Sometime in 1924 Willard Wilkinson approached A.W. Tillinghast to let him know that he wanted to start his own golf course architectural firm. This couldn't have been easy. For many years he had served as vice president of Tillinghast's design firm and together they had built what would become two of the most celebrated courses in America, Winged Foot and Baltusrol. Tillie, as Tillinghast was called, was known for being difficult. Referred to in his day as "Tillie the Terror", he was the spoiled child of a wealthy Philadelphia couple, and spent much of his youth running with a group of local ruffians self-named the Kelly Street Gang. He was opinionated, obstinate, prickly... and extremely talented.
Imagine Tillie and Willie, mentor and protégé, standing on the first tee box, looking out at the course they were creating below them. Behind them stood the large Tudor-Style clubhouse, the historical features of which you can still see today. Tillie would have been wearing his trademark three-piece wool suit and smoking his pipe. Always an architect who liked to make his designs "in the dirt", they would have been creating on the fly... where to put the trap, where to move dirt, how to shape the green. It's often written that Tillie used to "seat himself in the shade of a tree, bottle in hand, and call out directions to his workmen as they shaped the course with their mule pulled scoops."
The owners and Management of Jumping Brook Country Club have spent much time, energy and money over the past few years in reestablishing the bones of the Club... the golf course, Clubhouse and facilities. In 2002 the Club was rewarded for its return to its historic roots by achieving a full Membership of 380 Primary Members. Throughout the year Jumping Brook received high praise, being compared with some of the best clubs in the Monmouth County region. Members and their guests consistently compared Jumping Brook with Spring Lake, Navesink, Shore Oaks and Deal Country Club, to name a few, but one caveat...the size of the Membership.
History astounds us, however, because rather than Tillie showing his protégé the door, he helped him get established. In 1924 Wilkinson, or Willie (believe it or not), entered private practice, aided by his former employer, who generously arranged for him to complete three Tillinghast courses and receive the fees still due on them. One of these courses was Jumping Brook Country Club. While Tillie later did redesign and consulting work for other notable clubs such as Hollywood Country Club and Spring Lake Country Club, Jumping Brook remains the the purest Tillinghast specimen in the New Jersey Shore region.
We at Jumping Brook take immense pride in this rich history and heritage of the Club, a past that was lost for so long. In an age of new construction, modern architectural styles and the High-end-fee craze, we revel in the tradition of golf and the timeless playability and challenge of our Tillie and Willie designed golf course. We enjoy the traditional pursuits of friendly competition, of social camaraderie, of relationships and recreation. Our History is rich and great, and our future is even brighter.
In 2003, Jumping Brook Country Club took yet another step in its progression back to one of the region's most sought after Memberships. The introduction of a 300 Primary Member Cap highlighted our commitment to creating a premiere experience. In addition, we expanded our Member Grille, Tillie & Willie's, and constructed a new stand alone Golf Shop at the Club entrance to add to the Club amenities.