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Historic Shelter Island’s Goat Hill

Some fun facts about the history of Goat Hill:

1901 — Articles of Incorporation filed with New York State. Dr. William E. Butler is elected as the first President

1902 — Course opens to golfers. James M. Lang, golf pro, greenskeeper, club maker and course designer at Crescent Athletic Club in Brooklyn, becomes Shelter Island Country Club’s first pro.

1906 — SICC golf pro George Baldrick sets 9-hole course record of 36, beating the previous record by 2 strokes. Hole No. 2 (Cedars) is extended 50 yards.

1911 — Cost of a caddie for 9 holes, 20 cents

1917 — Cost for a round of golf $1, $2 on weekends and holidays.

1922 — Johnny Farrell plays at SICC, the year he turns professional. He goes on to win the U.S. Open in 1928 and The Open Championship in 1929. He wins 22 PGA titles over the course of his career.

1930’s — The Great Depression hits the club hard. By 1934 the club is limping by, dependent on loans from directors and members. Bill Congdon, who started working at the club in 1920, is laid off. At one point, the club asks the Heights Association to assume the club’s debts and guarantee expenses. In return, the association would keep all the profits.

1942 — After a massive fire destroys the New Prospect Hotel, The Shelter Island Heights Association decides to close down the golf course. Bill and Olive Congdon step in and broker an arrangement to manage and operate the course. They run it successfully for 37 years.

1942-1976 — The Congdons, in every sense of the word, save SICC. Had they not taken over in 1942, the club likely would not have survived. For the next 34 years, Bill fills the role of greenskeeper, golf teacher, club manager and handyman, while Olive takes charge of the clubhouse and kitchen.

Stay tuned for the for the more historic facts in next week’s column.

Golf clubs from a bygone era. (Courtesy photo)

Membership: If you haven’t renewed your membership, now is the time to do so. SICC relies on the membership for funds to keep our course continually improving. As a nonprofit corporation, we use all our funds for operations, maintenance and improvements. Where else on the East End can you get a golf membership for $600? Our mission is to keep golf affordable for the local folks and be a standout in our community. Stop by the pro shop or visit our website at shelterislandcc.org.

Club Professional: Eric K. Schultzel is back for the 2023 season as SICC’s PGA Teaching Professional. Eric will be giving individual, group and playing lessons, video analysis will also be available. To schedule your lesson or for any other questions please call the Pro Shop at 631-749-0416.

Schedule of Events: Junior Golf Program. Sign up now at pro shop or online

Tournament schedule to be released soon.

Flying Goat Restaurant: Open for it’s seventh season at the clubhouse. Best views on Shelter Island. Check out our new menu items. Reservations recommended. 631-749-5404

SICC Info: Website — shelterislandcc.org

Comments, Questions and Suggestions — [email protected]

Pro Shop — 631-749-0416 

Hours of Operation:  8 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

Attitude makes the difference.