Historic Golf Gear and Memorabilia of Golf Collectors in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
Masterpieces and mementos: Hudson Valley and Westchester’s golf collectors preserve and celebrate the game
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Garth Bishop, Hopewell Junction
Garth Bishop, 12 years old at the time, was caddying at Mount Kisco Country Club when he saw a golf ball floating in the pond near the 10th green. Since golf balls normally sink like stones, he knew he was on to something. He fished it out, and sure enough, it was a novelty ball labeled “floater.” That golf ball is still in the 57-year-old Bishop’s collection of books, autographs, clubs, balls, novelties, figurines, tournament programs, trophies, toys, and much more that fills a spare bedroom and overflows to bookcases and cabinets throughout his home.
“I have no idea how many items are in the collection or how much it’s worth.” Bishop says. “If I see an article or artifact that helps me understand the game, I add it to the collection.”
The watercolor map on Bishop’s wall is of the Mount Kisco Golf Club, which was in a different location from the current Mount Kisco Country Club and disappeared before World War II, replaced by houses, some office buildings, and a gas station, although one of the tee boxes still exists near Route 117. The map is a plan for lengthening the course prepared by A.W. Tillinghast in 1920.
Bishop started his serious collecting with putters, although he has plenty of mashies, niblicks, cleeks, brassies, and driving irons as well. Two of the earliest clubs in his collection have screw-in shafts and date to 1894. He talks easily of spring-faced clubs and dual-faced irons, none of which would be legal on the course today.
One of the most interesting items in Bishop’s collection is a 1959 vinyl LP with golf lessons recorded by Arnold Palmer, complete with an instruction book bound into the cover. Who said multimedia is a new idea?
» Next: Meet golf collector Lowell Schulman of Purchase, NY