Bowling Green Golf Club will mark its 45th Anniversary on Memorial Day weekend. The Riggs family, and its dedicated staff, have remained focused on its mission to deliver a traditional golf experience since they opened the course in 1967. In doing so, they have become the golf course of choice for increasing numbers of north Jersey golfers, and developed a following from Manhattan. Staying true to the game, and making serving guests the number one priority, has been the driving force for success over the years.
In the mid-1960s, Albert Riggs (91), turned his dairy farm, into a family-friendly, pine tree-lined fairway. With family members June and Jerre Riggs, and George Salmon; he engaged renowned architect, the recently deceased, Geoffrey Cornishto design a golf course that would be scenic and challenging while fitting into the existing landscape adjacent to Bowling Green Mountain. On Memorial Day, 1967, Riggs opened the golf course and invited guests to play golf in a relaxed country atmosphere.
“Reflecting on nearly a half-century of welcoming golfers, their families, and the young high-school golfers who have honored us with their patronage, loyalty and friendship, I am struck by how quickly the time has passed when you are having fun and how the true essence of golf remains unchanged while so many other changes have evolved in the world around us,” Albert Riggs, noted fondly. “It is a sheer joy to know that thousands of golfers have made Bowling Green, in what was once considered remote North Jersey, their golf home.”
45th Anniversary, 175 Year History
The land has been in the Riggs family for over 175 years and is still family owned. Today, Bowling Green is operated by Wil Riggs, grandson of founder Albert Riggs, and Thom Bishop, Director of Golf, who has been with Bowling Green for so many years he’s a member of the family. Albert Riggs, Bowling Green’s founder, still lives in the home he was born in across the street from the golf course. Evidence of the past is also still visible just beyond the fifth green where the barn resides which now serves as the golf course’s maintenance building. From the onset, creating a family-friendly environment was important to the Riggs family and soon thereafter Bowling Green gained a reputation for its inviting narrow, pine tree lined fairways as a golf destination.
“We are excited to be sharing this landmark year with our customers and kick off what we expect to be another great 45 years,” said Wil Riggs. “We couldn’t have gotten here without them!”
To celebrate we are conducting a random drawing through May 31st giving away forty-five free 18-hole rounds of golf to be enjoyed this season. It is open to New Jersey residents who are non-members/there is no purchase necessary, no blackout dates and it’s simple to enter the sweepstakes on the Bowling Green website, in person at Bowling Green Golf Club or at the Willowbrook Golf Center. Members can enjoy rounds of golf for $45 on Memorial Day weekend.
Today everyone on the Bowling Green staff remains committed to making sure our guests have a wonderful experience and enjoy a pace of play that’s sensible without feeling hurried, which for most people means a four-hour round. Local companies and charities enjoy the casual setting for their fund raisers and outings. Jefferson Township and West Milford Township high school golf teams hone their skills and play their tournaments here. Foursomes have gathered here for decades to share golf, stories and friendship, and local residents have supported us and enjoyed our quiet yet community-minded existence. Those who wish to improve their game enjoy golf lessons from George Heslin, a seasoned golf professional with over 20 years of experience.
About Bowling Green Golf Club
Bowling Green Golf Clubis a family-owned, semi-private golf course located at 53 School House Road, Oak Ridge, New Jersey, 07438, 973-697-8688, www.bowlinggreengolf.com. It is frequented by North Jersey golfers from Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Sussex and Essex counties, as well as guests from Manhattan. The Grill Room at Bowling Green is open year-round. Book a Tee Time, and to follow or latest news and announcements subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter.
Family photo of owners available upon request.
Milestones during our 45 years have included:
· Course opens 1967 Memorial Day with 9 holes and a snack bar!
· In 1968, Andy Gray, became our first golf pro. He is followed over the years by Lew Bullock, Tom Staples, John Klocksin and our current pro George Heslin.
The 70s era had the additions of a cocktail lounge and electric golf carts (remember single carts?).
· In 1983, the development of the Fairways townhome community bordering the course prompted the reconfiguration of the 4th and 11th holes.
· Also in the early 80s cart paths were built linking tees to green allowing the use of electric carts when the course is wet. A full restaurant replaced the snack bar; and the purchase of the first hydraulic fairway mower replaced g mowers pulled by a tractor to allow for a lower cut on the fairways, and country club like conditions.
· In the late 80s, new forward tees were added, recognizing the need for a playing distance friendlier to women and beginners.
· In the early 90s, Bowling Green experienced peak years for rounds played (and golf as an industry) and competition from new courses increases.
· In early 2000s, a computerized and automated irrigation system is installed to replace the manual system. Several new championship tees were added to lengthen the course to 6863 yards, reflecting the advent of outsized drivers and long hitting tour players
· In 2006, restoration of the course to its original vision begins with oversight by original architect Geoff Cornish (age 85!)
· In 2012, we are celebrating our 45th anniversary, with completion of 56 bunker renovations, ongoing selective tree thinning to maintain fairway corridors, installation of over 150 new fairway drains, a dogwood planting project commences to restore their numbers to former glory.