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Connecticut State Golf Association
Steward of Connecticut Golf Since 1899
Connecticut State Golf Association
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Scholarship

The CSGA Scholarship Fund

The William (Widdy) Neale Scholarship Fund, Inc. is administered by the Connecticut State Golf Association and since inception has awarded over $3.25 million in scholarship aid to 596 high school seniors. Although the program was originally organized to benefit caddies, the applicant pool has been expanded to include graduating seniors employed at CSGA member clubs in various capacities (golf shop, caddies, clubhouse workers, grounds staff) who have worked for at least one golf season and who continue to be employed in the current year.  Depending on a recipient’s academic good standing and continuing financial need, the scholarships may be renewed for three additional years.

The CSGA began awarding college scholarships in 1954 deriving funds from a one-dollar charge included in the then handicap fee.  Today, the CSGA member service fee continues to be the primary source of scholarship funds. Then CSGA Executive Director William (Widdy) Neale and scholarship committee chairman and later (1962-63) CSGA President James Killington are credited with convincing the CSGA Executive Committee to establish this Scholarship Fund.  Through the efforts of Attorney Herbert Emanuelson, Jr. (CSGA President 1973-74) the Fund was incorporated as a not-for-profit, charitable organization in 1985-86 and named for Widdy Neale.  Yale graduate Widdy Neale was a career Yale University sports administrator and CSGA Executive Director from 1946-86. 

For more information, please contact Bill Wallace, Managing Director of the Widdy Neale Scholarship Fund at wjwfairfieldct@gmail.com or by phone at (203) 257-9190.

About William H. “Widdy” Neale, Jr. 

William H. Neale, Jr., (Yale Class of 1925), was the youngest of six children. Neale, a member of the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame, got his nickname as a youngster because he was “iddy-widdy” compared to his older brother Earle “Greasy” Neale who is in the College Football Hall of Fame.  

At Parkersburg High School in West Virginia Widdy starred in football, baseball, basketball, and track. The football team was the state champion in 1916 and 1918 with Widdy performing as an All-State quarterback in 1916 and then as halfback in 1917 and 1918. 

Widdy became a standout player at Yale, but it took a while to get there. He entered West Virginia University and played varsity football as a freshman in 1919. The Yale ­admissions committee was not impressed by his course of study in agriculture and horticulture and turned him down. He asked the committee to consider a delayed transfer. He attended Marietta College for a year and did not play any sports but achieved straight A’s! 

Eventually, he was accepted as a delayed transfer and by 1922 he was playing halfback on the Yale football team before 80,000 fans in the eight-year-old Yale Bowl. The 1923 team, with Widdy and six other transfers, went untied and undefeated against the usual Ivy opponents, as well as North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, and Army. Widdy also starred in baseball and basketball until his eligibility ran out. He graduated from Yale in 1925, married his high school sweetheart, and went to work.

Neale took a position in the Firestone Rubber Company management-training program. After three years, he was called back to Parkersburg; his father was ill and he was needed to manage the family hay and grain business. His father recovered and he joined an investment firm. However, this was 1929 and, with a wife and son to support, it wasn't the best time to enter the investment business. By 1932, Widdy had lost his home and moved his family to a boarding house. Then his luck turned. Yale was just starting its residential college system in 1933 and wanted an inter-college (that is, intramural) athletic program. The Athletics Department called Widdy Neale to plan and manage the program.

From 1933 until 1969, Widdy ran the intramural program, and it became the standard by which other college programs were judged. During that time he also coached a number of teams on campus. He was the freshman football coach from 1934 until 1941, and the tennis coach from 1943 until 1945. He coached the National Intercollegiate Champion golf team in 1943 and the Eastern Intercollegiate Golf Association champion team in 1954.

Coaching golf at Yale was just the beginning for Widdy and his involvement in the game of golf. Widdy became a very good player winning the Connecticut State Golf Association Senior championship in 1946, 1947, and 1955. Widdy also served as the longtime Executive Director of the Connecticut State Golf Association from 1946 until 1985. Under Widdy’s leadership, the CSGA began awarding college scholarships in 1954 deriving funds from a one-dollar charge included in the then handicap fee. 

Through the efforts of Attorney Herbert Emanuelson, Jr. (CSGA President 1973-74) the Fund was incorporated as a not-for-profit, charitable organization in 1985-86 and named for Widdy Neale. 

In 1976, Yale dedicated the famous ninth hole to him, and his name now graces the dining room in the clubhouse.

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About the CSGA

Founded in 1899, the CSGA is the country's oldest state golf association and, as an Allied Golf Association of the USGA, provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. In addition to administering handicaps for over 40,000 members at 181 member clubs, the CSGA conducts more than 85 days of competition throughout the year for golfers of all ages, genders, and skill levels. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the CSGA supports a variety of golf organizations within Connecticut, including the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, Connecticut Section PGA, Connecticut Women’s Golf Association, CSGA Scholarship Fund in honor of Widdy Neale, LPGA-Amateur Golf Association, Southern New England Women’s Golf Association, and The First Tee of Connecticut.