Scotch Hills Country Club, is a Public, 9 hole golf course located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
Scotch Hills first opened for play in 1900.
The 9-hole course plays to a par 33. From the back tees the course plays to 2247 yards. The course rating is 33.3 and it has a slope rating of 106. From the forward tees the course measures 2022 yards. The longest hole on the course is # 8, a par-4 that plays to 358 yards. The shortest hole on the course is # 3, a par-3 that plays to 164 yards from the back tees.
Watch out for # 8, a 358 yard par-4 challenge and the #1 handicap hole on the course. The easiest hole is # 6, a 210 yard par-4.
And now the interesting part. Scotch Hills was formerly known as Shady Rest Golf and Country Club. Let us now look at Shady Rest's story.
The Shady Rest Golf and Country Club was the first African-American owned and operated country club in the United States. It has added significance as the home course of the first African American golf professional to play in a U.S. Open, John Matthew Shippen (1879-1968).
The clubhouse, originally the Ephraim Tucker Farmhouse built in the mid-1700's, became the George Osbourne tavern in 1897. In 1900 the Westfield Golf Club converted the farmland into a nine-hole golf course and the farmhouse into a clubhouse. After the Westfield Golf Club merged with a Club in Cranford to form the Echo Lake Country Club in 1921, a group of prominent black investors known as Progressive Realty Company, purchased the property and organized Shady Rest Golf and Country Club. The Club became a center of African American society at the time hosting events that brought to Scotch Plains such luminaries as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Joe Louis, Althea Gibson, and Newark's own Sarah Vaughn.
John Shippen was a golf legend in his own right, and served as the professional and groundskeeper at Shady Rest from 1931-1964. Shippen was born to Rev. John and Maude Shippen in the Anacostia section of Washington, D.C. Rev. Shippen was sent in 1888 to serve as minister and schoolmaster at the Shinnecock Presbyterian Church at the Native American Reservation on Long Island. Scotsman Willie Dunn, who came to Long Island to supervise construction of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, hired young John Shippen to clear brush during construction and then to stay on as a caddy. A natural athlete, John picked up the sport and continued to tend the course and give lessons to the all-white club members. John's presence on the reservation led to some confusion about his heritage that may have helped him land a spot in the 1896 United States Open Championship in which he finished fifth at the age of sixteen. The other pros who entered the US Open were Scotsmen and Englishmen, and John therefore earned the status of the "first American-born professional golfer" to enter the United States Open Championship, as well as the first African American. After his retirement in 1964, Shippen moved into a nursing home in Newark where he remained until his death in 1968. He was buried without fanfare or a headstone in Rosedale Cemetery in Linden. Over thirty years later, the John Shippen Memorial Foundation purchased and placed a granite headstone at his gravesite.
Scotch Plains Township acquired the Shady Rest property through a tax lien foreclosure in 1938 and maintained it until 1964 when it took over operations and renamed it Scotch Hills Country Club. The history and significance of the course has not been typically promoted as a place of historic interest.
The legacy of John Shippen made opportunities possible for the next generation of black golfers such as Lee Elder and in this generation, Tiger Woods.
$21 (cart not included), played on Monday, July 2008 at 8am
This course is a 9 hole par 4 course. Nice layout. The price is right. Pay once, and you can play all day for that one fee if you choose.
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