The History of the Long Island Senior Golf Association
Roughly seventy years ago, Long Island experienced rapid growth and many changes. The year 1951 brought two important alterations, one to air travel and one to golf. Roosevelt Field, which was once the largest airfield in existence, closed. Also, in 1951, a group of gentlemen golfers decided that it was time for seniors on Long Island to have their own golf organization and so they formed the Long Island Senior Golf Association (LISGA). Frederick A. Marsh of the Garden City Country Club, a founding member of LISGA also served as it’s first president from 1951-1954. Other founding members chosen to serve as officers of the organization were Gordon Hill of Oakland, vice president; Albert Bennett of Inwood, treasurer, and Ralph Prost of Seawane, secretary. At its inception, the eligibility age for membership to LISGA was open to men over fifty years-old and members of clubs on Long Island.
LISGA launched its first tournament in June 1952. Sixty-five seniors turned out for the initial event which was held at Hempstead Golf Club and resulted in a tie for the lowest scores between Frank Makowski of Wheatley Hills and Jack Ryerson of Nassau. Other winners in this tournament were Edwin G. Wright, the oldest player in Class A; the lowest score of the day was attained by Ralph Prost of Seawane and a one stroke under score achieved by William Volz of Garden City Country Club. Another first for LISGA’s tournaments took place in Hewlett when the first clergyman, Father Ryan, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Roslyn won the Senior Golf title.
The newly formed LISGA not only launched its first tournament in June 1952, it also became part of the Triangular Team Matches for seniors in the tri-state area. Since its inaugural year, LISGA has grown from eighty-one members and maintains a steady membership of over 350. Annually, the association provides four tournaments a year at various golf courses on Long Island and ends each season competing against the Westchester and New Jersey seniors in the Triangular Matches.
Currently, the age eligibility for seniors is fifty-five and older as opposed to the fifty-year-old entry in 1951 in order to create a fair and motivating atmosphere. LISGA also divides its tournament competitions into age groups. Members in good standing with golf privileges at a private Long Island Golf or Country Club are eligible for application for membership. A Board of Governors comprised of twelve elected Regular members are responsible for carrying out the objectives of the association. The association continues to serve its membership in the gratifying tradition of Long Island golf, which can proudly and accurately boast that it is the origin of all golf in the United States. The first golf course to open officially in the U.S.A. was Shinnecock Hills, in Southampton, Long Island in 1894. The future for the LISGA looks bright with an ever-growing membership that will continue its dedication to the sport that, in the United States, has its deepest roots here on Long Island.