Revealing a Little More of Seth Raynor

While many of his contemporaries were writing books, newspaper stories, magazine articles or being quoted about their work,Raynor Fire Tournament Long Islander 6-16-'11 Seth J. Raynor has left behind little in the way of insight into his life. We know he was a road surveyor with a degree from Princeton, before being hired by Charles Blair Macdonald to survey what would become the National Golf Links of America. This lead, surprisingly to a career in golf course design. Raynor didn’t play golf. He was married, but had no children. There are only two or three known photos of the man. Recently, however, while digging through the website of digitized Suffolk County N.Y. newspapers, I found two items that give us a little glimpse into Raynor’s world. You can go to the website by clicking here. For instance, according to the May 5, 1912 edition of the Suffolk County News, “Seth J. Raynor, who has held the office of street commissioner, in Southampton village, for a number of years has resigned from the position. Mr. Raynor has been engaged to survey a new golf course near St. Louis, Mo., and that work will necessitate his absence from Southampton for some time.” What would become the St. Louis Country Club, is a Macdonald design. According to the June 16, 1911 edition of the Long Islander newspaper, Raynor was involved with the Suffolk County Volunteer Fireman’s Association, which was having difficulty finding a site for its annual fire fighter tournament. The next time the event was to be held, Raynor and Frank Asbury of Huntington were to be official measurers Chief of the Sayerville Fire Department around that same time was Woodhull N. Raynor, probably a relative. I hope my digging will bring to light more of the man whose courses so many golfers enjoy.

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