KENILWORTH – Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella, KemperSports, and the New Jersey State Golf Association announced that Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth will host the 2016 New Jersey State Open Golf Championship.
This will mark the first time in the tournament’s 91-year history that the New Jersey State Open will be played at a public facility. The New Jersey State Open, which was first played in 1921, is hosted by the New Jersey State Golf Association (NJSGA) and is open to both professional and amateur golfers.
“It is our pleasure and honor to be hosting this prestigious statewide event,” Mirabella said. “This is another example of the public-private partnership we have built that has transformed our golf operations into a state leader.”
Union County Manager Alfred Faella, who helped begin the transformation of Union County’s golf operations as Parks Director several years ago, agreed.
“The event brings great prominence and attention to our golf operations, and will raise awareness and generate business,” Faella said.
In preparation for the upcoming State Open, Union County has contracted world renowned golf course architect Rees Jones, nicknamed “The Open Doctor” for his work on U.S. Open courses such as Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, to update Galloping Hill Golf Course. Jones will make minor adjustments to the golf course design, including improvements to the greens, bunkers and tee boxes.
Designed by Willard Wilkinson, Galloping Hill Golf Course opened in 1928 and represents one of Wilkinson’s original designs. Early in his career, Wilkinson spent time working with legendary golf course architects A.W. Tillinghast and Donald Ross, best known for their work on major championship golf courses, before establishing his own golf course design firm in 1924. Galloping Hill Golf Course has been characterized by its natural terrain of rolling hills and valleys, often referred to as “The Hill”, and has a reputation as one of the most challenging courses in its area. Galloping Hill’s 18-hole par 71 golf course spans 6,717 yards from its championship tees.
In 2009, the County of Union signed a management contract with KemperSports, a leading golf course management company based in Northbrook, Ill., to manage the golf facilities in Union County, N.J. Through its partnership, Union County and KemperSports have established a dramatic multi-million dollar renovation project to Galloping Hill Golf Course which consists of a new 45,000 square-foot clubhouse, TaylorMade Performance Lab, a 50-stall driving range and a 40,000 square-foot practice facility which features chipping greens, putting greens, practice bunkers and a 9-hole practice course.
“We are honored that Galloping Hill Golf Course has been selected to host the New Jersey State Open,” said Steve Skinner, CEO of KemperSports. “Union County is very committed to promoting and improving public golf in New Jersey and the selection of Galloping Hill Golf Course for the 2016 New Jersey State Open is a true testimony to their dedication.”
The New Jersey State Golf Association was founded in 1900 and is the second oldest state golf association in the United States. “With the growth of public golf in recent years, and the popularity of national championships being held at public courses, we felt that we had a tremendous opportunity to work with Galloping Hill in 2016. With the anticipated improvements to the golf course by Rees Jones, and the vision from Union County and KemperSports, we will have a committed team of people to create a memorable and successful championship”, said Steve Foehl, Executive Director of the NJSGA. “The NJSGA is excited about the event.”