In 1674, John Skene purchased 500 acres of land in West Jersey and established his plantation, Peachfield. The property was later sold to Henry Burr in 1695 and remained in the hands of his descendants until 1896. In 1929, a group of men interested in the game of golf formed Burlington Country Club. The newly formed Club purchased 150 acres of the property known as Burrs Woods, about two miles from Mount Holly, from Walter and Alyce K. Hess.
Alexander Findlay (1865-1942), popularly known as the “Father of golf in America”, designed the original course and his son, John, supervised the construction. Findlay had emigrated from Scotland to the United States in the 1880’s to manage a ranch in Nebraska. Having been brought up playing at Montrose in Scotland and clearly missing the game, he laid out a rudimentary course at the ranch. Findlay later designed and oversaw construction of such courses as Palm Beach, the “Breakers”, St. Augustine, and Miami while employed by the Florida East Coast Railway. He went on to design several hundred golf courses in the United States including Greenbrier Lake Side, Reading Country Club, Manor Golf Club, and the Lake Placid Country Club, as well as a number of golf courses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While possibly apocryphal, it has been written that when he visited the Vatican in 1926, he offered to design a six-hole course in the Vatican Gardens for Pope Pius XI. Although the gardens may have made a beautiful golf site, his offer was rejected. Consequently, golfers visiting the Vatican today will have to content themselves with Michelangelo and St. Peter’s Basilica.
The first nine holes opened for play in 1930. One year later the second nine holes were added. Although there was no irrigation system, the greens under the care of John Plant, the first greens keeper, were excellent. John remained with the Club until 1960, and it is due to his ministrations and the excellent subsequent care of our current Greens Superintendent, Brian Minemier and his assistant, Anthony Benfield, that we now enjoy our beautiful greens.
An existing farmhouse was included in the sale of the property. It was renovated in 1930-1931 and was used as the original clubhouse. That clubhouse served the membership without major changes until the stockholders approved a major expansion and renovation in 1992. The expansion included a spacious grillroom including a bar, a new kitchen, an expanded main dining room, new locker rooms, and an additional dining room for small events.
The first golf professional at the Country Club was Bill Miller, who served only one year. Over the next 14 years, he was succeeded by Leo Shay, then by Joe Zarhardt, and finally by Cass Bannis. In 1945, Walter Brickley came to Burlington and served as our Club professional for the next 36 years until 1981; followed by Lenny Alcaro for one year. Michael Mack became the Club’s PGA professional in 1982 and celebrates 25 successful years at Burlington in 2007.
In 2002, Ault & Clark Associates designed and oversaw major renovations to the entire golf course, including the construction of six new greens and a revised layout of the back nine holes. The renovated par 70 course, while not overly long, is a true test of golf and has been described by visiting golfers as “the best kept secret in South Jersey.”
Burlington Country Club celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2004. Although the golf course has been modernized, it has retained its 1930’s charm and we look forward to continuing to provide South Jersey with a great golfing experience.