By Mike Dougherty
A number of members at Quaker Ridge Golf Club still maintain friendships that were established when they hosted the Walker Cup in 1997, and that experience made them willing partners when the USGA extended an invitation to host the Curtis Cup in 2018.
The biennial team competition pits the best female amateurs from the U.S. against their counterparts from Great Britain and Ireland and will be played June 8-10.
Quaker Ridge is home to a classic A.W. Tillinghast design that annually ranks among the best in the country. It will become only the third club in the U.S. to host the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup, joining Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania and The Minikahda Club in Minnesota.
“We’re thrilled about it because so many of the members here still have such fond memories of the Walker Cup,” said Beth Post, a past club president who is going to be heading up the Quaker Ridge tournament committee. “It will be fun to see how the best women amateurs play the course.”
Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Ireland will be hosting the Curtis Cup in 2016.
“Quaker Ridge provided a stern and fair test for the 1997 Walker Cup competitors, and we are confident that it will do the same for these elite female amateurs in four years, when the match is contested for the 40th time,” USGA vice president and chairman of the championship committee Daniel B. Burton said in a statement.”
According to club president Marc Friedman, the discussion to host a Curtis Cup began several years ago before St. Louis Country Club was selected to host this year’s match.
“The previous Curtis Cup had been held on the East Coast, so that kind of took us out of the running,” he said.
Another conversation with the USGA started up six months ago.
“Quaker, from a golfing standpoint, is capable of holding any event,” Friedman said. “But we have no driving range on site, and we are limited from an acreage standpoint, so this is much more manageable. All the rounds will be televised, and the event suits our infrastructure.”
Post was in St. Louis in June, taking notes.
The news was greeted with enthusiasm by South Salem resident Nicole Morales, who is heading to the University of Alabama in the coming weeks. She was invited to practice with potential members of this year’s Curtis Cup team in Texas, and the idea of playing a prestigious event so close to home sounded like a fitting way to end a noteworthy amateur career.
“I would sign up the second I could,” the 18-year-old said. “That would be a pretty good sendoff. I hope that I’m able to play in that one, but it’s kind of a long way down the road.”