In 1973, James C. Brennan, who served a three year term as Springhaven Club
President from 1971 to 1973 and had been the Men’s Club Champion a decade earlier
was on a golf trip to Pinehurst. Unfortunately he ran into some bad weather and
during a rain delay, he found himself thumbing through a golf history book that was on
display at the club. It was then he discovered that Horace Rawlins, Springhaven’s first
golf professional was also the winner of the first U.S. Open in 1895.
Upon his return, Mr. Brennan decided to create an invitation only event to honor
Rawlins and in 1974 the first Horace Rawlins Invitational was played. The tournament
format was crafted to showcase the area’s best amateur players playing alongside
Springhaven Club members. Each invited guest would compete in an 18 hole scratch
championship while simultaneously competing in a team 2 best ball of 4 event along
with 3 Springhaven members.
The event was immediately embraced by the membership and became one of the club’s
premier events and 47 years later it has only grown in stature. Past champions have
included Jay Sigel, Buddy Marucci and European Tour Professional Rhys Davies.
Philadelphia Country Club’s Chet Walsh has won the event a record 9 times and in 2018
on the tournament’s 45 th anniversary Andy Caldwell became the first Springhaven
member to win the event.
As the event has grown Springhaven has renewed and strengthened our bond with
Horace Rawlins and our joint history. On the 25 th anniversary of the tournament, the
Club flew Rawlins’s grandson Michael, over from England to participate in the
tournament and display his grandfather’s gold medal from the 1895 U.S. Open. In
2014 we discovered a shared history with Mid-Herts Golf Club in Wheathamstead,
outside London. Rawlins had been their first golf professional before emigrating to
America. In 2015 Mid-Herts Club President, Club Historian and their wives played in the
tournament. And in 2018 on the 45th anniversary of the tournament we unveiled a
statue of Horace Rawlins which is now a permanent fixture on the first tee (top of page).
It’s been a great ride and we thank everyone who has worked through the years to
continue the tradition and especially to Jim Brennan whose vision made the whole thing
August 17, 2023
Horace Rawlins Invitational