The Shore Club
|Golf Professional||Fred Riedel||(609) 408-1990|
|General Manager||Kelly Nigra||(609) 465-7824|
|Superintendent||Doug Larson||(609) 338-1993|
|Architect||Wayne Stiles & John Van Kleek|
|Tee Sheet||Front 9||Back 9||Course|
The first 25 years of Wildwood Golf and Country Club were not uneventful. The original organization was incorporated in 1916. Its founding members were Henry H. Ottens, J. Charles Winters, William J. Jackson, William T. Martin, Jr., and George C. Connor. Construction of the course and clubhouse strained the club’s modest resources, and within five years Wildwood was in difficult financial straits.
A 1922 photo commemorates the opening of the second Wildwood club on the original site.
In 1921 a group of members who were determined to revitalize the club formed a new corporation known as the Wildwood Golf Club and took over the operation. Spearheading this effort— and named as directors for the first year—were Palmer M. Way, Robert C. Latimer, Ralph Carl, C. Howard Topham, Alexander McMurray, Edward Morton, William C. Hunt, W. Courtwright Smith, Thomas S. Goslin, and H. Foster Goslin. A little more than two years later, Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek were brought in to lay out a new eighteen on the site of the original holes. Both were landscape architects who branched into golf architecture during the course-building boom of the 1920s. Much of their work was done in Massachusetts and Florida. They laid out one other course in New Jersey, at Brigantine Country Club in 1927.
As was the case with virtually every private golf club during the Depression, Wildwood fell on hard times. Members resigned, debt piled up, tax obligations went unmet. Early in 1941 a member, who shall be nameless, capitalized on the club’s plight by buying the tax lien from Middle Township, then foreclosing on the lien to become the sole owner of the property. Some months later a group led by Judge A.J. “Andy” Cafiero revived the 1916 Wildwood Golf and Country Club corporation and persuaded the new owner to sell the property to them. Joining Judge Cafiero, the club’s new president, in this undertaking were Clarence Fisher, Irving Fitch, H. Foster Goslin, William C. Hunt, Sarkis Latouff, Morris Leedom, Walter R. Stine, Harry Tenenbaum, C. Howard Topham, D.J. Woods, and C.A. Heil. Walter Stine was named secretary.
Remarkably, over the years Wildwood would rarely if ever permit the uncertainties of club ownership and operation to get in the way of the game. In 1924 the C.A. “Gus” Heil Invitational was born. After almost 30 years it was changed, in 1953, from individual competition to better ball of partners. Winners would include such outstanding area amateurs as James E. “Sonny” Fraser, Clarence Fisher, John Moyer, Jack Penrose/ Billy Care, Harvey Smith, Don Norbury, Gus Johnson, and Duke Delcher.
It was in 1934 that the club established a second annual multi-day invitation for top players, the William H. Bright Memorial. Eighteen years later it also become a better-ball-of-partners event. Among the names on the trophy are Willard Goeckler, who won the inaugural, Clarence Fisher, Horace “Hy” Goodfellow, Al Besselink, Harold Ridgley, Harry Elwell, Bob Beirne, Don Norbury, Harvey Smith, Lou Riggs, Jr., O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., James King, Bert English, Duke Delcher, Jim Meyer, Gus Johnson, and Bob Housen.
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