NEW YORK CITY -- Add another jewel from golf's "Golden Age" to the list of outstanding golf courses in metropolitan New York. The two-year-long restoration and renovation of Paramount Country Club—originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast and restored by Jim Urbina—is finished.
"The course is fantastic," says head golf professional Steve Scott. "Jim has created a modern version of years past."
Originally designed in 1920 (and known for years as Dellwood Country Club), the course at Paramount is rich in history. Tillinghast—whose other work in the Met area includes Winged Foot, Bethpage, and Baltusrol—was hired by movie mogul Adolph Zukor, the founder of Paramount Pictures, to lay out a course on his private retreat in Rockland County, less than 30 miles from Manhattan. It was where Zukor entertained stars of Broadway and the silver screen, on a course that spread across rolling terrain high above the Hudson River and featured expansive views of forest, mountain, and valley.
"Tillinghast talked about those views," explains Urbina, who has become a leading restorer of legendary courses. "In his book 'The Course Beautiful'—which I used as my 'playbook' for Paramount—Tillie said that courses should offer people coming from the city the chance to get into nature, see the wonderful views, and enjoy the outdoors. To do that, the course should be simple, not busy, a place to get away into the open air. Paramount delivers that."
Referring to Tillinghast's plans and old photographs, Urbina worked on every hole at Paramount. He brought back the flashed-up, organically shaped bunkers Tillinghast was famous for, while also enlarging greens that had shrunk over the years. Numerous trees were removed, as were stretches of cart path, all part of the plan to restore the wide vistas.
"When I first came up two years ago, I knew it was all here," says Urbina. "But you had to peek around trees to see it. Now Paramount is back in the spirit of Tillinghast."
Many of golf's sharpest critics agree. On the influential website Golf Club Atlas (goflclubatlas.com), comments filed as the work progressed include, "What a phenomenal restoration job!" and "certain hidden gem status." Members of Golf Club Atlas will experience the finished product in a special outing on July 2, one day after Paramount hosts qualifying for the Met Amateur, one of the most prestigious events in the Metropolitan area.
And next year, Paramount will host local qualifying for the U.S. Open, in May.
The "new" course has attracted the attention of local golfers, as well. Since work began, Paramount has signed 77 new members, who also enjoy significant improvements to the clubhouse, public areas, tennis courts, pool, member's cottage, and other areas indoors and out. Millions have been invested by the private family, which assumed ownership in 2009 and immediately committed to making Paramount one of the region's premier private clubs.
"Early on, I asked if they understood the historic significance of this golf course," says Urbina. "They absolutely did and wanted to bring it back to Tillinghast's original concept.
"As a result, the course is more open, more playable, and more fun. That's the foundation, the artistry and the genius of Tillinghast. Now everyone can see it and experience it."
For further information about Paramount Country Club, access the web site at www.paramountcountryclub.com or contact membership director Kyla Basso at 845/634-4626.
Hunter Public Relations - East