Grade "A" Architecture

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Montclair Golf Club (1893), 3rd Nine
Posted on
May 8, 2023
M. James Ward in ,
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

2nd hole / 428 yards / par-4
Architect: Donald Ross (1920)
Updated: Brian Schneider
Renaissance Golf Design (2017-ongoing)
West Orange, NJ, USA

New Jersey is home to some of the finest private golf clubs in the United States. Generally, the primary focus is on s luminary layouts as Pine Valley and Baltusrol leading the way.

The depth of courses in the Garden State is especially noteworthy for the range and depth of engaging designs in the northeast portion of the State.

Montclair Golf Club began its existence in 1893 and is believed to be the 13th oldest in the United States.

The 36-hole facility one sees today is the handiwork of two distinguished architects - Donald Ross and Charles Banks.

Ross was responsible for 27 holes called the 1st, 2nd and 3rd nines. In 1928 the club acquired additional land and Banks was hired to create what is called the 4th nine today.

Montclair has played an active role as a tournament venue. One of the few clubs in the United States to have hosted the men's and women's amateur championship of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

(Courtesy Larry Lembrecht)

Over the course of time the layout became overly treed and general sight lines of the property were obscured.

Montclair's leadership realized the pathway being followed was not in alignment with the club's foundation and reached out to Renaissance Golf Design for assistance. The master plan included updating the various amenities provided to the membership in concert with an updating of the clubhouse area.

Leading the way on the architectural side is Brian Schneider. A man familiar with the North Jersey golf scene and who has been the pivotal point person for the resurrection of North Jersey CC in nearby Wayne.

Schneider, in tandem with Superintendent Michael Campbell, has brought back to life the Ross fingerprints.

The scale of the property has been magnificently awakened and the playing corridors widened to provide a range of shotmaking options.

The downhill dog-leg right hole drops roughly 60 feet in elevation and now plays 428 yards. The hole is a fascinating mixture of terrain with diversified shotmaking challenges provided. Prior to the retention of Renaissance, the hole was overly treed, with a too narrow fairway area.

"The second hole is one of my favorite holes on the property. The proposed changes included the reintroduction of a couple of lost mounds, one at the beginning of the fairway and another at the corner of the dog-leg," said Schneider.

A right greenside bunker was removed as it was not part of Ross' original design.

(Courtesy Larry Lembrecht)

Schneider widened the fairway area roughly 28,000 square feet and expanded the existing green from 4,200 to 4,800 square feet.

As players leave the teeing area the majestic nature of the property reveals itself spectacularly as you descend the hill with the green in the nearby distance.

Montclair Golf Club will host the inaugural New Jersey Women's Open in June and the players competing will be treated to a vintage Ross creation that has been artfully thought out by Schneider and carried out successfully by Campbell and his talented team.


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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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