Plainfield Country Club was founded in 1890, but was transformed when redesigned by Donald Ross in 1921.
Gil Hanse was engaged in 2000 to create a Master Plan for the club, and has gone on to make significant changes to the course.
Hanse had the use of Donald Ross's original drawings and photos from 1930.
It has been a long term project, but over the years he has reinvented the course.
A lot of the work went into the placement of bunkers and the standard of the greens, bringing Donald Ross to modern age championship golf.
But the biggest change was the removal of approximately 1200 trees from the course, opening up majestic views in all directions.
Plainfield CC is also known as the birthplace of the USGA handicap system- designed by member Leighton Calkins in 1904
Plainfield Country Club has hosted a number of National Championships over the years:
- the 1978 USGA Amateur (won by John Cook)
- the 1987 USGA Women's Open (Laura Davies)
- the 2011 Barclays (Dustin Johnson)
- the 2015 Barclays (Jason Day)
- the 2017 Junior President's Cup (Team USA)
The club has also hosted numerous regional and state championships
Plainfield Country Club was a really nice surprise.
Our trip had been in the planning pre COVID, so it was a long time coming to fruition.
We had 16 days playing some of the better private courses on the East Coast.
We knew Plainfield was held in high regard, but nevertheless held a lower profile compared to some others we visited.
Clearly the work done by Gill Hanse in recent years has had an impact.
The course was in wonderful condition when we visited in May 2023.
The first thing that struck me was the views of the course from all angles.
Hanse took out a lot of trees, giving each hole wonderful settings looking out over the course.
I liked the wider fairways which opened up different angles into the greens.
There are some really interesting greens here- the raised and slippery green on the par 3 eleventh hole is perhaps the most memorable with a convoluted green and a sharp fall off at the front.
It requires a very good shot to hit the green and stay on- but that is just the start of the story..
A putt from the heart of the green to a front pin can be quite the adventure!
Plainfield is a championship course which is neverthless playable and enjoyable for all level of player.
Surely that is good design?
Notable holes include:
- Hole 3, a pretty mid length par 3 over water
- Hole 4, a short par to an elevated green- it’s not an easy green to hit!
- hole 6, a neat par 3 surrounded by sand
- hole 9, an uphill par 4 to a green in front of the clubhouse (see pic mid page).
- hole 11, a short par 3 with a very severe raised green
- hole 12, a lovely par 5 with a diagonal burn winding across in front of the green (see pic mid page)
- hole 13, a long and testing par 4 with water to carry on the approach
- hole 14, another pretty par 3 over water
- hole 17, a long uphill par 4 to a raised green protected by a number of deep pot bunkers
- hole 18, a dramatic finishing hole, a sharp dogleg uphill to a topsy turvy green. Big hitters who take on the corner have a number of deep bunkers to negotiate en route to the elevated target green.
Plainfield CC would be a great place to be a member.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to suit your group.
For suggested destinations see: Golf Destinations- USA
For further information on a tailored golf trip please enquire here: