When Tyler Hall of the Upper Montclair Golf Club was bitten by the golf bug at age 15, there was a place he could go and work on his game – the Montclair Golf Club in West Orange.
Back in 1975-76, his father, Larry Hall, had worked as an assistant professional at Montclair and his connections in the New Jersey golf world still ran deep when his son decided he wanted to seriously pursue the sport beginning in the summer of 1996.
“I had been reinstated as an amateur and made it to the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1996 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon and Tyler was on my bag,” Larry said. “Tyler had been all about baseball and basketball, but after seeing what went on there, he became all about golf.”
That was the year Tiger Woods won his third U.S. Amateur at age 20, defeating Steve Scott in 38 holes at Pumpkin Ridge, and Woods soon became a professional.
“I got to watch Tiger up close and that was enough to sell me immediately,” said Tyler Hall, who is a co-leader at 4-under-par 66 with amateur Thomas La Morte of the Haworth Golf Club after one round of the 54-hole New Jersey State Golf Association’s 98thOpen Championship at the par-70, 6,520-yard Montclair Golf Club in West Orange.
Hall played six holes in the second round of the NJSGA Open on a soggy Wednesday before play was suspended for the day at 1:09 p.m. The entire field will return Thursday to complete the second round and the low 50 and ties will return for Friday’s final round.
In that summer of 1996, Tyler devoted himself to the sport, lowering his handicap index from 28 to 3. A year later, he won the MGA Boys Championship and not long after that earned himself a golf scholarship to the University of Kansas. He then spent a decade playing on the mini-tour circuit.
He is currently the Director of Instruction at Upper Montclair.
“Montclair is one of the greatest courses I’ve ever played. It’s a great northeastern course. It’s a gem. The layout is challenging. The greens could contend with any other club in the world. You could never underrate this place,” said Tyler, who won the NJSGA Open in 2015 and ’16 and won the Met Open in 2011.
His father, who has worked as a teaching pro at the Willowbrook Golf Center in Wayne for the past 10 years, also has an affinity for Montclair.
“This is my favorite place. The atmosphere and the people are second to none,” said Larry Hall, who coached Tyler’s Little League team in Wayne. “We kept coming up here and to Upper Montclair and to Preakness Hills because the pros were so kind to us. We would come up on Mondays when the caddies and a few others were allowed to play.
“Later, we joined the Packanack Golf Club in Wayne and that is really where he honed his skills.”
In the winters in Arizona, Tyler coaches several aspiring players including internet sensation and LPGA hopeful Paige Spiranac. He will officiate at Ms. Spiranac’s wedding in October, two days before his wife, Brie, is due to give birth to the Hall’s second daughter.
“I got to know Paige and her mother at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale and we have been good friends ever since. In the spring of 2016, Paige asked me to become her personal coach. I’ve always told her to keep her head up,” Tyler said.