History of Peddie Golf Course
The grounds for the Peddie Golf Course were originally the 44-acre farm of Walter C. Black. In 1876, Joseph Black started Village Nurseries, a business continually run by the Black family even through the year 2000. Walter C. Black (Peddie Graduate 1886) was an avid athlete and became a golfer at age 60. He served on the local board of education for 54 years, was Peddie School Treasurer for 31 years and in 1961, the New York Herald Tribune lauded Black as the nation’s oldest tax collector at age 94, having served East Windsor in that position for 59 years. He played golf until he was 90, shooting and breaking his age often.
Black’s daughter, Nettie, married local insurance agent C. Stanley Stults, also an avid golfer. Stults, with his father-in-law, and many local businessmen laid out the original 9 hole course in 1923 on Black’s nursery around the Christmas tree farm, orchards, and nursery stock. When the depression hit in 1929, the local businessmen could no longer afford its upkeep and taxes. The course was “sold” to Peddie for $1.00 in exchange for life rights for Walter and his wife Sarah to remain in their house and their children to use the course.
Some of the original members funding the building of the 9 holes were: J. S. Frelinghuysen, W. H. Thompson, Arthur Burroughs, Grover Fields, Harry Field, A. B. Hunt, J.A. Priory, C.L. Shangle, E.D. Silvers, C. Stanley Stults, Arthur Thompson, Reginald Thompson, and Herbert Davison. They each paid from $500 to $5,000.
The original 9 holes remained substantially the same until 1952 when it was expanded to 18 holes utilizing the remaining acreage of the nursery and the adjacent land of William Thompson. Golf course superintendent and Professional Burtis Parker laid out the remaining 9 holes. He did so saving many of the unique species of trees that were on the nursery, many of which remain today including maples, spruce, pine, oaks, elms, chestnuts, apples, magnolias, tulip and the original Christmas tree farm, the first in NJ.
Eight of the current greens are from the original 9 holes. In the 1960s and 70s, under the leadership of Harry McQueen, PGA, and former caddie and assistant to Burtis Parker, many of the tees were expanded and 3 holes were modified to accommodate an enlarged parking lot and a new clubhouse. In 1984 irrigation was added to the course partially due to donations from the Stults family, descendants of Walter C. Black. More recent donations from the family were used to expand and improve the clubhouse.
Today Charles S. Stults, Jr., Charles “Cappy” Stults (grandson and great-grandson of Walter C. Black), and Robert Pierce (grandson of original member C.L. Shangle) remain active members of this 80 year old course.
Narrow fairways, small greens and formidable trees, make Peddie Golf Course a challenge for the best of golfers. Its relatively short length keeps older golfers in the game while well designed doglegs and par 5s keep the big hitters on their toes. This par 72 course has an unusual combination of 5 par 3s and 5 par 5s and although the par 3s are short, few golfers are able to take advantage of them. The length and layout of the par 5s make it difficult to make up strokes here as well.