You know how it was all the rage a few years ago to start building brass statues of people and putting them around golf courses? If you legitimately want to bronze people that actually are good for the game of golf, then New Jersey should erect a statue of country club magnate Chris Schiavone. First, Chris spearheaded the resurrection of mighty Forsgate Country Club, the last American course designed by the great golf architectural Bloodline of Macdonald, Raynor, and Banks. Now Chris has nearby Shackamaxon Counbtry Club on the rise as well.
Only the third course ever designed by quintessential golf designer A.W. Tillinghast, Schiavone has stewarded the club to a remarkable resurgence to prominence. Just like at Forsgate, he tapped NYC’s favorite son of a golf architect, Stephen Kay to do a cross between a restoration, a renovation, and a re-sequencing. Now, in its 100th year, it will host a lecture series as well as a string of New Jersey State amateur titles.
Perhaps the biggest news is the new Reef Hole, a Tillinghast rarity that Kay faithfully reproduced as the course’s 13th hole. Formerly a short par-4 hemmed in by a road, the hole didn’t work as an opener or as the 10th, because players could drive the green, wreaking havoc on moving golfers around the course.
“Coming mid-round is a much better call,” stated golf expert Bruce Moulton. “In fact, the re-sequencing also means that they have one heck of a finishing hole, too!”
Moulton is referring to the famous island green 18th. A lay up off the tee and a short iron tp the green, this dog leg left also features heaving terrain that runs into a dangerous creek. It’s a position hole, and if you are out of position, you may be trying to hit an island green with a blind shot or from behind a tree.
But hey, where else can you play a par-4 with an island green? Not many places…and with much of Tillinghast’s original work faithfully restored by Kay, a golfer can see the primordial architectural ideas of Tillie during his formative years.
“There’s a lot of history at Shack; it’s an important course to study to see Tillinghast’s progression…and it’s looking as good as it did when it first opened,” concluded Moulton.