Congressional head pro Bob Benning calls Plainfield Country Club, host of the U.S. Amateur. "The undiscovered jewel of the Northeast."
Benning was head man for nine years at this course, 6,875 yards of rolling hills and undulating greens, an hour's drive Southwest of New York City.
level lies are hard to come by on this exacting, position layout some say was designed by famous architect Donald Ross, others by the devil.
The well-known New Jersey courses are Baltusrol which will host the U.S. Open in 1980 for the sixth time, Pine Valley near Philadelphia, and Ridgewood, which hosted this tournament for Jerry Pate's vcitory in 1974.
This is Plainfield's first shot at hosting a major championship and folks around here say it is about time.
"It's an unsung golf course," said John Buczek, who succeeded Benning here. "It's been a great course for years. It gives us a good chance to let people around the country and world know about it."
Benning told of P.J. Bestwright and other USGA representatives taking the half hour drive from Golf House in Far Hills, N.J., to see what alterations would have to be made to Plainfield to bring it up to spit-and-polish qualifications for a major. Benning said their finding was, "It's ready now."
"The key to this golf course is to keep the ball in the fairway," said Buczek. That is especially true this rainy week because when USGA rough gets wet, it becomes tentacle-like.
Buczek added that because the saucer-like greens undulate so severely, good position is mandatory for any kind of aggressive putting.
"I've been teeling the players that have asked me, 'you never want to hit it over these greens because they slant so much from back to front.'"
Previously, the biggest events at this course called by late greats Lawson Little and Walter Hagon one of the best they ever play, were the New Jersey Open and Amateur, and the Metropolitan Open, for New York-area players.
Former PGA champion-turned golf announcer Dave Marr played in The Met at Plainfield in 1957. "I thought I played all right, but I shot over 300. It was so high, I can't remember what I shot."
Former University of Maryland star Billy Ziobro, who was on the PGA tour for four years, scored a memorable, comeback victory to win the New Jersey Amateur at Plainfield in 1970.
Ziobro played the final 18 holes in seven under par, coming from 6 down to beat Jeff Alpert. "I not only beat a tough opponent, but I beat as tough a golf [WORD ILLEGIBLE] as I've ever played."
Ziobro, who recently took the head pro job at [WORD ILLEGIBLE] in southern New Jersey, won every major amateur and pro title in this state.