Club History

The sport of golf arrived in the United States in 1888 and the early courses were designed like those in Scotland. The Shelter Island Country Club was no exception. It's still basically the same design as it was back in 1901. The course was developed by the Shelter Island Heights Association exclusively for the use of the Heights Association and its guests at first but later opened to the public. The first grounds superintendent Wesley Smith sculpted the links with pick and shovel, horses and donkey carts. The clubhouse was built by Charles Corwin with wood delivered from Connecticut in schooners to Piccozzi's dock and hauled by wagon to the hilltop. In 1942, the Heights Association decided to close the golf course. William Congdon, who had worked at the club since he was a teenager in 1920, proposed that he rent it and run it as a private business. The golf operation, which has been continuous since its founding, was run by Mr. Congdon and his wife Olive beginning in 1942. For the next 34 years, the Congdons were successful, but in 1976 profits were low and the Heights wanted to raise the rent. The Congdons decided to retire, and the club was leased and operated by George Blados until 1978. The club weathered the hurricane of 1938, wars and hard times and still golf was played every year on the course. In the late 1970s the Town of Shelter Island bought the property for $275,000. The town appointed a board to oversee the operations, and the board found volunteers to run the club. The club has been run ever since by a volunteer board of trustees elected by members of the club. After some hard work by several board members the club was finally added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.