This story starts in Chicago on August 21, 1884. H. Chandler Egan was born on this day. He did not live to see his 52nd birthday. From what I have read he had athletic talent not limited to golf, yet it is because affection for golf that I know about the life of Chandler Egan. You see he designed West Seattle Golf Course, my course, the one I play most often. He won the U.S. Amateur in 1904 and 1905. He won a team Olympic Gold Medal in Golf in 1904 while winning an individual Silver Medal in those games. By the way…. after all those years golf is back in the Olympics when the Summer Games commence in Brazil.
Chandler Egan had a great Amateur career but 1904 and 1905 was his apex. He went on to design many courses and had a hand in the redesign of Pebble Beach before the 1929 U.S. Amateur. A very impressive resume.
About a Story
Eight years after Egan died in Everett, Washington my friend Marc was born. Marc was born in Philadelphia and did not learn of Chandler Egan until 68 years later in 2013. I met Marc for the first time on the 12th tee of West Seattle Golf Course early in the summer of 2013. It was a chance meeting but Marc is hard to miss and as is typical on a nice day, the groups get a bit backed up waiting to tee off on 12. Marc and I struck up a conversation, I found out he recently divested himself from most of his earthly possessions and drove his BMW from Philadelphia to Seattle. Individuals who go to these extremes are usually fleeing someone or chasing someone. In Marc’s case it was both. Both were women this was not mob related. As far as I can determine Marc now owns a BMW, golf clubs, his clothes, a flat screen TV and over 100 Taylor Made golf balls he purchased for a great price a Costco. This reminded me of my favorite car bumper sticker – “It takes a lot of balls to play golf the way I do.” But I digress.
After my round I found Marc on the patio holding court with another member of his foursome and I sat down to join him for a beverage at the 19th hole. Phone numbers were exchanged and plans established to meet again and play 18 in the next few days. Marc described his drive across the continent. The highlight (or lowlight depending on your point of view) was when he hit a mammal while driving, turning his Ultimate Driving Machine into a Weapon of Deer Destruction. So truth be told, the title of this story is a little misleading because it was not a Moose. But the way Marc told it, the story was “Moose Worthy.”
About a Story
Four weeks later I played golf with a friend Gary in Portland, Oregon at his course, Waverley Golf Club. We played the “Egan” tees and as you might have guessed Chandler Egan designed Waverley too. Gary invited Matt (The Kid), a junior member at Waverley to join us and round out the group. A few holes into the back nine Matt and I got to talking about Waverley and the Egan connection to West Seattle. Matt told me that two weeks before he was up in Seattle to see friends and they played West Seattle. Small world, what were the chances. As we continued our conversation I started to mention some of the interesting people I’ve played with at West Seattle and after a time I started to talk about Marc. Marc reminds me of Larry David the actor, comedian, writer and television producer. So this is how I described him as I told the story of how we met…… at some point Matt paused and said…. “I think I played with this guy Marc. Did he hit a Moose (Deer) on his drive out from Philly?”
OK SO WHAT’S THE POINT?????
It’s all about STORY!!!!!! Think about it, if Marc had not had such a unique story Matt (The Kid) and I might have believed (but not with 100% certainty) Marc was the same person we both knew from playing at West Seattle. BUT – The story of Car vs. Moose (Deer) gave us total certainty we were both talking about the same Marc. The kid did not remember Marc’s name but he did remember the story.
1 – The story of Chandler Egan connected us with our two golf courses, Waverley and West Seattle.
2 – The story about meeting people at West Seattle led me to talk about Marc.
3 – The story about the Moose tied it all together.
People remember STORIES!!!! Don’t ever forget that. We will be remembered because of our stories.
You can go to Waverley and West Seattle and there you will find tributes to H. Chandler Egan. He never saw the full completion of his West Seattle design and he died while in the middle of constructing Legion Golf Course in Everett, Washington not far away. But he had a story…..And it is still being told.
Thank you for reading.