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Eric Zimmerer

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Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« on: February 21, 2024, 08:14:30 PM »
Hey Everyone -


Shot in the dark here, but figured I would ask. My club Hackensack Golf Club (Oradell, NJ, Charles Banks) is celebrating its 125th this year. As we start the process of commemorating the club, I have been tasked with a lot of the Banks architectural side when it moved to its current location.  We have a lot of good archives, but wondering if anyone has anything worth sharing. Obviously Banks isn't as well document as CB and Raynor. If anyone has any information on the club, would love to chat and learn more. Thank you all in advance.   

Richard Hetzel

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2024, 09:22:05 PM »

I wish I could help! I love that golf course. Bill Brightly took me some years ago! I am originally from Westwood. Good luck with the search!
Last 10:
Erie GC (PA), Skyway GC (NJ), Ferry Point Links (NY), The Bridge (NY), Montauk Downs (NY), Totteridge GC (PA), Hillsboro Elks (OH), Smock GC (IN), Westbrook CC (OH), NCR CC - South (OH)

Colin Sheehan

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2024, 11:12:36 AM »
Richard,
Here's his Yale obit.


https://photos.app.goo.gl/CAAYuiDRmwPp8t2d8
It's crazy that in a few short years, he went from prep school administrator who knew nothing of golf to bootlegger of the Macdonald and Raynor style—and on a scale consistently as large, if not more massive, to what his predecessors did. 

Rick Sides

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2024, 03:05:34 PM »
Eric I have heard wonderful things about Hackensack !!

archie_struthers

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2024, 08:45:03 PM »
 8)


The superintendent Rich Lane is a star!  I was fortunate enough to meet him 20 plus years ago and it didn't take long to see his talent. Moreover he understood the history of the architecture and embraced it. Congrats to him also!


His brother Steve is also a super , worked with me building Twisted Dune and had all the skills. Currently doing wonderful work at McCullagh's Emerald Links (EHT NJ) with a limited budget and help. Just a great gene pool in that family , I'm a big fan !

Steve_ Shaffer

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2024, 11:28:14 PM »
The Biarritz hole pictured above is among the best of its kind in my humble opinion:
In 1888, Willie Dunn Jr. designed the Biarritz Golf Club and the par-3 3rd hole which was dubbed “the chasm”. The chasm was adopted by C.B. Macdonald as a template hole and named “the biarritz.” Fellow architects were slow to grow fond of the bold and controversial putting surface that Macdonald was employing and called it “Macdonald’s Folly” in the early years.

https://thefriedegg.com/biarritz-template-hole/
« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 11:47:49 PM by Steve_ Shaffer »
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Bret Lawrence

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2024, 08:35:19 AM »
Richard,
Here's his Yale obit.


https://photos.app.goo.gl/CAAYuiDRmwPp8t2d8
It's crazy that in a few short years, he went from prep school administrator who knew nothing of golf to bootlegger of the Macdonald and Raynor style—and on a scale consistently as large, if not more massive, to what his predecessors did. 



Colin,


Charles Banks did marry into a Scottish family.  His father-in-law was the “Father of Golf in the West”: Alexander Baillie, who founded the Tacoma Golf and Country Club in 1894.  Here is a 9 minute interview with Alexander Baillie (Charles Banks’ father-in-law). He is 89 years old at the time and it’s his first time on the radio.  He talks about the beginning of golf in the US, the beginning of golf on the West Coast and he sings a Scottish song at the end of the interview. 


https://youtu.be/aTnIEvUw7UU?si=OFgrOXbeKR5gAz0R


Disclaimer:  The advertisements attached to this interview contain old world language that may be offensive to some people in 2024.  I take no responsibility for the advertisements contained within this post.


Bret

Eric Zimmerer

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2024, 07:21:47 PM »

Colin - thank you for this. I wish it mentioned HGC but super helpful.

Richard,
Here's his Yale obit.


https://photos.app.goo.gl/CAAYuiDRmwPp8t2d8
It's crazy that in a few short years, he went from prep school administrator who knew nothing of golf to bootlegger of the Macdonald and Raynor style—and on a scale consistently as large, if not more massive, to what his predecessors did. 


Eric Zimmerer

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2024, 07:23:58 PM »

He has been a star of the club. I have been fortunate enough to see the changes from the start and he gets it. A perfect greenskeeper for the property, and most importantly a great guy.

8)


The superintendent Rich Lane is a star!  I was fortunate enough to meet him 20 plus years ago and it didn't take long to see his talent. Moreover he understood the history of the architecture and embraced it. Congrats to him also!


