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Baltusrol Golf Club In Springfield, New Jersey has hosted many famous occasions in the game’s history across its two courses, and it's one of the most revered in the US.
Its beginnings were decidedly humble, though. The club was established in 1895, and named after the man who farmed the land of its location - Baltus Roll. Originally, it had just a single nine-hole course designed by George Hunter.
That soon changed when it was expanded to 18 holes three years later, and it was the catalyst for some memorable tournaments coming to the club, including the 1901 US Women’s Amateur and US Open in 1903 and 1915.
Despite that early recognition, in 1918 the Old Course was flattened to make way for the Lower and Upper Courses on the recommendation of A.W. Tillinghast. Both opened four years later.
It’s hard to argue with that decision. The Upper Course hosted the US Open in 1936 and the US Women’s Open in 1985. However, the Lower Course has become even more revered, thanks partly to Robert Trent Jones’ lengthening of it ready for tournament play in 1948, a task that was repeated by his son, Rees Jones, in 1992.
Since that original work in the 1940s, the Lower Course has hosted the US Open four times, including in 1967, where Jack Nicklaus famously edged out Arnold Palmer to the title in an epic duel, and another Nicklaus win in 1980, his fourth and last title in the Major. The clubhouse also displays all four of Nicklaus’s scorecards from that tournament.
The course also memorably hosted the 2005 PGA Championship, where Phil Mickelson claimed the first of his two titles. It was the scene of the 2016 tournament, too, where Jimmy Walker beat Jason Day by a shot to clinch his sole Major to date.
The Lower Course has also hosted the US Women’s Open twice, in 1961 and 1985, while it hosts the second women's Major of 2023, the KMPG Women’s PGA Championship.
In other words, this is a course fully immersed in the history of golf in the US. It’s not surprising the club has held so many top events, either. As well as offering a solid test of championship golf, it’s known for its outstanding beauty and rich history, and was even designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2014.
In 2018, Gil Hanse was tasked with making it even better, and set about the restoration of the Lower Course in an effort to bring back elements of Tillinghast's original design that included the removal of many of its trees.
Fairway bunkers have also been added to the second and fifth holes, while greens have increased in size by around 20%. Some of the greenside bunkers have been moved, too, while the second and 17th holes see the return of formidable sand pits, containing not just sand, but also plants and grass.
As for the Tudor-style clubhouse, it was built in 1909 after the original - a converted farm house - burned down. It also has the distinction of being the first clubhouse to host a US president after William Howard Taft visited in 1912.
The club is private, meaning playing it will not be easy as a non-member. Those who do wish to join will reportedly need around $150,000 in initiation fees, with annual dues of around $18,500, making it one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the country. Even if you have the budget, there’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted as a member though. That’s because those who join do so by invite only.
More realistic for most will be to play as a guest of a member, although for some lucky members of the media, another option before a big tournament is to tee it up as part of a media day.
Baltusrol Golf Club Location
When Was The Last US Open At Baltusrol?
The most recent US Open at Baltusrol was in 1993, when Lee Janzen finished two shots clear of Payne Stewart to claim the title. He won the US Open again in 1998.
Who Has Won The PGA Championship At Baltusrol?
The first time Baltusrol hosted the PGA Championship, in 2005, Phil Mickelson beat Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjorn to the title. It hosted the tournament again 11 years later, when Jimmy Walker beat Jason Day by a shot.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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