Brookline resident buys Francis Ouimet’s childhood home, with eye on renovation and preservation

Ouimet was only 20 years old and an amateur when he shocked the golfing world by beating the two best players of the time, the British Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. The story is told in Mark Frost’s book ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’ and a Disney film of the same name, and will no doubt be told often when the US Open returns to the club this month.

A stand of pine trees now mostly obscures the view from Ouimet’s second-floor bedroom on the course’s famous 17th hole, where his 20ft birdie putt tied him for the lead with Vardon and Ray on fourth. day, setting up an 18-hole playoff that Ouimet won by five strokes.

Ouimet’s room was on the second floor of the house.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

With 10-year-old caddy Eddie Lowery by his side – Ouimet’s usual caddy, Eddie’s older brother Jack had been arrested by the local truancy officer – Ouimet recorded a victory that changed the golf course.

“Up until now it was a rich man’s game, and if you look at some of the press clippings from their time, it was on the world front page where this kid was beating the best in the world,” Hynes said. “The ordinary man and woman thought, ‘Hey, I can play golf – if he can, I can – it’s not just an elite game anymore. It is probably the most important victory in the history of golf in the United States. »

The interior restoration of the house is intensive and on track to be completed before the start of the US Open on June 16: new electrical, plumbing and heating systems, insulation, bathrooms, kitchen, flooring, windows , paint, refinished woodwork, sprinkler system and fire escape.

An interior view of Ouimet’s childhood bedroom.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

In Hynes’ garage, a truck full of vintage 1900s furniture is waiting to be moved into.

An old wall telephone is also part of the house; pick up the receiver and you’ll hear a recording of Ouimet and Lowery reminiscing about the tournament half a century later.

An antique telephone will provide a connection to the past.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

A remarkable discovery during the renovation came when two workers were preparing the attic for insulation.

Knocking down a piece of plywood near the top of the eaves next to the fireplace, a coconut with a monkey’s face painted on it rolled off, nearly hitting a worker’s head. There was also a toy bow and arrow – and two putters that appear to date from the early 1900s of the Ouimet era.

“They must have belonged to Francis, but unfortunately we couldn’t do any fingerprints, DNA or carbon analysis, anything like that,” Hynes said. “Maybe he and his brother would just go up there and hit some balls.”

A pair of golf clubs were found in the attic.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
A carved coconut was also discovered.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

After this year’s tournament, the vinyl siding is falling off and new clapboard is going up, along with other exterior work.

After purchasing the home, Hynes – who is well known in commercial real estate circles and is the nephew of former Boston Mayor John Hynes – and other members formed an LLC as part of a pro bono effort to eventually return home to the country. Club.

But with the Country Club engrossed in hosting a major tournament for the past two years, Hynes understands his passion project isn’t a priority issue.

Tom Hynes outside the Ouimet house – for now, his second home on Clyde Street.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

“I had a dilemma, which is if the club didn’t want to be part of it, I would have two houses on Clyde Street,” Hynes said. “But I was like, ‘Don’t worry about that.’ ”

Hynes said the town of Brookline doesn’t have to worry about turning the house into an Airbnb property.

“My goal was to get it under control and get it into the hands of the Country Club because of its history,” Hynes said. “The US Open will only be here for a week. But this house is going to be here for at least another 50 years.

Michael Silverman can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.

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