The 1920s was quite literally the decade that set the foundation of Winged Foot. Charles “Nibs” Nobles led a group of New York Athletic Club members who sought to find their own land for the purposes of building a golf course. After acquiring the land, Nobles selected A.W. Tillinghast to design the East and West courses. Clifford Wendehack, among the foremost residential architects of his era, conceived the now iconic Winged Foot clubhouse. On April 14, 1923, the cornerstone was laid by the membership, and two months thereafter the first golfers teed off on Tilly’s masterpiece. The decade was capped by perhaps the club’s finest championship moment when the great Bobby Jones claimed the 1929 US Open. It is difficult to imagine a finer start for a club than was had by Winged Foot in the 1920s.
The building of the golf courses must have caused a stir of excitement back then. Winged Foot had sought out the best. A. W. Tillinghast, one of the most prominent golf architects of the day, was hired to build the courses. Also hired was respected clubhouse architect Clifford Wendehack to build a clubhouse in the style of Tudor Scholastic.
Shortly after the club opened, Winged Foot appointed top player Mike Brady its pro. Brady finished second in the 1911 and 1919 U.S. Open Championships.
The initial charter members came from the NYAC. And we can imagine that informed local golfers were following every stage of the development and walking the grounds surveying the raw layout. Celebrity memberships followed. John Anderson, who had finished second twice in the U.S. Amateur, joined in 1924, shortly after the course was completed. Jess Sweetser, 1922 U.S. Amateur champion and runner-up in 1923, also joined in 1924. Other top golfers in the area migrated from their clubs and sought membership at Winged Foot. The club became recognized nationally when the USGA awarded the 1929 U.S. Open to Winged Foot West. It took only six years for Winged Foot to be selected by the USGA to hold an Open. To this day, Winged Foot West is "the youngest" course in history to be so honored.
Winged Foot Golf Club is admired around the world as one of the world's greatest Golf Clubs. The Founders had such a remarkable vision for the Club which was founded in 1921.
Not one, but two of the greatest golf courses in the world designed by A. W. Tillinghast. The Founders wanted two exceptional golf courses, a rather bold undertaking for the times. Starting in 1929, the Club has hosted major golf events. Since their opening, both golf courses have been recognized both individually and collectively. The West Course has consistently ranked in the Golf Digest Top 10 in the United States. Winged Foot Golf Club is the only golf club in the world with both courses ranked in the Top 100 worldwide. Our courses are maintained to meet and exceed championship standards.
In 1929 Winged Foot Golf Club hosted its first US Open. Since then the Club has hosted four more USGA National Championships, the 1997 PGA Championship, two Women's Opens, a Senior Open and two U.S. Amateurs and the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four Ball. In June of 2020 we will host our sixth USGA National Championship. There are few clubs in the world with Winged Foot's history of hosting major golf events.