A Retrospective: Important Dates in New Jersey Golf

A Retrospective: Important Dates in New Jersey Golf

Photo: Jerome Travers

Each month, the NJSGA will feature the work of local author Kevin Casey, who has compiled a look back at historical moments in New Jersey golf. 

Here are some notable May dates in New Jersey’s rich golf history:

By Kevin Casey

May 7 – Born on the same day of the month but in slightly different years, A.W. Tillinghast (1876) and Seth Raynor (1874), two of the Golden Age of Golf Architecture’s most important figures. They were also among New Jersey’s most celebrated designers. Included in the 18 New Jersey courses designed by Tillinghast – Baltusrol GC (Upper and Lower), Essex County CC, Forest Hill FC, Ridgewood CC, and Somerset Hills CC. A member of the National School of Golf Course Architecture, Raynor designed Hackensack GC, Morris County GC, Rock Spring GC, and Watchung Valley GC, often in partnership with colleagues C.B. Macdonald or Charles Banks.

May 15, 2005 – Chatham’s Fairmount Country Club won the first Red Hoffman Cup Matches with a decisive win over West Orange’s Montclair Golf Club. Trailing Montclair by ½ point going into their match, Fairmount relied on the likes of leading New Jersey amateurs Allan Small and Craig Smith to win 8-4 in the final match of the event. Today, the Hoffman Cup Matches engage 36 clubs and more than 500 amateurs and professionals in at least three interclub matches per club. The Matches, in 2024 celebrating its twentieth year, has been captured by Paramus’ Arcola Country Club an impressive seven times.

May 19, 1887 – Jerry Travers was born. Travers is generally considered New Jersey’s first great golfer, as well as the finest American amateur golfer in the days before the greatest-of-all-time amateur, Bob Jones. Born in New York, Travers later moved to New Jersey, playing first out of Montclair Golf Club and later Upper Montclair Country Club. Travers was the first to win the NJSGA Amateur Championship four times (1907, ’08, ’11, and ’13), the first to capture four U.S. Amateurs (1907, ’08, ’12, ’13) and the first five-time victor in the MGA Met Amateur (1906, ’07, ’11, ’12, ’13). Jones, with five victories, is the only other golfer to win more than three U.S. Amateurs.

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