Woodmere Club Readies for Centennial

In 2012, the Woodmere Club in Woodmere, N.Y., will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The club on Long Island's south shore has a storied pedigree and is well-known in the tri-state area.

Woodmere Club originally began in 1908 as a modest sporting facility that established itself as a major tennis venue for many professional tennis events, including the women's state clay court championships. It was situated at a different location from its present home on Woodmere Bay. In 1912, the club was officially chartered and, with the purchase of additional land to create an 18-hole golf course, soon became the playground of the era's rich and famous residents. The group included "Diamond Jim" Brady, William Fox (owner of 20th Century Fox), Henry Zeigler of Steinway Pianos, and actress-singer Lillian Russell.

At that time, there was yachting, swimming, fishing, bowling and an ice rink in the winter. No other club had such amenities or the vibrant social scene.

"The toughest part of being successful as a leader in the country club industry is the necessity to continually evolve and reinvent yourself, adapting to the change in times and circumstances of a dynamic marketplace," says Lee A. Israel, the Woodmere Club's youngest-ever president. "We are proud that our club has stayed current and that in 2012 we will celebrate 100 years of existence."

The Woodmere Club's golf course has been the stage for a U.S. Open and a U.S. Senior Open qualifier, numerous major Metropolitan Golf Association tournaments, including three Met Opens, as well as other events. In 1954, legendary architect Robert Trent Jones re-designed the back nine; Brian Silva reshaped the bunkers and added significant greenside mounding in the late 1980s.

The course has hosted a number of visits by golf celebrities. In 1982, PGA Tour star Ben Crenshaw took part in a helicopter playing tour of the Met area's most challenging holes that was billed as the "Dream 18." When he reached a Woodmere par-3 (the 16th hole of his promotional round), Crenshaw was 3-under. But "Gentle Ben" dropped his tee shot into a hazard, found a bunker with his next shot and left the green with a triple-bogey.

To commemorate its centennial, Woodmere Club plans a year-long celebration with member events and activities, as well as some local community initiatives. For more information, visit www.woodmereclub.com.