His brother Steve is also a super , worked with me building Twisted Dune and had all the skills. Currently doing wonderful work at McCullagh's Emerald Links (EHT NJ) with a limited budget and help. Just a great gene pool in that family , I'm a big fan !

Eric Zimmerer

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2024, 07:36:11 PM »

Rick - It really is a gem (bias aside). It maybe overshadowed by Ridgewood and Arcola but those that understand and appreciate what they are playing have nothing but great things to say and call it a true hidden gem. Very fortunate and proud to call it my home club. Always happy to host if you are in the area.



Eric I have heard wonderful things about Hackensack !!

Eric Zimmerer

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2024, 07:41:39 PM »
Really appreciate everyone here. Will keep everyone posted as we progress. Something tells me a trip to Hotchkiss in the spring is in order.

Jonathan Cummings

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2024, 06:38:03 AM »

Rick - It really is a gem (bias aside). It maybe overshadowed by Ridgewood and Arcola but those that understand and appreciate what they are playing have nothing but great things to say and call it a true hidden gem. Very fortunate and proud to call it my home club. Always happy to host if you are in the area.



Eric I have heard wonderful things about Hackensack !!


Absolutely love the Redan and the way the back of the green melts seamlessly down into the following tee.   Haven't seen that in other Banks/Raynor layouts.

Joe Bausch

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2024, 07:19:10 AM »
Gosh, time zooms by: it has been coming up on 14 years ago when I played Hackensack as part of a GCA gathering:

http://www80.homepage.villanova.edu/joseph.bausch/images/albums/Hackensack/index.html
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:  https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Bret Lawrence

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2024, 12:46:14 PM »
Eric,


I'm not sure if you have this film in your club's archive, but I thought I would bring it to your attention.  This article was written in 1978, therefore some of the Raynor information is inaccurate, but the film sounds very interesting. 


Newark Star Ledger., October 29, 1978:


Bret

Scott Warren

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2024, 04:07:23 AM »
I would have thought Bill Brightly would have a lot of this sort of thing?


Is he still at Hackensack? Is he still around on GCA?




Bill Brightly

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2024, 12:50:37 AM »
Brightly is still around! I'm still at Hackensack but was letting this thread run for a while before I commented.


I appreciate Bret Lawrence posting that damn article by Sid Dorfman referencing Red Hoffman (a very prolific sportswriter who covered golf for the Newark Star ledger) which alleges Raynor was involved with the creation of the course. I take every opportunity I can to correct this misinformation, but I have actually never read the article until Bret posted it here!


The article is SO WRONG! No better place than GCA.COM to put out the correct information. The highlighted line: "designed by Banks and built by Raynor" should set off alarms that the article is bullshit, right? Banks was Raynor's assistant. That would be like saying a course was "designed by Brian Schneider and built by Tom Doak..."


Based upon people telling me about Hoffman's assertion that HGC was a Raynor course, I conducted an exhaustive search. I was excited that our course might actually be a Raynor. I spent days in the Hackensack Public Library reading old newspapers on microfiche and read all of our old board minutes. My research proved the opposite, Raynor never saw the land where our course now exists.


Dead men don't build golf courses.


Our club was founded in 1899 in the city of Hackensack, NJ and the course was designed by Bendelow. Like many golf clubs in the US in the 1920's, our leaders determined that we needed a new course on a new site. We acquired land owned by the Kinderkamack Club in Oradell and Emerson, NJ.  It was primarily a hunting club but had nine crude golf holes. We took in their 43 members and purchased the land in August of 1926. Raynor died in January of 1926. He never saw the site. Our board minutes clearly describe the process to select an architect. Donald Ross declined because he was too busy. "Propositions" (proposals) were received by AW Tillinghast, Styles and Van Kleek, and Charles Banks, "formerly of Seth Raynor and Company." We hired Banks (while he was finishing the last 9 holes at Fishers Island.) Work started in 1927 and was finished in 1928.


Eric, you MUST go read into the office and read these old board minutes! And do you have my signed copy of Bahto's book on Macdonald??? See George's comments about our course...


