Golf was first played on the Quaker Ridge site in 1915 and in those days it was a modest nine-hole layout known as the Metropolitan Golf Links. The club soon fell on hard times and a small band of businessmen stepped in 1916 and founded the Quaker Ridge Golf Club. A.W. Tillinghast was called in and he redesigned seven holes and built eleven new ones. The new course opened for play in 1918 and it’s known lovingly as “Tilly’s Treasure”. Tilly returned in the mid 1920s to tweak the layout and since then little has changed.
Quaker Ridge is one of the most unheralded golf courses in the USA and only those in the know have heard of it. Most clubs obtain their fame from hosting important events and yet Quaker Ridge has hosted only one “major” event in recent times, the 75th Walker Cup. The 1997 event ended with a resounding US victory over Great Britain and Ireland, 18 points to 6.
Needless to say, Quaker Ridge is an exacting test of golf, which is set in undulating heavily wooded country. Look out for the great oak tree to the right of the 10th. According to folklore, George Washington slumbered underneath it prior to battling with the British the next day. Quaker Ridge has also produced its own home-grown winners of some repute, including Jess Sweetser and Willie Turnesa, winners of both the US and British Amateur Championships. But the most celebrated Quaker Ridge member was also the country's most famous composer, George Gershwin, who held a very respectable 10 handicap.
Gil Hanse has been advising Quaker Ridge Golf
Club on course restoration since 2002, and the course was a fitting stage for the 2018 Curtis Cup matches which the home team dominated.
Quaker Ridge has received many accolades over the years and we’ll leave you with Ben Crenshaw’s comments: “It is so much of a treat to play. There is such a beautiful mix of holes at Quaker Ridge; it is truly a Tillinghast Gem.”
In hosting this year's Curtis Cup Matches, Quaker Ridge will move out of the shadows -- self imposed at that -- and shine some light on an underexposed A.W. Tillinghast gem. Quaker Ridge also hosted the 1997 Walker Cup Matches.
Unlike its more illustrious nearby neighbor Winged Foot, Quaker has not really wished to host various national championships on a regular basis. That would mean potentially changing the fundamental character of the Tillinghast design and given the relatively modest footprint the club has in terms of total acres available, the likely outcome would mean an imposition that the club's leadership has wisely chosen not to undertake.
The noticeable Tillinghast design features are present -- challenging greens with a myriad of different movements. Missing approach shots to either side of the greens makes for daunting recovery situations.
The course fits squarely in the "good member's" type course. There's sufficient length but not where inane back tees being inserted mindlessly in order to pump up the difficulty meter. The opening sequence of holes is sufficient but not in a breathtaking manner. That commences at the 4th hole and continues through the middle of the inward half of holes. The terrain then becomes a quality brew, mixing various land movements where shotmaking requirements are elevated.
The par-4 6th and 7th holes respectively are a fine one-two punch. This is especially with the latter as the hole swings to the right in the drive zone. Players must be conscious of greedy attempts that cut off too much off this dog-leg right hole. The uphill par-4 8th is not long at 359 yards but an enlarged elevated grass hump in the middle of the fairway forces players to think carefully at the tee.
Having back-to-back par-3 holes can often prove hard to accomplish because architects are hard pressed to create real differentiation. That's not the case at Quaker. The 9th and 10th holes are both uniquely different in their presentations and positioning for different wind velocities.
The par-4 11th rightly gets plenty of attention. Striking for its visual appeal and architectural merits., and just over 400 yards, the need for precision with the approach -- a staple feature for any Tillinghast design -- is front and center as a stream cuts immediately in front of the green.
The only downside to Quaker is that the ending trio of holes does not rise the bar in ending the day in a fitting manner. Capable holes for sure but hardly closing out the course so that the memory is indelibly seared into one's consciousness.
Quaker has long benefited in being in the golf rich area of Westchester County. For a number of years the top golf publications in the States have had the course included among the top 50 layouts in America. I don't see it being consistently good enough to warrant such a lofty position and even a top 100 position is debatable given the rise of plenty of top quality competition. Nonetheless, Quaker Ridge demonstrates another fine Tillinghast contribution and the Curtis Cup Matches will provide sufficient visibility in showcasing a course that few outside the immediate NYC metro area ever discuss.
by M. James Ward
The defining characteristics of Quaker Ridge are the trees, the out of bounds and the greens. The greens are very good, subtle and very fast; sixteen of them slope back to front. The course is in many ways a typical course found in Westchester County, which are all tree-lined. I mean this in no way to be a negative, because Quaker Ridge can hardly be described as a typical course. The other thing you notice about Quaker Ridge when you begin playing is that the angles you take coming into the greens are of paramount importance. This is the sign of a brilliantly designed and thoughtfully laid out course.
The first eight holes circle the property in a counter-clockwise fashion, which is the mirror image of Chicago Golf, which circles in a clockwise fashion. The next six holes at Quaker Ridge circle back in a clockwise fashion, before play goes back toward the club house. I know that Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) is probably the most famous world-renowned course that has a lot of O.B. Having played both courses, I think Quaker Ridge is a much sterner test of trying to keep the ball in play. At Hoylake, the O.B. really doesn't come into play unless you are truly wild. At Quaker Ridge, it comes into play if you are only mildly off line.
The best stretch of holes on the course are six through eleven.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs
Significant tree clearance has opened up fabulous views across the property. Gil Hanse worked wonders restoring many of the lost Tillinghast features. For example, when you move around the dog-leg on the 7th hole and experience the vista of bunkers leading up to the raised green, the ‘Sahara’ bunker complex up the left side of the 14th fairway is breathtaking. The bunkers added to the short 17th hole are works of art. The shaping
and attention to detail at Quaker Ridge is second to none.
I have played the course multiple times over the past 10 years, but this past week was the best shape I’ve ever seen it in. Immaculate conditioning everywhere you look and the views that have been opened up make the course look really healthy. Hanse brought back a number of lost Tillinghast bunkers which look fantastic.
The club is celebrating its centenary this year, and as part of the festivities, it is hosting a Walker Cup event this October whereby every club in history that has ever hosted the Walker Cup will send two members to compete in an inter-club event. It will bring together clubs from all over the USA and Europe to collectively celebrate one of golf’s best amateur team events.
Quaker Ridge, often referred to as “Tillie’s Treasure” (after its golf architect), shares a fence line with its famous neighbor, Winged Foot…
As lore has it, during the Revolutionary War, George Washington slumbered near his beleaguered continental troops under a great oak as he prepared to do battle with the British troops. That oak grows to the right of Quaker Ridge’s 10th hole.
Quaker Ridge is every bit as challenging as either of the Winged Foot courses and is a far more beautiful course. However, the club largely has avoided the spotlight of hosting national tournaments. Larry Berle.