History of Westchester Hills Golf Club, White Plains
Westchester Hills original clubhouse
photograph courtesy of Westchester County Historical Society
When it was founded in 1913, Westchester Hills Golf Club was originally the golf course for guests of the Gedney Farm Hotel, also known as the “Saratoga of Westchester County” for its opulent 300-room hotel, tennis, polo, bowling alleys, winter sports, and sightseeing stagecoach. Members of what was then known as the Gedney Farm Country Club played the course and acquired it from the hotel in 1921, changing the name to Westchester Hills and laying the foundation for one of the county’s most popular clubs.
The club’s first professional, Peter Clark, designed the golf course with assistance from noted architect Donald Ross. It was built in stages, with the first nine holes completed in 1913 and a residence converted to a clubhouse on the property. Five more holes were added during the next year, with the final four finished in 1915. Membership boomed, rising to 300 by 1918. Robert Farley, developer of the hotel and first president of the country club, remained a member until his death in 1933.
Westchester Hills accommodated hotel guests for a fee, but in 1923 a second course, which eventually became the now-defunct Ridgeway Country Club, was built across the street to cater to the hotel clientele. A year later, though, a nine-hour fire, the largest in White Plains history, destroyed the Gedney Farm Hotel.
Westchester Hills grew through the war years. War bonds were awarded as weekly golf prizes and servicemen were charged a greens fee of just $1 to play the course. For three years, from 1985 to 1987, the LPGA staged the MasterCard International Pro-Am at Westchester Hills (along with Ridgeway and Knollwood).
The club also has the distinction of having only four head pros during its first hundred years. The designer, Peter Clark, served until 1937, when he turned things over to his assistant, Jack Sobel, who was in turn replaced by Kevin Morris in 1977. Morris retired in 2006, and his assistant, Jason Gobleck, took over.
In 2011, members of the club financed the renovation of the clubhouse by prepaying dues and contributing construction services and materials, an unusual arrangement that paid off with a large influx of new members.