KNOLL WEST ONLY ACCEPTS CASH FROM NON-MEMBERS. MAKE SURE TO BRING ENOUGH!
Rate (including cart rental): $89.75
Tee Times: 12:52, 1:00, 1:08pm
Founded in 1929 by a group of thirty millionaires led by IBM's founder Thomas Watson, Montclair Golf Club President Joseph Bower and Essex County Country Club President Arthur Hoffman (and more promiment bankers and businessmen), iconic architect Charles Banks, the man responsible for designing Hackensack Golf Club and Essex County Country Club, was hired to design an exclusive private course for this group of wealthy North Jersey residents. Despite already being members of notorious private clubs including Baltusrol Country Club, Montclair Golf Club and Essex County CC, they wanted a fourth private playground.
As middle-aged men not interested in any hill-climbing, they asked Banks to design a relatively flat course within a reasonable distance of their homes. Banks inspected a few sites nearby Montclair and West Orange (where many members resided), and chose 360 acres in what is today considered Parsippany-Troy Hills.
Clifford Wendehack, the man responsible for designing the clubhouses at Bethpage, Winged Foot, Ridgewood, Mountain Ridge and Hackensack, was hired and paid $2 milliion dollars to build the clubhouse.
Just eight months after The Great Depression, Knoll Country Club officially opened, however, roughly half of the members had gone belly-up. The remaining solvent members attempted purchasing the property, but failed to make a profit. They were able to hold onto the club for the next 10 years before having to sell the property to the Aiello Brothers, who owned a food and beverage business in Montclair that was supplying Knoll Country Club with goods, for the bargain-basement price of $110,000.
Over the next decade, Knoll Country Club saw ups and downs, eventually seeing its heydays in the decades following WWII. By the 50s The Knoll had resurged and hit full stride when celebrities frequently flocked there. Among the regulars were prominent Jazz musician brothers Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, comedian and actor Jackie Gleason, singer Perry Como, Yankee legends Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto and other teammates. 1920s golf legends Walter Hagen (45 tour wins and 11 major championships -- 3rd all time in major championships) and Gene Sarazen (39 tour wins and 7 majors -- the first player to win all four majors in a single year, today's Modern Day Grand Slam) were members also regularly spotted at Knoll CC.
Throughout the 50s the course was flourishing and hosted a number of prestigious tournaments. In 1954, The Knoll hosted the Met Open, won by Otto Greiner, head professional at the private Knickerbocker Golf Club in Tenafly. Four years later, The Knoll hosted the Met Amateur and witnessed Robert Gardner of Montclair Golf Club winning his first of six consecutive Met Am titles. In 1960, The Knoll hosted the New Jersey State Open. Also in the 60s, The Knoll underwent expansion when Hal Purdy designed an 18 hole public course which was named Knoll East. Bank's 18 hole private course was renamed Knoll West.
However, good times for Knoll Country Club didn't last forever. With the passing of the Aiello brothers and unsavory Italian influences at the club, membership declined and the best days of the club ended. The club muddled along for several years before being sold to Bloomfield College, who planned on using the land as an expanded campus. With that plan failing to get past the drawing board, and looking to generate cash flow, Bloomfield College changed Knoll West to a semi-private facility open to the public. In 1970, Bloomfield College sold the course to the Township of Parsippany, who today still owns the semi-private Knoll West and public Knoll East.
Knoll West has undergone renovations over the years to lengthen the course to meet modern requirements and now stretches 6,752 yards and par of 70, but keeping true to Charles Bank's vision, his classic 1920s golden age design recently finished undergoing minor renovations, and the heart of the course, his marvelously designed putting greens, have remained unchanged.
With tree-lined fairways, deep bunkers, and undulating, deceptively treacherous putting greens, Golf Digest in 2009 named Knoll West the #1 Muni Course in New Jersey.
Ending magnificently with a 440-yard Par 4 featuring a hole location tucked behind a cavernous bunker standing guard over an elevated and sloping green, the finishing hole is regarded by New Jersey golf enthusiasts as one of the best closing holes in the state.
As a reminder, if for any reason you can no longer attend, we ask that you notify us no later than 24 hours prior to the reservation time so a member of the waiting list may have your spot or avoid charges at the course.
Sponsored by John Ruvolo