200528ind History

This property on Hamilton Allenton Road in North Kingstown was once the location of legendary North Kingstown golfer Irving “Bud” Patterson’s childhood home.

You know, I think its safe to say that Irving “Bud” Patterson took to golf like a duck takes to water. Born in Providence in March of 1920, he became a North Kingstown resident while still a toddler when his father, Irving Sr. and mother Lucie (Carroll) moved here with their family. Irving Sr. was a civil engineer working for the State Board of Roads and was the man in charge of road construction in Rhode Island. Bud grew up at the end of Featherbed Lane near Hamilton-Allenton Road, just a short walk from the Annaquatucket Country Club, the neat and tidy little nine hole course that once existed where North Kingstown High School is now located. According to his family, he never had a single lesson; just picked some clubs and started swinging away. When it came to golf, Buddy Patterson, was not just a natural, he was THE natural of the local golf world.

As a junior in high school, which was in what is now Wickford Middle School, he marched off to the 1936 RI State Championships and won it handily. In his senior year, Bud ran the table, winning not only the High School State Championship again, the very first high schooler in the state to repeat, but also won the State Amateur Crown at Metacomet Country Club as well. Not only has no North Kingstown golfer ever repeated this feat again, it took 38 years before another NK golf tornado, Class of 1975’s Scott Teller, won the RI State Championship again.

The next year, Bud Patterson, was off to his father’s alma mater, Brown University, to study civil engineering, and of course, to play golf. He made the very competitive Brown team in his sophomore, junior, and senior years and served as team captain in his senior year in 1942. Upon graduation, Bud Patterson like just about every young man in America at that time, served in the armed forces as a civil engineer for the US Navy. After his service he began his civilian career as an engineer working for an aircraft manufacturing firm in Maryland, and then worked for a time for Bell Telephone before settling down for a career with an industrial and institutional building construction company called Damon Douglas Construction. He eventually retired from Damon Douglas as its chairman of the board. All the while, as you might expect, Bud Patterson played golf. For most of that time, he played at the venerable Essex County Country Club, one of the nation’s oldest, where he was club champion an amazing 6 times, winning his final title at the age of 51; yes self-taught golfer Bud Patterson was still “The Natural” even then.

Eventually, Bud and his wife Priscilla (Thomas) moved back to Rhode Island and bought a retirement home on Jamestown. I expect he still played golf from time to time and most certainly enjoyed the ironies involved when the high school he won those state championships for all those years ago, was built on the very golf course where he learned to stroll the links with a confidence born of beating all comers at this ancient Scottish pastime. Irving “Bud” Patterson passed on in September of 1998 and he’s remembered to this day by family and friends and a handful of local amateur golfers who swing a club and dream of championship seasons.

The author is the North Kingstown town historian. The views expressed here are his own.

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