Gold Mashie Tournament: Historic Amateur Golf Showcase

The Gold Mashie was a golf tournament for amateur golfers that was played in the 1920s. And for the brief period it was played, it was one of the top amateur tournaments in the world, won by several of the best American amateur golfers ever.

First played: 1923

Last played: 1928

The Gold Mashie Tournament was the brainchild of wealthy golf enthusiast Thomas Suffern Tailer Sr. He was a member at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, then built his own private course, the 9-hole Ocean Links course in Newport. He founded the Gold Mashie to bring together the best amateur golfers in America at the time.

It was a 72-hole, stroke-play tournament played on a 9-hole course, so the golfers went round the Ocean Links eight times. The Ocean Links has been called by some golf historians one of the greatest 9-hole courses ever created. But after the tournament's creator and benefactor, Tailer, died suddenly over Christmas in 1928, the tournament was canceled. The golf course itself was gone after 1941.

The tournament's trophy featured an affixed, miniature mashie club that was made out of pure gold. A golfer winning the tournament twice was allowed to keep the trophy, which Jesse Guilford did after his second win in 1926. A second trophy was then created.

Jess Sweetser lost an 18-hole playoff to Guilford (71 to 74) in the first Gold Mashie, then was runner-up again the following year, 1924. Sweetser finally won it in 1928, with Guilford as the runner-up.

The most-famous thing that happened in the Gold Mashie was George Von Elm's victory in the final tournament, 1928. Von Elm carded rounds of 65, 67, 71 and 69 to finish at 272. That was 21 strokes ahead of the runner-up, and 15 strokes better than the previous tournament record. In fact, it was possibly the lowest 72-hole, stroke-play total recorded to that point in top-level competition.

Also known as: The tournament's name was always "Gold Mashie," but you will sometimes see references in golf history books to it as the "Golden Mashie Tournament."

Winners of the Gold Mashie Tournament

1923 — Jesse Guilford, 291
1924 — Clark Corkran, 300
1925 — Francis Ouimet, 288
1926 — Jesse Guilford, 293
1927 — Jess Sweetser, 287
1928 — George Von Elm, 272

Golf course: Ocean Links in Newport, Rhode Island

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