January 4, 2017

Baltusrol Golf Club (Upper)

Springfield, N.J. / 7,348 yards, Par 72 / Points: 62.2217
Baltusrol GC Upper course hole 16
Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

61. Baltusrol Golf Club (Upper)

A.W. Tillinghast (1922)/Robert Trent Jones (R. 1984)/Rees Jones (R. 1996, 2009, 2014)

It's believed that when A.W. Tillinghast began constructing the Upper and Lower Courses at Baltusrol in 1919 (replacing Baltusrol's existing 18 holes), it was the first contiguous 36 holes built at the same time in America. Because of the Lower's tremendous major championship record, most consider the slightly shorter Upper to be a secondary course at the club. But between the two, it was the Upper, not the Lower, that hosted the first U.S. Open (and third in the club's history) in 1936, won by Tony Manero. The Lower didn't get its first Open until 1954, won by Ed Furgol. Rees Jones, who also reworked The Lower, re-established Tillinghast features and bunkers on the Upper over a number of years, including a Tillinghast version of a par-3 Redan green.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: No. 58, 2015-2016. Previous ranking: No. 58


Panelist comments:
“A true masterpiece of A.W. Tillinghast. Lots of movement on the first six holes as you're fighting the hillside to the right. And all the greens have serious movement throughout.”

“Indeed, for all the championship courses that have another 18 on the property, this may be the best second 18 in the country.”

“I actually preferred the Upper course to the Lower course, which is actually a popular opinion from a large portion of the membership, they say. The Upper had much better character, and high design variety, in my opinion, while being playable as a members course at the same time.”

“The first three holes are simply outstanding, with a great rendition of a redan. And the final three holes are a tough test, including a killer par 4 to finish. Not quite the storied history as the iconic 18th on the Lower, but it's also a great hole.”

“This can be just as tough of a test as the Lower, as they found out at the 2000 U.S. Amateur. If there were more hole location possibilities on the first six holes, it might be considered once again for a pro major.”


Getty Images

Photo by David Alexander/Getty Images

Getty Images
Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 1

Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 7

Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 14

Courtesy of Baltusrol GC

Hole No. 16