A brilliant former player, Tillinghast is often regarded as one of the fathers of golf course design.
What Courses Has A.W. Tillinghast Designed?
After a troubled and yet privileged childhood, Tillinghast in his 20’s decided to live a more refined life as he got married and looked to move in different circles in Philadelphia.
Eventually he started to show an affection for the game of golf which only grew after he and his father travelled to Scotland where they met Old Tom Morris in 1896. He started playing and competed in several US Amateurs but his real stardom was to come in golf course design.
By the mid-1920s Tillinghst had created his own design company and had made millions. He has gone on to become a legend in golf course design with several iconic layouts to his name.
Tillinghast’s East course at Baltimore Country Club opened in 1926 and he uses the rolling hills of Maryland to great effect here. It may not be overly long but elevation changes are aplenty.
Baltusrol (Lower and Upper)
An iconic American course venue, both the Upper and Lower courses at Baltusrol were originally laid out by Tillinghast. The Lower has the greater pedigree thanks to its hosting of several Major championships – given that deep bunkers, slick greens and thick rough are present this comes as no surprise.
Tillinghast’s most famous course is unquestionably the Black course at Bethpage State Park, which most recently played host to Brooks Koepka‘s victory at the 2019 PGA Championship. It is renowned for being incredibly tough which explains the sign on the first tee warning the course should only be played if you are a highly skilled golfer. Many of you will have played the course on the old Tiger Woods games so will have seen the incredible design somewhat.
Quaker Ridge originally started out as a nine-hole layout and it quickly fell on hard times at the start of the 20th century. After new ownership was found, they quickly brought in Tillinghast who redesigned seven holes and it was open for play in 1918. After he made minor tweaks in the 20’s the course layout remains largely the same.
Crafted in 1915, San Francisco is widely thought to be the first great course designed on the West coast of the United States. He himself admitted that the par-3 7th hole was one of his favourites. It also has historical significance too as the hole was laid out on the land where the last legal duel took place in American history in 1859.
A great and yet unheralded course, Somerset Hills has been tweaked and revised through the years by architects like William Golden, Hal Purdy and Tom Doak.
Tillinghast designed both the East and West course at Winged Foot Golf Club, with the latter having the greater pedigree of the two. The West is famed for its difficulty as shown by several Major Championships. The 2006, 1974 and 1959 US Opens for example all were won with over-par scores. Additionally Gil Hanse has done some renovation work in preparation for the 2020 US Open at the West course.
Other notable mentions – Bethpage (Red), Brook Hollow, Newport Country Club, Oak Hills, Ridgewood, Wykagyl
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