Hughes was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hughes - he was born in Rhode Island (Pawtucket)His obituaries describe him as a a product of Port Chester schools and began caddying at 9 years of age (1894) for Apawamis Club in Rye. When he was 21 years old, he was promoted to caddy master.
Gene Sarazen to golf, along with Tony Manero, John Farrell, Paul Runyan, and Morton Dutra.
During his career, other clubs to employ Hughes included Green Meadows County Club, in Harrison, New York (1916-1936) and Tamarack County Club (1936-1938).
While at Green Meadowns, Hughes taught Babe Ruth to golf; Mr. Ruth brought his team mate, Lou Gehrig for lessons as well. He also provided golf instruction to A.K. Bourne, head of Singer Sewing Machine Company.
Some suggested Mr. Gehrig's adoption of golf affected his swing; see Lank Leanard's commentary on that topic. Hughes merits a mention on this web page by the USGA Musuem (research credit, Meghan Anne McLane Mathis - great great granddaughter of George Hughes)
Hughes married Mary Ellen Gagan in 1912. They had three daughters - Anne Theresa Hughes (McCarthy);Mary Hughes (Stone); and Rita Hughes (Beluk). Both Anne and Mary were known to be solid golfers and were each champions in their own stead. At the time of Mr. Hughes' death, Anne and Mary were graduates of the College of New Rochelle and all three girls attended Ursuline Academy, also in New Rochelle.
Mr. Hughes worshiped at Our Lady of Mercy in Port Chester and was buried from that church on October 13, 1838. Local and State leaders attended is funeral mass; both Ruth and Gehrig sent flowers. He is buried at St. Mary's Cemetery on Ridge Street.
Family folklore says a bit more than the obituaries -- many in Port Chester knew of the accident -- and a few of them saw my grandmother (Anne) and her mother (Mary Ellen) at a store -- none of them mentioned the tragedy -- as they knew Anne and Mary did not know yet. When Anne and Mary arrived home, their family priest gave them the sad news.
Supposedly, George's widow took to her room for a year after his death. When she emerged, she wrote a letter to Mr. Bourne, of the Singer Sewing Machine company, seeking employment. He wrote back and gave her a job as a seamstress demonstrator in New York City. I have made it one of my many goals with this project to pursue that line of the story -- could that letter still exist? Stay tuned.
George Hughes cast a long shadow in the family -- I don't think his daughters ever got over his passing. His widow, my great grandmother, never remarried and when I once asked my mom why -- she gazed at me in near horror -- I don't think the thought had ever occurred to her.
I have an interview he gave "30 Minutes with George Hughes" , talking about golf and how to best teach someone to play -- his speech patterns and word choices demonstrate a respect or awe for golf -- he focused a great deal of the time in this interview detailing hand placement -- "ask a golfer which hand they hit the ball with..." he prompts -- and he explains most would not know.
It strikes me, reading this interview, how much time he must have spent playing golf. And that to me, seems like solitary time -- walking, thinking, hitting, walking again. How many rounds of golf would a pro play in a week? Was it lonely -- or did he love the game that deeply? Was every round unique - most golfers are likely nodding yes -- but I can say, with complete confidence, I don't think I have anything in my life I want to do that often -- or frequently.
What kind of person has that level of interest in one thing? What was George Hughes like? Was he interesting to talk to - or was he interesting only if you were talking about golf?
As always, I jump in, do some research, and end up with more questions. I read once, in a book that inspired me by Amanda Foreman, about Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire - that one night, Georgiana came to the author in a dream -- who among the many I am pondering will visit me?