Long Island is home to many of the world's most celebrated golf
courses, as well as one of the most private--the Garden City
Golf Club. The club hosted the 1902 U.S. Open but over the past
hundred years has become a cloistered hideaway for its all-male
membership. One of the few females allowed behind the hedges is
six-year LPGA veteran Jean Bartholomew, 35, a Queens native who
lives in Garden City.
SI: What's your connection to the club?
JB: My teacher [Gil McNally] is the head pro, so I'm there all
SI: Give us a scouting report.
JB: It's a beautiful links course with fescue grass. It's wide
open in the sense that there are no trees, but there are plenty
of pot bunkers. It's a real English-style course. It could host
another U.S. Open if it were lengthened a bit.
SI: I thought they didn't let women on the property.
JB: I don't go in the clubhouse, and I don't play the course. I
stay on the range with my coach, and once in a while he'll take
me out to play a few holes.
SI: Do the members' wives ever get to play the course?
JB: I think they used to let the wives play on Wednesday
mornings, but the problem is that there are no women's tees.
SI: Have you ever played the full 18?
JB: Yeah, that was a big scandal. I was on my high school's boys'
team, and we had a match there, and they had to let me play.
SI: Is it safe to say that you're one of the few women who has
played the course?
JB: Probably. I know that years ago Bob Hope tried to play with
his wife, Dolores, and they told him no.
SI: Does it bother you that there aren't women members?
JB: That's their right. Women can have a club of their own. They
grandfathered me in so that I can take lessons, and it's been
SI: Do you get any strange looks?
JB: Some of the older guys, maybe. Most of the men, I went to
school with their kids, and I know them from other places.
SI: So you're just one of the guys?
JB: No, no, no.
COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND The queen of Queens, Jean Bartholomew, dishes on New York's most exclusive golf club, Garden City.