HGC was Banks' first solo design.  Of course he included all the templates that Raynor used. As mentioned above, the Redan green complex he built is better than any I have played save NGLA and North Berwick. (And I've played plenty...) The course was "modernized" by William Gordon in 1960 (Insert crying emoji) renovated by Rees Jones in 1995, and faithfully restored to its Banks form over the past 15 years. We worked on one or two holes each year, with the shaping done by our very talented superintendent. Most of the work was excellent. Two big swings and misses; these green complexes need to be rebuilt, hopefully while I am still alive. The only hole we haven't touched is Hole 17, Banks' Eden, because we really don't know what to do about the stupid pond that was inserted in 1995. Members seem to like it... But when I had 20 GCA guys there years ago they asked me after the round why it was there and I had no good answer... :) We also are not sure if we should restore the severe back-to-front pitch that William Gordon flattened in 1960. (He also removed EVERY back bunker that Banks built.)


Anyway, I'll stop blabbering now but if you hear that Raynor was involved at HGC, please say no he wasn't!


Cheers.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2024, 01:04:33 AM by Bill Brightly »

Stewart Abramson

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2024, 06:08:13 AM »
Bill, Have you seen the film that is referenced in the article? Any idea who is in the film standing with Banks who was erroneously identified in the article as Raynor?

Bill Crane

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2024, 12:23:34 PM »
Bill ~

Thanks for taking the time to write that insightful post.
So many great and interesting course features lost in the 60s, 70s and 80s because most people just did not know and understand what they were looking at.  I remember my parents playing Forsgate with some friends in the late 1970s after the LPGA tournament there and commenting about "the crazy humps in the greens".
New Jersey is like Phila in that there are many wonderful second tier golf clubs few people know except locals.
Actually, I have never played Hackensack, so it may be a First Tier layout !!
Wasn't Pat M a member there ?

New Jersey  - Look before you LAUGH !!
_________________________________________________________________
( s k a Wm Flynnfan }

Bill Brightly

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2024, 07:52:59 PM »
Bill, Have you seen the film that is referenced in the article? Any idea who is in the film standing with Banks who was erroneously identified in the article as Raynor?


No, I have not seen it. Does anyone know how I might be able to view it?




Bill Brightly

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Re: Hackensack Golf Club 125th Anniversary
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2024, 09:08:14 PM »
Bill ~

Thanks for taking the time to write that insightful post.
So many great and interesting course features lost in the 60s, 70s and 80s because most people just did not know and understand what they were looking at.  I remember my parents playing Forsgate with some friends in the late 1970s after the LPGA tournament there and commenting about "the crazy humps in the greens".
New Jersey is like Phila in that there are many wonderful second tier golf clubs few people know except locals.
Actually, I have never played Hackensack, so it may be a First Tier layout !!
Wasn't Pat M a member there ?

New Jersey  - Look before you LAUGH !!


Bill, you are spot on when you say that people did not know and understand what they were looking at! RTJ was in vogue in the late 1950's, right? The aerial game was developing. A Banks course with its deep bunkers and multi-sectioned greens must have looked very strange. We formed a "Modernization Committee" who hired William Gordon to work on our course in 1960. As a student of history in general, not just g.c.a., I really can't be too hard on them. Think of that time in history in the US. Television was brand new, people were buying washing machines and dryers, second cars, etc, etc. So they hired Gordon to make the course look more "modern."


When we created HGC's first website in the early 2000's, someone put all of our old monthly newsletters on the site. I found the April 1961 edition of the Hack'r, our quarterly newsletter. There was an (unsigned) article describing the changes to the course that the members would see when they played the course in 1961. (Eric, you absolutely need to read this article!) It was heartbreaking. It started by saying "all the bunker floors have been elevated, no longer will you be unable to see the pin when playing from a bunker."  :-[
Then it went to describe the changes on a hole to hole basis. The bunkers were brought in on both front and left and right on every hole.


Side story: I'm also a member of Saucon Valley. William Gordon built two excellent courses there in the early 1960's: Grace and Weyhill. He decided to build an Eden template on Grace Hole #5 and communicated with a Scottish surveyor to get the specifications. He built and excellent version with one major flaw: no water behind the green. SVCC has a creek that meanders throughout all three courses so I was curious. I communicated with Gordon's son David (who was in his 80's at the time) to ask why his Eden didn't have water behind it at Saucon Valley's Grace Course #5. He replied : Dad believed that going long was penalty enough, he didn't like hazards behind greens...


So at Hackensack, he removed EVERY back bunker, including behind our Redan.




The writer went on to say stuff like: "the upper left tier on Hole 9 (and hole 14) have been lowered," etc. etc. 


I do not post this to be critical of Gordon's work; he did what he was hired to do. Rather, I wish to document the style changes that occurred in the history of golf course architecture, how it is dangerous to try to follow those changes at your course, and how important it is to preserve (and review) the history of your golf course.


Zim, I won't be around forever, you need to pass this info around!!!

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