Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower)—Newark, NJ
Rankings as of 7/30/2011
-28th best course in US, 49th best course in the world (Golf Magazine)
-32nd best course in the US (Golf Digest)
-33rd best classic course (Golfweek)
Baltusrol is located in Newark, New Jersey and it has two courses currently ranked on the Top 100 lists. Both
courses are designed by AW Tillinghast and both have quite the pedigree, but the Lower course is the more historic
and more revered. Greats such as Jack Nicklaus, Mickey Wright, and Phil Mickelson have won major championships
at The Lower Course at Baltusrol.
I suppose to sum up a round at the course I'd simply say, it is a sublime test of golfing skill. Mr. Tillinghast has put
together one of the world’s truly great championship golf courses. The holes have some length and require brute
force to get in position to score, but there is much more to the course than that. The bunkering is amazing. Fairway
bunkers highlight risk reward decisions and the use of diagonal hazards are magnificent.
But also the greenside bunkering is phenomenal. It is not infrequent to perceive on your approach shot that the
green is protected by 3 greenside bunkers. However, as you get closer to the green you will note that not all of
those bunkers are greenside. Usually at least one will be 50 or so yards short of the green, but the placement of the
bunker and their wave-like edges mess with the golfer’s depth perception and play mental games throughout the
And the greens, again from the fairway they many times appear to be mundane. But they are subtlety sloped and/or
a ridge or two will inevitably be positioned to throw a putt or chip off line at the last minute; especially, if you are out
of position on your approach to the green.
I would also add that I believe this course is a bit more complicated than your average golf course. I know for a fact
that my, to date, one play on the course did not reveal all of the ideal ways to play each hole. I would, in fact, state
that it would take me at least 4 plays to figure the ideal way to play the 13th hole. This hole has brilliant diagonal
hazards of water and bunkers...
and difficult greenside bunkering and a wonderful green. Perhaps this hole sums up Baltusrol (Lower) in a nutshell.
And that is difficult with many options to try to tame the beast.