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St. Andrews, the oldest Golf Course in the U.S. … Isn’t 26

Posted on July 09, 2014 by David Bryce
St. Andrews in Yonkers, New York is billed as the oldest golf club in the United States. But is it really?

St. Andrews in Yonkers, New York is billed as the first golf club in the United States. But is it really?

It’s commonly claimed that the oldest golf course to be founded in the United States is St. Andrews, in Yonkers, New York. It’s one of those little bits of trivia meant to show that you are a true aficionado of the sport rather than a mere schlub. Doubt it? Go visit their website. It’s the very first thing they say about themselves.

Except, it isn’t.

It’s not even true that it’s the oldest U.S. course to still be in use, or even in continuous use since it was built. First started as a three hole course in 1888, St. Andrews has been open every year since, providing 126 years of continuous play for golfers in the States. During that time it has expanded from three holes to the “standard” eighteen hole, par 71 course that is known and loved today, and lauded as the first and oldest golf course in the U.S.

Unfortunately, neither claim is true. Those titles were earned earlier, in 1884. There’s just one small problem with naming who holds them. Two courses were founded that year, and no one is quite certain which opened first. One is the Foxburg Golf Club in Pennsylvania. The other is Oakhurst Links in West Virginia.

Which came first? It’s hard to say. Both have a claim for that preeminence. But the exact date of the first game played on the course is uncertain. Without knowing that, it’s impossible to appoint a single winner. So let’s take a quick look at both.
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