May 20, 2021 By: Jason Lusk — Baltusrol Golf Club’s Lower course in Springfield, New Jersey, is an A.W. Tillinghast masterpiece that had seen plenty of changes since it opened for play in 1922.
The layout has hosted four U.S. Open, two PGA Championships, three U.S. Amateurs and a U.S. Women’s Open – the pedigree was never in doubt. But members wanted to take several steps forward by taking more steps back on the layout that ranked No. 50 on the 2021 Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses list for all layouts built before 1960 in the United States.
Gil Hanse was hired in 2018 to develop a long-term master restoration plan for the Lower, which is scheduled to host the 2023 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the 2029 PGA Championship. They also have plans to tackle Baltusrol’s Upper course starting in 2024.
The results of all the work on the Lower were put on display this week, as the private course reopened for member play. The restoration focused on widening fairways, tree removal and restoring greens to the scale and size intended by Tillinghast.
Check out how several of the holes looked historically, then more recently before the restoration, then after the recent work was complete. Included for each hole are the designer’s notes on the work done on that hole.