Founded in 1895, the A.W. Tillinghast designed Baltusrol Golf Club has hosted 15 USGA championships, to include seven U.S. Opens, at the time of this writing. Comprised of two 18-hole courses, designated the Upper and Lower Courses, Baltusrol began as a simple nine-hole course at the end of the 19th century. Since that time, it has evolved as the game has and that is as Tillinghast intended. Known for its ramp approaches to its greens, angled fairways and greenside bunkers, Baltusrol also features a clubhouse that is as historic as its courses. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2014.
the New York Social Register, Louis Keller, purchased farmland owned by the
Roll family and created a country retreat for well-to-do New York City
residents who appeared in his Register.
Named after Baltus Roll, the family patriarch who was murdered on his
farm in 1931, Baltusrol included a nine-hole golf course that was expanded to
18 in 1898. This course, now known as
the Old Course, hosted five national championships from the 1901 Women’s Amateur
to the 1915 U.S. Open which was won by Jerry Travers.
national recognition, in 1918 the club decided to “renovate” the Old Course and
hired local golf architect, A.W. Tillinghast, to re-design the course. However, Tillinghast proposed a radical idea
to his employers. He recommended that
the Old Course be razed and two new courses be built from its ashes. This “Dual
Course” project was approved by the club and Tillinghast set to work,
completing both courses in 1922. What he
created caused Golf Illustrated to refer to Tillinghast as the “dean of American-born
golf course architects.”
had travelled to Scotland to study and photograph courses there, designed two courses
that are graceful and deceptively difficult.
Tillinghast utilized few water hazards, instead relying on strategically
placed fairway and greenside bunkers as well as sloped fairways and greens to
challenge golfers. He also understood
that space should be set aside to lengthen and adjust the course as the players
and equipment changed. For example, the
Lower Course has been adjusted, once by Robert Trent Jones in 1948, and lengthened
by 900 yards since its construction with no routing changes or movement of
Course hosted the 1926 U.S. Amateur Championship and when George von Elm
out-dueled Bobby Jones, the golf world became fully aware of Baltusrol. Its 1954 U.S. Open was the first to be
televised and Jack Nicklaus won two of his four U.S. Opens at Baltusrol (1967
and 1980). There is a plaque located in
the Lower Course’s 18th fairway to commemorate Nicklaus’ 238-yard
one iron that helped secure his victory over Arnold Palmer. The 2016 PGA Championship was the most recent
held at Baltusrol and it is scheduled to host the 2023 Women's PGA Championship and the PGA Championship in 2029.
clubhouse at Baltusrol was a converted farmhouse that burned to the ground in
1909. Plans for its replacement began
immediately and member Chester Kirk was retained as its architect. Kirk designed a large, Tudor revival brick structure
that features stone trim, decorative stucco and half-timber accents. It was completed less than a year after the
original burned down. Additions were
completed in 1914 and 1927 and numerous renovations and remodels have occurred
since its completion.