Scotch Hills Country Club Hosts John Shippen Youth Academy Tournament

John Shippen was the first American golf pro. He spent many years at the Shady Rest, America's first black-owned golf course in Scotch Plains. (It is now known as Scotch Hills).
Young participants in the 2015 John Shippen Golf Tournament in Scotch Plains. Credits: Courtesy of Joann Glover

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – The 9th Annual John Shippen Youth Golf Academy Tournament was held on Saturday, August 8. 

The John Shippen Memorial Golf Foundation was established to commemorate the Shady Rest Golf and Country Club (now known as the Scotch Hills) and John Matthew Shippen, the first America's first golf pro. From 1931 to 1964, he stood as Shady Rest’s greens keeper and head professional.

The foundation sponsors the John Shippen Youth Golf Academy, providing funds for the academy’s amateurs to participate in local youth golf tournaments, as well as awarding scholarships to minority high school students who demonstrate a passion for golf and academic achievements.

Sign Up for E-News

John Matthew Shippen, Jr. (1879-1968) was born the fourth of nine children of John, Sr., and Eliza Spotswood Shippen on Dec. 12, 1879, in Washington, DC. 

Shippen's father was a Presbyterian minister and pastor of a church on the Shinnecock Indian reservation in Southampton, New York. Around that time, Scotsman Willie Dunn bought 80 acres in the area to build a golf course, Shinnecock Hills, that opened for play in 1894. Under Dunn's watchful eye, John Shippen became a caddy and an accomplished golfer who gave lessons to some of the club members by the age of 16.

In 1896, he was encouraged to enter the second U.S. Open, scheduled at Shinnecock, along with the English and Scottish golf pros. Several of the European professionals confronted USGA president Theodore Havemeyer and threatened to withdraw if Shippen played.

Considering the times, Havemeyer’s response was enlightened. He informed the protestors that the tournament would be played as scheduled -- with or without them. Everyone arrived for their assigned tee times when the Open started the next morning. Shippen shot a 78 in the first round, tying him for first. In the second round Shippen he shot an 11 on hole number 13, thereby ending any chance for the trophy. He finished in 5th place and won a $10 prize.

After Shippen in 1913, no African-Americans played in the U.S. Open again until Ted Rhodes in 1948, when a suit was filed against the PGA for its “Caucasians-only clause.” In 1961, the “Caucasians-only clause” was finally eliminated from the PGA’s bylaws. In 2009, the PGA of America bestowed posthumous membership upon three African American golf pioneers -- John Shippen, Ted Rhodes, and Bill Spiller -- who were denied the opportunity to become PGA members during their pro careers.

John Shippen played in the U.S. Open six times, and his best finish was in 1902 when he again finished fifth. He later worked for the National Capital Golf Club, a black club in Maryland. In 1924, he came to Scotch Plains and became the golf pro at The Shady Rest Golf and Country Club, the first such club owned by African Americans. He remained there until his retirement in 1960. He died in 1968.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield Family Continues ‘Summer of Kindness’ with Infant Clothing Drive

July 12, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield mom and teacher Sara Liptack is continuing her family’s “Summer of Kindess” with an infant clothing for Furniture Assist, an organization in Springfield that helps formerly homeless people, veterans, the elderly, fire victims, refugees and people fleeing domestic violence.

“I said, ‘What’s the one thing you really ...

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You


Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

What Is Your Bottom Line?

This week's Parshah (Torah reading) is the Parshah of Pinchas the Zealot: the courageous young priest who stood up against idolatry and immorality and, in the end, saved Israel from a devastating plague.

While Pinchas' radical response made him a hero worthy of having a Torah section named after him, we wouldn't necessarily suggest to our children ...

Affordable Housing Hearing In Trenton Needs Your Voice

July 16, 2018

Dear Editor:

Recently Mayor Al Smith of Scotch Plains joined the chorus of ordinary suburban New Jersey voices  who are deeply concerned about NJ overdevelopment in the guise of affordable housing.  Prominent names like Asm. Jon Bramnick, Asw. Holly Schepisi and NJ101.5 radio host Bill Spadea have also expressed concern. 

Unfortunately, I ...

When to Dial 911: Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month

July 10, 2018

There are many times you should call 911. If you or someone around you is in true medical distress, such as experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, bleeding, possible stroke, or any other serious health issues, then 911 should be called as soon as possible. If there are wires down, fire, a crime in progress, or other dangerous conditions to people or property, call 911 ...

Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Encourages Family Fun with Online Fishing Tournament

July 16, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is asking families to cast their lines and reel in some quality time this summer as part of the fourth annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs Online NJ Family Fishing Tournament.

The competition will be held from July 27 to August 5 as a way to encourage families to enjoy a day of fishing, while giving ...