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Essex Fells Country Club is a private club established in 1896. Our family Club is dedicated to providing the membership with a wide range of sporting endeavors and social activities. The Club’s facilities include:
  • 18-hole golf course
  • designated Driving Range (built in 2017)
  • two short-game areas
  • two practice putting greens
  • Clubhouse, Locker Rooms, Distinct Dining
  • Heated Pool, Kiddie Pool, and Pool House,
  • 4 Har-Tru tennis courts
  • 2 hard surface tennis courts
  • Paddle Hut and four platform tennis courts

Learn more about the Women's Association


In 1896, a small group of Essex Fells golf enthusiasts, led by Charles Leaycraft and Ross Weir, joined together to play a rough layout of nine holes along Roseland Avenue.  Soon they tired of the rudimentary course and hired Alex Findlay to design a new course of nine holes that stretched to 1,810 yards.  The new layout spurred enthusiasm and generated momentum enabling the Club to grow to 22 members when it decided to formally incorporate as the Essex Fells Golf Club on July 24, 1900.   Annual dues were $20.

Although the Club prospered during the early twentieth century, it became apparent that a new location was necessary for its survival as much of the land containing the golf links had been lent by neighbors – and -- they wanted it back.  Member Walter Brown was dispatched to approach the Drexel Estate about leasing a vast tract of land “up on the hill”.  The Drexel Estate was owned by Philadelphia financier Anthony Drexel who, in 1889, purchased for housing development the plot of land that is now the Borough of Essex Fells.  Mr. Brown was successful in his negotiations and by 1913 the Club had a new home.

A full eighteen holes opened for play in 1916.  The designer behind the original 5,430 yard, par 70 test of golf is to this day unknown.  The first tee was located near the intersection of Oldchester Road and Oval Road and the first and eighteenth holes played over what is now Devon Road.  A new Clubhouse, designed by C. Barton Keen and built by Milton Young opened shortly afterward on New Year’s Eve in 1917.  The Club still occupies the building.
In the 1920’s, renowned golf course architect Seth Raynor was hired to design a major renovation and re-routing of the course.  It was stretched to 6,144 yards and the holes that crossed Devon Road were eliminated.  Once completed, this “new” eighteen blossomed into the golf course Essex Fells Members recognize today.

The decades that followed brought many highs and lows, great golfing success for many, and enjoyment and revelry for all.  The Club continued to expand and develop over the years, always moving forward and looking to the future.  In 1955, Essex Fells became a true country club with the addition of the swimming pool.  Platform tennis, that unusual sport also known as paddle, made its debut in 1965 and seven years later tennis courts were added.  Today our advancements continue in the form of our short game practice facility and our indoor golf learning center, outfitted with all the modern technology.

The stories are too many to detail here but one unique story bears telling.  Sometime In the 1930’s, a golfing custom, albeit one not sanctioned by the United States Golf Association, was born on our first tee.  It seems the practice of awarding a “mulligan” on the first hole of play originated at Essex Fells Country Club.  Click here for the full story of How the Mulligan Came To Be

For's investigative report on the story of the mulligan, please click here.

Our history is deep and long.  We are working on our second century as a Club, but if you wish to learn in greater detail the history of our first century we refer you to Up on the Hill: A History of Essex Fells Country Club, authored by Marty Parkes in 1996.  Members may contact the Club office for information on how to obtain a copy.