A Bit of Bonnie Briar History


The Revolutionary War

Over two hundred years ago British troops camped overnight near the first tee. They were most likely an element of Sir Henry Clinton's column known to have moved up Quaker Ridge Road to Weaver Street and then up Mamaroneck Road to the historic Battle of White Plains.

The First Course

A hundred years later, in the early 1800's, the first and ninth fairways became the site of the " first" golf layout in the United States. It was a six-hole, crisscross affair with nothing of the lush grass played on today.

One remnant of the old course remains, the long bunker crossing the fairway some fifty yards in front of the ninth tee. A building with its gable end abutting the first fairway at the top of the hill, was the old Golf House. The house stood on land owned by Colonel Sackett, and its porch extended onto what is now the first fairway, land owned by Colonel Edward Lyman Bill.

The Old Golf House

Col. Sackett and Col. Bill were peppery old golfing partners, friends, neighbors and brothers-at-arms in Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Unfortunately, they eventually had a falling out. Col. Bill must have stared at the old Golf House for a long time, with its porch extending onto his golf course before he yoked his oxen, hitched onto the porch and ripped it from the building. He pitched the wreckage onto Col. Sackett's land warning his old friend never again to set foot on the Bill property. This may have been the first expulsion from a golf "club" in the United States.

The Clubhouse

The Bills were the founding family of what is now Bonnie Briar. Colonel Bill started to build the clubhouse as a residence, but he did not live to see it completed and it stood as a hollow shell for several years. All of the rock and stone and nearly all the timbers in the clubhouse came right off the land on which the course is built. The rock came from the deep bunker to the right of the tenth green. In those days it was the old twelfth hole, aptly called the Quarry Hole, and played from a raised tee back to the practice green to the right of the tenth tee.

Bonnie Briar

Col. Bill's son, Ed Jr., founded Bonnie Briar in 1921, finished construction of the clubhouse and became the Club's first president. Since then, many Westchesterites and their friends have enjoyed the golf, tennis, swimming and social activities of this congenial, ethnically mixed, family oriented, member owned and operated club.