf Tournament – Johnson City Country Club
This past August 4th & 5th saw the second annual Tillinghast Invitational Golf
Tournament held at the Johnson City Country Club. JCCC takes great pride in the nine
holes that Tilly designed for them that would later be expanded to 18 holes. Last year
they held the first of what will be an annual event to honor Tilly and identify the best
players in the state of Tennessee.
That this may soon be the premiere regional golf tournament in Tennessee can be
seen in how the number of contestants more than doubled from last year. Joe Meade
played spectacularly, shooting scores of 68 & 67 for a nine-under par score of 135 and a
four shot victory.
One of the nice features of this tournament is the six different flights in which players
can compete. They have even honored other great Tilly designs by naming some of the
flights after them, and so we also want to congratulate Matt Brown (75-78) the champion
of the Winged Foot Flight, Rick Wilson (77-80) in the Bethpage Flight and Mike Vaughn
(81-84) in the Baltusrol Flight.
What may have been the real star of the tournament was not a player, but a new score
reporting system designed by EGolfScore.
As reported by Joe Avento, golf writer for the Johnson City Press, “A big-screen TV
scoreboard on a hill behind the 18th green was a popular place all weekend, as spectators
sat and watched players finishing, knowing how well — or poorly — each competitor
was doing…
“Players used handheld devices to input their score after each hole. The leaderboard
was updated instantaneously, as was a tournament scoreboard on the company’s Web
site, allowing people all over an opportunity to view the results. In fact, folks as far away
as Florida were heard calling the course after seeing the results posted live.
It was an idea that seemed interesting enough, until it was actually seen in use. Then it
was spectacular…
“The players knew exactly where they stood against the entire field, even in the lower
flights, where the leaderboards tended to fluctuate quicker. It gave a different feel to the
tournament, making it almost a PGA Tour-like atmosphere.”
GOLF Magazine Top 100 courses by Tillinghast Association members:
Ben Crenshaw
World USA
Sand Hills Golf Club
Friars Head Golf Club
Old Sandwich Golf Club
Bandon Trails Golf Club
Mullen, Nebraska
Baiting Hollow, New York
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Bandon, Oregon
Rees Jones
World USA
Ocean Forest GC
Briar’s Creek GC
Sea Island, Georgia
John’s Island, S. Carolina
Tom Doak
World USA
Pacific Dunes Golf Club
Barnbougle Dunes Golf Links
Cape Kidnappers Resort
Bandon, Oregon
Bridport, Australia
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Holyoke, Colorado
Q & A
Tilly was a collector and seller of antiques. What did he collect?
Tilly was a man who enjoyed art and fine
craftsmanship and would almost naturally be
attracted to antique furniture. Among the pieces
passed down to his family at his passing is a
Federal period high-boy that at one time
belonged to one of the Vanderbilts.
Tilly was quite well-known in the antique
world for this and began selling fine pieces as a
second business in addition to his collecting.
He would do this throughout his life, although
When he began selling we are unsure.
We do know that he opened the first of his
Two “official” antique stores in 1927. This was
operated out of his Harrington Park home,
perhaps out of his Carriage House.
The furniture had substantial
value and he often used it as collateral
and payment on personal loans.
It has been said by family members that
they believed that Tilly’s personal collection
consisted of historical documents, famous
autographs and Civil War memorabilia.
Recently, several newspaper articles have been uncovered that bear this out. As seen
above, by naming Tilly first in the list of collections being sold, his importance as both
collector and agent within the field of antiques and collectibles is shown.
What becomes very revealing is just
how valuable the pieces owned by Tilly
were. For example, many of the Lincoln
pieces mentioned were from Tilly and they
brought prices in the high hundreds to more
than a thousand dollars a piece. This sale
was held in February of 1930, just three
months after the stock market crashed and
at a time when money was least valued.
With income of these amounts being
Generated, it explains how Tilly was able to
purchase the Harrington Park house he was
renting and have the capital to build a new
one and give it as a gift to his daughter and
her husband Bill Worden.
The second antique shop that Tilly
opened and operated, was done as a threeperson partnership with his wife Lillian and
their close family friend, Nedda Harrigan.
Tilly would write of this in the Pacific
Coast Golfer magazine. He said, “Then
again I managed to get myself messed up
with two ladies, who have kept me busier
than a one-legged paper hanger. It happens
that my good wife and Nedda Harrigan (of
cinema fame) decided that they would open
an Antique Shop in Beverly Hills (this plug
must be inserted to preserve peace in the
family) and I was elected to assist. I am
a wreck but the repository for authentic
antiques of rare merit is robust and healthy.
What chance has golf got against such guys
as Chippendale, Sheraton, Hepplewhite, Stiegle and such?”
For me, the most interesting collectible that Tilly obtained is an exceptionally fine
large Chinese porcelain vase, many hundreds of years old. The Empress Dowager of
China gave it as a gift to Edwin H. Conger, a Civil War veteran lawyer and U.S.
Congressman, who had been appointed the Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy
Extraordinaire to Peking [Beijing], China, by President McKinley. There he headed the
American Legation during the period of the Boxer rebellion.
It is not known as to how or when the Envoy Extraordinaire met A.W. Tillinghast, but
evidently they were both friends and competitors in golf, a game that Conger greatly
enjoyed but was unable to play while in China. During a match between the two the vase
was put up for wager. Tilly won and this beautiful vase remains with the family to this