It claims to be the oldest formal organized golf club in the United States (1891), to have the oldest golf clubhouse in the U.S. (1892), and to be the first club to admit women, which it did from the start.
The club traces its roots to an 1889-1890 trip by William K. Vanderbilt, Edward Meade and Duncan Cryder, to Biarritz in southern France where they encountered Willie Dunn, from Scotland, who was building a golf course at the resort.
Back in the United States Meade and Cryder scouted for a place for a golf course near New York City. They chose the sandhills adjoining the Long Island Railroad just east of the Shinnecock Canal. The parcel was purchased for $2,500 and 44 original members signed up for $100 each.