History of Leewood
Chartered in October 1922, Leewood Golf Club is one of the oldest Westchester golf clubs with a rich tradition in local history. Among the charter members were D.W. Griffith, director of film classics The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, and the honorable Frederick P. Close, a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court and for many years Presiding Justice of its Appellate Division. The first President of the club was George W. Field, a Scarsdale resident who was a prominent New York attorney and a director of the Scarsdale National Bank.
Situated precariously on a mass of boulders, many of them related to the famous Tuckahoe marble used in some of our great national buildings including the Washington Monument, the builders faced a formidable task in carving out a suitable golf course. The challenge was met by the first club professional, Carl Fox, who laid out and constructed the course aided by a corps of members who gave up their weekends to dig holes and bury boulders so that machines could be brought in to cut the rough and fairways. Many of the holes that they created, with supervision by the famous Long Island golf architect, Devereaux Emmet, who did the Garden City Golf Club and Wee Burn in Darien, are little changed today.
For almost 15 years until 1949, the club’s picturesque 9th Hole was the annual site of the New York World Telegram’s “Hole in One Contest” participated in by thousands of metropolitan area golfers over the years. Leewood has hosted many professional tournaments including the Westchester Open; been a qualifying site for a number of United Stated Opens; and is annually the site of a P.G.A. Pro-Am. It is a private, member-owned club that offers a broad range of recreational facilities.
Leewood was the golf home of baseball’s immortal Babe Ruth, who was a member until the time of his death. He remains the club’s most famous member. Visitors to the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown can see some of the golf trophies the Babe won at Leewood. His favorite playing partner was Ben Curry, the noted automobile dealer. Curry loved to tell of the Babe standing on the now17th tee, and unleashing prodigious drives that carried on the fly, all the way to the green. Another of Curry’s stories, perhaps apocryphal, was that the tunnel leading to the Bronx River Parkway next to Leewood’s front entrance was put there so that Ruth could make a quick exit from the golf course to Yankee Stadium.