The History of The Kenridge
FRED FINDLAY RECEIVED the commission to design the original 18-hole venue which opened in May of 1929. Findlay was born in Scotland and, after serving in the British Army, spent the rest of his life as an amateur painter and professional golf course architect. Records indicate that Findlay designed more golf courses in the Commonwealth of Virginia than any other individual.
The Farmington membership’s wish to highlight and promote their fine venue quickly followed the opening of Findlay’s course. The impetus for an Invitational came from founding Farmington member, Hollis Rinehart, who also sat on the Club’s first Board of Directors. The name ‘Kenridge’ derives from the nearby Rinehart estate. Players walking down the seventh fairway can still catch a glimpse of Mr. Rinehart’s old home, rising above the trees to the southeast. The first Kenridge Invitational was held on May 20-22, 1932 with a field of 48 competing in this Match Play event.
The 1940s brought a return to Farmington member triumphs, as A. Patton Janssen defeated a young William C. “Bill” Battle. Battle— who would later become a decorated WWII veteran and Farmington member—also served as USGA President from 1988-89.
In 1948, the Kenridge Invitational was marked by the first appearance in the Championship flight of Raymond F. “Buddy” Loving, Jr. and medalist George Fulton, Jr. from Roanoke Country Club. The rivalry between Loving and Fulton would continue for the next 20 years with six medalist honors, six runner-up finishes and ten Kenridge titles shared between these two accomplished competitors.
The 20th Kenridge Invitational (May 29 – 31, 1956) was highlighted by the sole medalist finish of Jack Westland and the lone Kenridge victory for CCV member Harry Easterly, Jr. Westland’s amateur career included victories in the ‘27, ‘29 and ‘34 Chicago District Amateur, ‘29 French Amateur and ‘34 Western Amateur. These victories led to his inclusion on the 1932 and 1934 Walker Cup teams. A golfing highlight during this time was his runner-up finish in the 1931 U.S. Amateur finals to Francis Ouimet. Westland won the 1952 U.S. Amateur Championship and his participation in the 1956 Kenridge marked the first known occurrence by a sitting politician, as he served as a Congressman from the state of Washington from 1953–1965.
1962 was a record-setting year for the event—Buddy Loving won his sixth and final Kenridge Invitational championship with a 1-up victory over Jordan Ball. The 1963 Kenridge included semi-final losses by both Loving and Fulton. Fulton fell to prominent Maryland amateur Ralph Bogart, while Loving lost on the 21st hole to eventual champion, Bill Campbell. Campbell, who was currently serving on the USGA Executive Committee, followed this victory by winning the 1964 U.S. Amateur Championship. Though appearing in 33 consecutive appearances This was his lone victory in the National Championship though it occurred in the midst of 33 consecutive appearances in this event that extended from 1941 to 1977. His national success continued with consecutive victories in the 1979 and 1980 U.S. Senior Amateur championship. An 8-time Walker Cup member and captain of the 1955 team, Campbell had a 7-0-1 record in the singles matches to go along with an overall record of 11-4- 3. Campbell later served as USGA President in 1982-83 and, in 1987, was named Captain of Th e Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, becoming the first person to chair the two main governing bodies of golf.
The 30th Kenridge saw the ‘65 finalists paired against each other again, but this year they faced each other in the semi-final match with George Fulton, Jr., reversing the results with a victory over Jackson. Fulton followed this with a 3 and 2 victory over Vinny Giles, claiming his fourth Kenridge title. This was followed by the 1967 Kenridge, the final year of match play format in the tournament. Fulton’s victory total fell shy of the six titles of Buddy Loving, but Fulton’s ten finalist finishes surpassed Loving’s six.
Vinny Giles, with an opening round 66, won the 1969 Kenridge Tournament. A nationally renowned amateur golfer, Giles had runner-up finishes in the ‘67, ’68 and ’69 U.S. Amateur championships, losing to Robert Dickson, Bruce Fleisher and Steve Melnyk. Giles finally broke through with a victory in the 1972 U.S. Amateur at Charlotte Country Club. He followed this with an international victory in the 1975 British Amateur and also a 2009 U.S. Senior Amateur title. A 4-time Walker Cup member, he captained the squad in 1993. Giles success in Virginia was remarkable as well; he was a 7-time VSGA Amateur champion, 2-time Senior Amateur champion and 3-time State Open champion.
The 50th Kenridge Invitational in 1986 was highlighted by the victory once again for a University of Virginia golfer as David Partridge won the first of his five Kenridge titles. Partridge, a high school champion from Waynesboro High School, was a four-year letterman at UVA from ’73-76. His amateur career later included 1993 and 1995 victories in the VSGA Amateur and Fox Puss Invitational, along with VSGA Mid-Am titles in ’88, ’93 and ’06.
The 2000 Kenridge, won by Keith Decker, formally named the Senior Trophy the Corbett King trophy, recognizing the many contributions made by the Farmington member and former Kenridge Committee official. The low Junior award was also named this year the Wallace McDowell trophy, recognizing the years of service by the Farmington member and VSGA official.
The University of Virginia golf team welcomed another Kenridge champion with the 2002 victory by 22-year old Steve Marino. Marino had won the 1999 VSGA Amateur tournament. Currently a perennial player on the major tours, Marino defeated a field of 146 other golfers that included past PGA Tour member and Farmington junior golfer Will Strickler, along with runner-ups Keith Decker and local golfer Tim Pemberton.
The 2007 Kenridge championship was won by what is believed to be the youngest champion on record, as 19-year old Peter Wilson—Woodberry Forest graduate and UVA enrollee— triumphed after a one-hole playoff with Adam Horton in the 45- hole, rain-shortened event. Th e 74th Kenridge was held June 4-6, 2010, which followed its traditional date of the first weekend after Memorial Day. History was truly made as Martinsville’s Keith Decker won his record-tying 6th Kenridge championship with a final round 68 for a 206 total. His victory tied him with Farmington’s own Buddy Loving for most titles.
2012 and 2013 witnessed the triumph of up and coming collegiate aces in Virginia Tech’s Garland Green and UVA’s very own Denny McCarthy. 20-year-old McCarthy’s success has stood the test of time, being the most tenured tour professional who has ever won the Kenridge Invitational, playing on tour consistently since the 2017-18 season.
Buck Britain won back-to-back years holding off the likes of US Amateur Semi-Finalist Mark Lawrence in 2014 and perennial US-Am and Mid-Am stalwart Ben Warnquist in 2015. The last few years leading up to the Pandemic saw exceptional play from William Walker III, Logan Yates, Connor Burgess and Tyler Gulliksen, all deserving champions. Connor and Tyler’s play in 2018 and 2019 showed that length and equipment has begun to overpower our near 100 year old golf course. A rain-shortened event in 2018 still had Connor shooting an impressive -10 through 45 holes and Tyler shooting a tournament record -11 under 199. 2019 also was the first year the crystal vase was awarded for low rounds. It was named for long time Farmington member, Jim Foglemen, for his near 50 years of involvement with the Kenridge.
Farmington Country Club is going through an extensive course restoration of the original Fred Findlay designed course. Over the past two years the team of Axland/Cole—who have worked extensively with Coore/Crenshaw architecture firm— have been reimagining what Fred Findlay designed in 1927, utilizing historical pictures and paintings to enhance what is considered his master piece.