The Moon Club-
Alan Shepard's 6 iron used on Apollo 14 mission. (The club is currently traveling on loan)
Bob Jones’s putter –Calamity Jane II, 1925-1930
Regarded as “The Most Famous Golf Club in the World,” Bob Jones used this club to win 10 of his 13 national championship titles, including the Grand Slam in 1930.
All 13 USGA National Championship Trophies
The Hall of Champions (a rotunda), illuminated by a clerestory, houses all 13 original USGA national championship trophies, while the name of every champion is inscribed on bronze panels that encircle the hall.
MacGregor Tourney 4-iron used by President John F. Kennedy, ca. 1960
Unlike most other Presidents, Kennedy took up golf in his teens. Despite recurring back problems, he had a fluid, graceful swing and consistently scored in the high 70s or low 80s.
Champion’s medal won by Horace Rawlins, 1895 U.S. Open
This medal was presented to Horace Rawlins for winning the first U.S. Open at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. It was designed and crafted by John Frick, a noted jeweler located in lower Manhattan who furnished medals for all USGA championships in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The USGA’s beautiful campus is located in the rolling countryside near Far Hills, in Bernards Twp, N.J.
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The United States Golf Association Museum pt2
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Competition for Visitors
For the first 16 years of its existence, the USGA had no formal home to display their collection of golfing memorabilia and artifacts. It forced USGA officials to re-evaluate their approach. The resulting discoveries altered the essence of their museum vision.
Jay Rains, chair of the museum committee since 2004, says officials were surprised to learn only two museums in the world – the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington and The Louvre in Paris – have a positive clash flow on operations (excluding development and charitable contributions).
That confirmed the difficulties of the museum business, in general, and underscored the limitations of golf exhibits, in particular. The original World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, N.C., flourished on rainy days when golfers had nothing better to do but closed after a drought of visitors in 1994.
An updated glossy version opened in 1998 as the centerpiece of the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., and promised – along with an adjoining IMax theater – 500,000 visitors in its first full year. But there haven’t been enough rainy days in the Sunshine State, either. Attendance hasn’t met expectations. More guests still come to watch an IMAX movie than to see special exhibits heralding Hall-of-Famers.
During the search for a new home, a few voices suggested donating the USGA’s collection to the World Golf Hall of Fame, but those considerations were quickly hushed. Says Jerris: “The fact is, Mr. (Bobby) Jones gave us Calamity Jane II and Mr. Hogan willed his memorabilia to the USGA because they wanted us to have (those items) and display them, not to pack them up and send them somewhere else.”
Famous Visitors and
Ties to the Somerset Hills
Percy Pyne - The 3rd Intercollegiate National Champion back in 1899 with the Princeton golf team and long time Bernardsville resident.
Max Behr - Course Architect, Somerset Hills Country Club Champion and Far Hills resident.
Alan Shepard - Astronaut of the Apollo 14 Mission and space golfer
Brian Duffy - Endeavor astronaut and "Shuttle putter".
Arnold Palmer- Golf Legend (see left)
Jack Nicklaus - Golf Legend
Chief Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (First woman on the Supreme Court)
Governor Tom Ridge - (1st US Director of Homeland Security)
New Attraction Honors Local Residents
When the new Pynes Putting Course – named to honor Percy and Evelyn Pyne, who resided on the grounds of the country estate now occupied by Golf House – opened on Sept. 23, 2008, visitors have an opportunity to take golf history into their own hands by using replicas of classic putters, including Bob Jones’ Grand Slam-winning putter, Calamity Jane II, which has been called “the most famous golf club in the world.”
The new putting course provides visitors an opportunity to extend their visit beyond the exhibitions. Inspired by the Himalayas putting course at St. Andrews, visitors can putt with replica antique clubs and balls, as well as modern equipment. Like the Himalayas at St. Andrews, this 16,000-square-foot green includes sizeable humps and swales designed to make the experience challenging and entertaining, as well as educational. See details
Paul Ramina, the director of grounds at nearby Hamilton Farm Golf Club, and Hamilton Farm’s superintendent Pat Husby also offered their services in training the USGA grounds staff on cutting-edge green maintenance practices.
Preserving History is #1
In the end, becoming a tourist attraction became a secondary concern. Preserving history was priority No. 1. That’s not to say traffic and revenue aren’t important. "We're the USGA -- the United States Golf Association. We want to tell the story of American golf, and do it in a way that would appeal to a broad spectrum of people."
So, the USGA decided to kick the Scots to the curb and tell the story of American golf through the lives of those colorful characters who played in the USGA's major championships -- with U.S. history mixed in. Jerris immediately began a scavenger hunt for the 2,000 items to display.
Over three years, he pried open dusty trunks in storage. He contacted the families of the stars of yesteryear and the superstars of today. He begged golf collectors. He bid at auctions. He spent a couple of hours each day scouring eBay, and still does. With an annual budget of $100,000, he is snatching up as much U.S. golf history as he can.
From there, visitors can head to the Test Center to hit a mashie (that's a 5-iron) or the latest Big Bertha and argue whether Nicklaus, when compared to Woods, was hampered by the equipment of his day.
The USGA Museum, located adjacent to USGA headquarters, has been renovated and expanded. The original Museum building was completed in 1919 and designed by noted American architect John Russell Pope. The renovated building features the Ben Hogan Room and Bob Jones Room, together with the addition of a new Arnold Palmer Room.
The Arnold Palmer Center & Renovation 2005-2008
The museum staff spent much of the past three years digging deeply into the vast and extensive archives at its disposal. As a result, the new exhibits feature hundreds of historic photographs, as well as numerous multi-media, audio-visual presentations. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn about the game through entertaining interactive displays located through the exhibition galleries.
The 16,000-square-foot addition, called the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History, features 5,000 square feet of galleries, a research room and state of the art storage areas for the museum's 50,000 artifacts, 30,000 library volumes, more than a half-million photographs and several thousand hours of film.
"I have spent 20 years of my life around this institution, working with these treasures, thinking of the great stories and wondering if there would ever be the chance to transform this place and I think we have done it," Jerris said.
A special thanks goes out to Rand Jerris, Ellie Kaiser, and Nancy Stulack from the USGA Museum for for granting access to the stories, artifacts and the museum.
Rand Jerris, Ph.D.
Rand Jerris has served as Director of the USGA Museum since 2002. A long-time New Jersey resident, Jerris holds a B.A and M.A. from Williams College, and a Ph.D. in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University. Jerris is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the daily operation of the Museum and Archives, as well as the long-term development of the facility and its collections.
Assistant Manager of Photographic Archives
Ellie Kaiser has served as the Photo Editing Coordinator for the USGA Museum since 2006. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Kaiser relocated to New Jersey in 2005. Kaiser graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Art History. She is responsible for all daily requests for images in the collection, and editing onsite during the championship season.
A native of New Jersey, Nancy Stulack joined the USGA staff in 1985, working in the USGA Foundation Department before joining the Museum staff in 1990. She is responsible for the daily operation of the USGA Museum's Research Center, as well as administration of the Library Collection.
USGA Museum Floorplan
Floor Plan of the USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History
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Additional Information and Links
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