WATCHUNG, NEW JERSEY | To aficionados of golf course architecture, the sport is often as much about archaeology as it is athletics. Who designed a given layout? And when? How did they use the land? What were they trying to accomplish with their routings? The bunkering? The green complexes? Did they model certain holes after those on classic, Old World tracks? It is an especially interesting endeavor when the subject of such inquiries is a course that was crafted a century or so ago by a Golden Age architect – and then revamped decades later by a stylist of the modern era.
I am among those fascinated with such things, and a recent trip to Watchung Valley Golf Club, located some 30 miles west of Manhattan in this Garden State burg, turned out to be the golf equivalent of visiting a Louis Leakey dig in East Africa.
The original clubhouse at Watchung Valley Plainfield Public Library Collier Collection
The history of the association – which was founded in 1890 as the Park Golf Club and featured as its first course a nine-hole trac...
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