The Hornblower Memorial is one of the most prestigious amateur events in Massachusetts. Each year approximately 65% of the field is filled by invitation, the balance of the field is filled from applications open to anyone who carries an active GHIN index of 3.0 or lower.
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> TEE TIMES
To understand the history of this tournament is to understand the man for whom it was named and the message that he sent though his actions. Back in the early 1900s, Henry Hornblower collaborated with the now defunct Pilgrim Hotel to create what is now Plymouth Country Club on a pristine hillside overlooking Plymouth Bay. To create a resort complex, the hotel ceded enough land for 3 holes, Hornblower contributed enough for 6 more holes and Plymouth Country Club's first 9 hole course came to life. A brilliant investment advisor (founded Hornblower & Weeks, a leading investment firm in Boston) he not only drove his firm and his country club through the expansion in the 1920s, but even guided both through the perils of the Great Depression that followed. He is personally credited for saving Plymouth CC through his generosity once again in the Depression. As an expression of the Club's appreciation, he was awarded a silver bowl inscribed, "Hornblower Trophy".
Hornblower was a man of vision who saw golf as a game that would spread to the common man and wanted his club to be at the epicenter of that assimilation. In 1932, his idea was to create a tournament that would attract top caliber amateur players from all over New England, as a key component of that vision. The winner would be awarded that trophy, his trophy. Just as his land was given for the enjoyment of all, his trophy would be the symbol of the spreading of the game of golf. The first tournament was played with a small field and the trophy awarded to Bill Arnold of Charles River CC. For the next 6 years, it grew in size and fame and became a focal point of amateur competition. Winners came from Wollaston, Brae Burn, Scituate, Wellesley,etc. The first Plymouth member to win was Harold Goodwin in 1939, who, 3 years later, would turn pro and become the Head professional at Plymouth Country Club. Hornblower's untimely death in 1940, and the subsequent outbreak of WWII, brought an end to the regional competition, albeit only temporarily.
Fast forward to 1962, an old silver bowl with "Hornblower Trophy" engraved thereon was discovered in a dusty closet. With its discovery came a growing interest in the history of the Club and Mr. Hornblower's role in the development of this Plymouth hillside, and also spreading the game of golf for all. At the same time as Arnold Palmer was assembling his "army", members of Plymouth CC, under the leadership of primarily A. Linwood Ellis III (a/k/a "Skeet") were relearning the legacy of Henry Hornblower, whose original tournament had begun just about the time that Palmer was born.
Skeet Ellis enlisted the Club pro, Gerry Goodwin, and a dedicated committee, including Reno Zammarchi and H. Sterling (Hank) Ingram, to revive the competition, at first as an internal, member-only event. In 1965, the committee, again led by Skeet Ellis convinced the Board that the tournament should be returned to the public, as a regional competitive event. Members were asked to stand down for the two days of the event and did so to honor both the original Hornblower legacy and the spirit of those who revived that legacy. The silver bowl was replaced by a majestic trophy, 3 feet tall, renamed the "Hornblower Memorial Trophy". Finally, just as Hornblower's offspring became leaders at Plymouth CC, today Skeet Ellis' son, Michael, now chairs the Hornblower Memorial Tournament, and his grandson Dustin, works with his father on this event.
As was the original tournament, the revised tournament was to be a 36-hole stroke play invitational, limited to only excellent golfers. Originally only those with better than an 8 handicap were invited to apply. Today the standards are even higher.
There are brightly burnished silver panels on the base of the "new" trophy and each year the name of the winner is engraved on the panel. The very first name engraved on the trophy of the reborn 1965 Hornblower was Vin Plansky, who just happened to be in town, and a very late entrant. Since that time familiar names have been added because about a dozen of them have gone on to compete on the PGA tour. There are other contestants who have competed in the Hornblower who have achieved significant success on the PGA tour, but whose names do not appear on that trophy; the competition has been literally that tough. Finally, there are names of people who just put two of the best rounds together one year on the hillside course over looking the Atlantic and then went home to resume their jobs as lawyers, teachers, salesmen, etc.
When interviewed in the winter 2009-2010, in MassGolfer, Frank Vana, the MGA Player of the Decade: 2000-2009, was asked what tournament he would most like to win. His response: "Locally, The Hornblower - I love Plymouth CC and its membership. They have always treated me great, and they run a first class event with a first class field" (MassGolfer, Winter 2009-10, p.23)
JUNE 3-4, 2016
AUGUST 22-23, 2016
Check out some of the official tournament photos.
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PLYMOUTH COUNTRY CLUB
18 holes: Member Owned | Course Architect: Donald Ross | Par 69, Rating 72.3, Slope 135
HOW TO QUALIFY
The Hornblower Memorial is an invitational tournament. Each year approximately 65% of the field is filled by invitation, the balance of the field is filled from applications open to anyone who carries an active GHIN index of 3.0 or lower. The fee to play is $150.00. Style of play is a 36 hole stroke play event, field is cut to the low 60 players and ties after the first round. Once you are accepted to play a complimentary practice round is available by contacting our pro-shop at 508-746-7800 ext 4.
1. Former Champion
2. Players who made the cut in the prior year’s Hornblower
3. Finish in the top 20 in the prior year’s Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament
4. Finish in the top 20 in the prior year’s New England Amateur Championship
5. Players who made the match play in the prior year’s State Amateur Championship
6. Prior year’s Plymouth Country Club Champion
Players who maintain an active GHIN Index of 3.0 or lower can submit an application to the Plymouth Country Club attn: Hornblower Committee. The back of the application is open for your golf resume – list tournaments played and how you finished. Recommendations from your head golf Professional, College Golf coach, etc. are allowed. Entries will be accepted on the basis of producing the strongest possible field. The Hornblower Committee will be responsible for acceptance or rejection of all entries.
Contact the Hornblower Memorial Tournament Director or
Plymouth Country Club Director of Golf.