January 4, 2017

Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower)

Springfield, N.J. / 7,400 yards, Par 72 / Points: 63.1579
Baltusrol GC Lower course hole 15
Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

39. Baltusrol Golf Club

A. W. Tillinghast (1922)/Robert Trent Jones (R. 1952)/Rees Jones (R. 1991, 1996, 2010, 2014)

Jack Nicklaus won two U.S. Opens on Lower Baltusrol, setting a tournament record each time. Phil Mickelson and Jimmy Walker won PGAs on it. But Baltusrol Lower's most historic event was the ace by architect Robert Trent Jones in 1954 on the par-3 fourth, instantly squelching complaints of critical club members who felt Trent's redesign made it too hard. Trent's younger son Rees has been Baltusrol's consulting architect in recent decades. An avowed A.W. Tillinghast fan, he lightly retouched the Lower's design for its latest major, the 2016 PGA Championship.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 15, 1985-86. Previous ranking: 41


Panelist comments:
“It's amazing how Tillinghast was able to create an interesting and very challenging golf course on such a flat, relatively dull piece of terrain without anything appearing forced. The best part of the course to me are the greens, which are really subtle and in most cases, the entire green is cuppable. And the bunkers do a great job framing each green complex."

“Some of the recent tree work is helping open up old sight lines and playing angles. The view from behind the 10th green, in particular, is certainly inspiring -- and one that was previously blocked by trees.”

“Fantastic feel and spirit, and tremendous history. Walking through the clubhouse is like being in a golf museum.”

“Long, punishing rough will most always force a player to hit a perfect recovery to avoid losing a shot. Even the intermediate rough is difficult to negotiate.”

“It's a great Tillinghast but not his best. It just doesn't hold my interest level like a San Francisco GC or Somerset Hills. I'm not impressed with the recent work on the bunkers. They don't look like Tillinghast to me.”


Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 5

Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 6

Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 11

Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 15

Getty Images

The Clubhouse at Baltusrol Golf Club