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Rockaway Hunting Club

Rockaway is the oldest country club in the US, beginning life initially as a horse and hunting club. The course is located close to Kennedy, and aircraft are a constant. Plus the course is relatively low to the ocean and will be underwater in years to come as a result of climate change, sad to say. Hurricane Sandy did some damage but that is likely just a foretaste of what’s ahead.

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I played several years ago with my banker, Buck P. Delightful host, good golfer. This is some history about the course, from the Club’s website:

The Rockaway Hunting Club is the oldest country club in the United States, although not originally a country club in today's sense of the word. Its principal clientele was the horse set, and it featured Fox Hunting and Steeplechase Racing.

In 1877, a group of young men from Bayswater in Far Rockaway took part in a Chase between Lawrence and Valley Stream. They organized a club in Bayswater in 1878, but in 1884, residential development forced a move to the present location in Lawrence. There the members built a clubhouse considered the largest, most luxurious on Long Island. It overlooked Reynolds Channel, Long Beach, a polo field and a four-mile steeplechase course.

Rockaway's initial fame came from polo, creating a bitter rivalry with Meadow Brook Hunt. By 1888, the two clubs were so superior to all others that a handicap system was created. The Rockaway team won national championships in 1901 and 1902. The world-champion Rockaway team was headed by Foxhall Keene, who was rated the best all-around polo player in America for eight years in a row and is certainly the greatest athlete in the club's history.

James R. Keene, Foxhall's father, once offered a $100,000 wager that no one could beat his son in a contest including 10 sports - there were no takers. During the late 1890s, Foxhall took a brief respite from polo and developed into one of just two scratch golfers in the Met district - the other being Walter Travis. He competed in the 1897 U.S. Open, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1898 U.S. Amateur, where he was defeated by Travis.

Cruden Bay

Gullane 2