Woodcrest Country Club
|Golf Professional||John F DiMarco||(856) 428-1243|
|General Manager||Patrick E. Lucas||(856) 429-0848|
|Superintendent||Patrick E. Lucas||(856) 429-0848|
|Architect||William S. Flynn|
|Tee Sheet||Front 9||Back 9||Course|
Not all the speculating during the Roaring 20s was in securities. Some of it involved real estate. In 1925 J. Wesley Goldthorp, a Collingswood attorney and businessman, bought 1,200 acres of New Jersey farmland between Ellisburg and Berlin. He had reason to believe that the rapid transit system which then ran from Camden to Ashland would soon be extended to Berlin, making the property he had just acquired desirable for residential development. But when the stock market crashed and the economy turned sour, plans for the $8-million high-speed line extension were scrapped. There would be no houses built at that time in this neck of the woods.
An avid golfer, Goldthorp decided to build a course that would be open to the public and that would, at the very least, enable him to hold onto the land and keep the tax collector at bay.
Familiar with the work of Toomey and Flynn on the other side of the river, particularly at Rolling Green and Huntingdon Valley, he commissioned them to design and build the course. The original nine holes here opened in the late spring of 1930. The second nine was ready for play by the end of the season. The total cost of the eighteen was between $30,000 and $35,000.
Despite the difficult times, Woodcrest was immediately successful in attracting the daily fee player. It was surely the finest South Jersey course open to the public—varied, challenging, and boasting legendarily fierce rough. The Goldthorp family lived in the spacious old farmhouse, and the children, two boys and three girls, shared the responsibility for maintaining and operating the course. The sons functioned as starters, one at the 1st tee, the other at the 10th. The daughters could often be seen on tractors, mowing the fairways.
In late May 1936, the course was the site of a 54-hole stroke-play event called the 2nd P.G.A. Invitation Open (its predecessor had been held at Llanerch the previous year). Since such an event would provide plenty of publicity in the local press for this pay-as-you-play facility, Wes Goldthorp was eager to host it, so much so that he contributed to the prize fund and underwrote the sale of a large quantity of tickets. Though the field consisted principally of Philadelphia and South Jersey professionals and a dozen or so of the best amateurs, a number of the top golfers of the day: Paul Runyon, Craig Wood, Vie Ghezzi, Leo Diegel, and others were also on hand. Ghezzi, playing out of the Deal Golf Club, Deal, New Jersey, won easily with a 214 total. Host club pro Bruce Coltart tied for second with Ed Dudley at 219. Woody Platt captured low amateur honors at 229.
Woodcrest’s original clubhouse had been the Goldthorp family home.
In 1946 a small group of young Camden County business and professional men, led by Robert Galanter, Louis Salsburg, and Carl Auerbach, spoke to Wes Goldthorp about buying the course and turning it into a private club. He declined their proposal. Since the Iron Rock Course, another green fee operation, was available, the group bought it for $100,000. Crest Hollow Country Club was then organized, but its members realized from the outset that the course they had just acquired was a far cry from the outstanding William Flynn layout at Woodcrest. Little more than a year later, Goldthorp was again approached. This time he was receptive, agreeing to a price of $118,750 for his property. So Iron Rock (Crest Hollow) was sold and Woodcrest was bought. And on April 21, 1948, at a general membership meeting, the club voted to change its name from Crest Hollow Country Club to Woodcrest Country Club. Joseph Galanter became the club’s first president, and the first clubhouse was the farmhouse in which the Goldthorp family had lived for almost 20 years.