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Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Table of Contents
Introduction
History
Shinnecock Golf Association

Introduction

In 1891, one hundred and fifty Shinnecock tribal members assisted in laying out the first 12 holes of what was to become the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

Willie Dunn, Scottish Professional and course developer said several years into development;

The place was dotted with Indian burial mounds and we left some of these intact as bunkers in front of the greens. We scraped out some of the mounds and made sand traps.

Material from the Sebonac and Woodland period villages were found in the area; including pottery and human remains that were sent to the American Museum of Natural History and Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation – now NMAI.

History

1891

150 Shinnecocks help Willie Dunn, Scottish professional; lay out the first 12 holes of what was to become the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Willie Dunn said at that time,

“The place was dotted with Indian burial mounds and we left some of these intact as bunkers in front of the greens. We scraped out some of the mounds and made sand traps.”

Material from the Sebonac and Woodland period villages were found in the area, beside Sebonac road.  Pottery, human remains, and other items went to the American Museum of Natural History and Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation – now NMAI.

Ancient-Shell-Heap-Shinnecock-Hills-Golf-Club-The-Shinnecock-Indians-a-culture-history-vol-vi-Gaynell-Stone-1983 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Jeremy Dennis On This Site

View of Sebonac swamp and Ancient Shell Heaps. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is in the background. (Neg no. 12539. Courtesy American Museum of Natural History. Photo: M. R. Harrington, M. I. Smith.) From Gaynell Stone, The Shinnecock Indians – A Culture History Vol VI 1983, pp. 284

1896

U.S. Open Golf Championships are held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course, in which Oscar Bunn, Shinnecock-Montauk, brother of Charles Sumner Bunn, played and his friend John Shippen.

Shippen, the son of Rev. John Shippen came in fifth and was 21 years old. Oscar Bunn and John Shippen both became golf pros and taught at different golf clubs for many years.1

1950’s

Shinnecock tribal member Elmer Smith was the club’s first full-time superintendent. He became a legendary figure, famous for his grass growing genius, his probity, his decency, his way of treating everyone, caddies, and members, with the same respect. When he died in 1980, his son Peter Smith filled his father’s shoes and prepared the course for the 1985 and 1996 US Open.2

1980’s

Shinnecock’s Peter Smith, who attended Dartmouth University, took the job and continued his education at Rutgers for turf management. He prepared the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course for the 1986 and 1995 US Open.3

1999

Peter Smith was replaced in 1999, ending three generations and 44 years of the Smith family connection, by Mark Michaud of Pebble Beach, causing anguish in the Shinnecock Nation, which Smith served as tribal leader (as well as being a board member of Southampton Hospital). He became superintendent at the Foxwoods course in Connecticut, where he was working when he died at 47 of a heart attack in 2002. He remains the only superintendent to have prepared Shinnecock for two Opens.3

2018

becky-protest-us-open-2018 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Jeremy Dennis On This Site

Rain or shine, Rebecca Genia reminded golf fans of local history during the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Photo by Bruce Buschel http://mobile.easthamptonstar.com/Opinion/2018621/Shinnecock-Curse

During the 2018 U.S. Open hosted at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in Southampton, NY, Shinnecock tribal members protested the desecration of the hills and loss of land that once belonged to the Shinnecock Nation.5

 

shinnecock-hills-logo Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Jeremy Dennis On This Site

The Shinnecock Hills Golf Course also redesigned their logo to a stereotypical Indian.

 

  1. David Martine, Shinnecock History Timeline, pp. 10
  2.  https://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/11/sports/golf-behind-the-ropes-at-shinnecock-a-deep-rooted-union-frays.html
  3.  https://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/us-open/the-people-who-helped-make-history-at-shinnecock-hills-1.18907242
  4.  https://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/us-open/the-people-who-helped-make-history-at-shinnecock-hills-1.18907242
  5.  http://mobile.easthamptonstar.com/Opinion/2018621/Shinnecock-Curse

Shinnecock Golf Association

Shinnecock Tribal member Lubin Hunter Sr. described the Shinnecock Golf Association as an off-reservation group for tribal members who caddied together on the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course. The group was formed at first as an informal social gathering, but later became a non-profit Golf Association, which provides scholarships to Shinnecock youth.

Robin Williams of Shinnecock, while working at Nassau College, assisted in ensuring that the scholarship program provided as much aid to Shinnecock youth as possible.1

  1. Michael L. Lawson, PH.D., Introduction of the Evidence of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, 2009 pp 39-40

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