As one of America’s outstanding country clubs, Upper Montclair Country Club has a compelling history. It has been called a “second home” to some of the greatest golfers in the game, as well as by many well-known celebrities and famous sports professionals.
In 1901, the Club consisted of five holes that were carved out of farmland in Aacquacknonck Township. It has since become the city of Clifton, NJ. The Club was formed by a group of golf enthusiasts called the Upper Ten Club. The leader of this illustrious group of outdoor athletes was Dr. Morgan W. Ayers, UMCC’s founding president.
The first club house was located next to the original five-hole course. It was a discarded fire house that was moved to the site near the Erie Railroad Station requiring the temporary removal of overhead wires on trolley tracks.
The course grew mainly as it purchased adjacent land as it became available. In 1916, there were 18 holes covering about 6,000 yards, 300 members, and a handsome $25,000 “fire-proof” clubhouse that later burned to the ground. The course was originally designed by a well-known Golf architect, A.W. Tillinghast.
In 1929, just weeks after “Black Friday,” the club house which constitutes the footprint for the current building was completed.
The Club survived the Depression thanks to financings made possible by Member John Schumann, Jr., then chairman of General Motors Acceptance Corporation. Eventually, the course grew to 36 holes, but was later scaled back to 27 when the constructing of its two bisecting major highways (Garden State Parkway and Route 3) were developed.
In the 1950’s, another well-known golf architect, Robert Trent Jones brought dramatic changes to the three nine-hole courses, always keeping 18 holes for play at all times. And, the play was not just from members! Notables such as Babe Ruth, Annie Oakley, Bob Hope, and countless others were seen on the Club’s fairways and greens. As a result of the many NFL Cadillac tournaments in recent years, practically every major professional football player who has ever picked up a golf club has played the course.
But more importantly to the folks who love the game is that fact the UMCC holds the rare honor to have hosted tournaments for the PGA, the LPGA and Senior PGA. As a result, the biggest names in golf over the years have all come to Upper Montclair to show their competitive spirit and talents.