Shawnee on the Delaware:
His first major commission, it opened in 1911 and became
home to the now defunct Eastern Open, an early major.
Located in the idyllic Delaware Water Gap, the best holes
include the famous Binniekill, a par-3 that plays over
a branch of the Delaware.
Although George Crump and Harry Colt are credited with
the overall design of Pine Valley, several others contributed
design ideas. Tillinghast takes credit for the long 7th
and 14th. The great Sahara cross hazard on No. 7 became
a trademark feature on dozens of his other par-5s.
Somerset Hills: One of his early commissions, this cult
classic in New Jersey was designed to have a finish every
bit as grand as the one at Merion’s East course,
which had just opened.
Over the course of 20 years, Tillinghast made several
trips over the early highways and byways to California
to design and redesign the course. The bunkering is some
of his best, and the short No. 7 was built on the ground
of the last legal duel fought in the U.S.
Hired to build a second course at Baltusrol, which had
hosted five national championships, Tillinghast boldly
told Baltusrol to blow up the old course. Instead he would
build "dual" golf courses—the Lower and
Upper. When completed, he advertised himself as the "Creator
The famous East and West courses are on the rolling Westchester
County terrain that inspired Robert Louis Stevenson. Tillinghast
hailed it as the model for a 36 hole complex.
Built in the style of Pine Valley for a cadre of Dallas
businessmen, the heavily bunkered course was the first
to install automatic irrigation.
The 27 hole complex and site of the 1936 Ryder Cup was
Tillinghast’s home course when he lived in Harrington
Park, N.J. The head pro was PGA President George Jacobus,
who retained him to be the consulting course architect
for the PGA.
A hidden gem explodes the myth that the classic designers
did not move a lot of dirt. On the Palisades near the
Hudson River, it took a crew of 200 men two years to dynamite
rock outcroppings, clear forest, drain swamps and bulldoze
and shape the land.
Modeled after Pine Valley, the Black course may have been
Tillinghast’s sternest "man killer." But
this complex of four courses represented an unprecedented
feat—the development of four courses simultaneously.
On completion, Tillinghast aptly predicted that Bethpage
would become a Mecca for public golf.
Back to Features