Montclair Golf Club History
“Montclair” is generally considered to be the 13th oldest golf club in America. Its founding members initially staked out a course in the Town of Montclair on land now occupied by the “Erwin Park” residential neighborhood and by Edgemont Park. In 1899, the first 18 hole course, designed by Tom Bendelow, was established at roughly the present location of the first and second nines. A new clubhouse was built on a site near the end of today’s driving range.
In 1920, the legendary Scottish architect Donald Ross was commissioned to design the 27 holes of the first, second and third nines. Two years later, the original clubhouse was destroyed by fire. A new, larger building was constructed facing Prospect Avenue which remains as the core building of the current Colonial style clubhouse. By October 1928, the club had acquired enough land to add a fourth nine, which was designed by Charles Banks.
The original designs have been improved over the years by the work of two of Montclair’s most recognized members of the golf community. Robert Trent Jones joined Montclair in the late 30’s and remained a member until his death. His son Rees Jones, “The U.S. Open Doctor,” learned the game on the Donald Ross and Charles Banks designs.
The members of Montclair take pride in the Club's position in the history of golf in America and their many members who have contributed to the development of the game. The Club was one of the founding members that joined together to form the Metropolitan Golf Association in 1897. Three MGA presidents, Isaac “Ike” Grainger, Ken Gordon and Jack Kelsey came from the ranks of the Club. Both Gordon and Grainger served as Presidents of the United States Golf Association.
Montclair’s challenging greens have helped to hone the competitive abilities of many of the areas top players. Among them was Jerry Travers, who won two U.S. Amateurs while at Montclair (1907 & 1910) and later won the U.S. Open (1915). Carolyn Cudone, who won the New Jersey Women’s amateur eleven times at medal play and six times at match play was five times the WMGA match play champion. Robert Gardner won six Met Amateurs over a seven-year period (1958-1964). Gardner also was runner-up to Deane Beamon in the 1960 U.S. Amateur.
MCG’s tight fairways and heart breaking greens have been chosen to provide the test for many significant championships. It is one of the few clubs anywhere that can claim to have hosted both the Men’s and Women’s U.S. Amateur. Carole Stemple defeated Hollis Stacy in the 1973 Women’s event. Later in 1985, Sam Randolph set the course record for the Second and Fourth nines with his 64 in the qualifying round, then went on to defeat Peter Parsons, 1-up in the final. The course has been the most frequent site of the New Jersey Open and New Jersey Amateur Championships, having been host six and seven times, respectively.
Montclair Golf Club today is enjoyed by the families of its diverse members. Whether engaging in a full range of sports and social activities on its recognized first class golf course or in its gracious, recently renovated clubhouse, the members take great pride in their history and present standing. In 1995 the Metropolitan Golf Writer’s Association selected Montclair as its “Club of the Year” for “upholding the sport and traditions of the game and its consistent and energetic support of golf and its related activities.”