Each month, the NJSGA will feature the work of local author Kevin Casey who has compiled a monthly look back at historical moments in golf on a montly basis.
Here are some notable January dates in New Jersey’s rich golf history:
By Kevin Casey
- January 1&2, 1898 – The first golf tournament in America created exclusively for professionals was held in Lakewood, N.J. The 36-hole event was organized by two local golf resorts to attract attention to Lakewood as a great destination for winter golf (yes, you read that correctly). The tournament was played in mid-30-degree temperatures and light snow, had a total purse of $150, a field of 17, a gallery of about 100 each day, and was won by Scotsman Val Fitzjohn. This event remains THE first tournament of its type and serves as the foundation of today’s professional golf tours.
- January 24, 1918 – George Crump, the creator and architect of Pine Valley Golf Club, dies of his own hand, thus jeopardizing the future of his much anticipated, but uncompleted, South Jersey masterpiece. Four holes (Nos. 12-15) were yet to be completed. After a period of understandable shock and instability, Crump’s family and many friends banded together to carry out his vision and standards. In 1922, Crump’s Pine Valley dream was realized, and the course generally regarded the crown jewel of American golf venues was open for play.
- January 23, 1926 – Influential architect Seth Raynor dies suddenly from pneumonia in Florida, leaving several NJ courses in various stages of design and development. Raynor’s right-hand man, Charles Banks, took charge and completed several Raynor designs, including Hackensack GC, Rock Spring C, and Essex County CC. Added to Raynor’s previous work at Hollywood GC and Morris County GC, Raynor’s impact on New Jersey golf is indelible.