Golf at Berkshire Hills- Designed by A.W. Tillinghast
Berkshire Hills is the only original A.W. Tillinghast design in Massachusetts.
Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is the only originally designed A.W. Tillinghast golf course in Massachusetts. Our beautifully groomed 18 hole course, our large swimming pool, and spectacular panoramic views in the heart of the Berkshires make BHCC the perfect choice for any individual or family. We also offer year-round dining in our delightful and casual Members Tavern. Our golf course and our first class events space were voted "Best of the Berkshires"in the 2016 Berkshire Eagle Readers Poll.
About Berkshire Hills
The story of Berkshire Hills begins in 1924. With financial backing from influential members of the community and also from the General Electric Company,120 acres of land was purchased on December 22, 1924 for $25,000. World Golf Hall of Fame golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast was hired to design the 18 hole golf course.
Tom Peters was the first golf professional, and Tom Nocker our first greenskeeper. The early membership consisted of 306 founding members. A picturesque and practical clubhouse was quickly completed by 1927.
During the first few years, the game itself could be somewhat difficult as the course remained under construction; but the membership enjoyed what they called "cross-country" golf, passing those holes under construction and playing those nearly completed. Several holes were played twice to ensure an 18 hole round.
Tillinghast completed the 18 hole layout in 1928. The Club grew, strengthened, and improved until the Great Depression when Membership dropped and Club activity diminished. Improvements and capital purchases were practically eliminated. But these hard times knit the membership into a tight loyal group.
In March of 1941, the clubhouse burned to the ground. Seventy-five members joined together and signed obligations to the bank, committing to build a new clubhouse from their own funds if Berkshire Hills defaulted. Incredibly, by mid-summer 1941, a rambling new country style clubhouse was completed. Six months later World War II began and some fifty members of the Club served in the military.
Having weathered that most difficult period, BHCC flourished in the post war years. Lead by good solid management, improvements included new locker rooms, and new modern greens equipment. Additional land was acquired to provide more elbow-room from adjacent housing. Finally, a significant amount of landscaping and course beautification was accomplished. By the mid 1950's, the BHCC was out of debt with all mortgages paid off.
During the 1990's, membership grew to over 500 with a significant waiting list. In 2009, a new Clubhouse was completed containing the Pro Shop, locker rooms, a state of the art kitchen, and what quickly became the leading events space in Berkshire County. The clubhouse is renowned throughout the region for it's incredible surrounding deck and unparalleled views.
Now into it's 9th decade, Tillinghast's Berkshire gem has passed the test of time and appears well positioned for 90 more.......
About Our Architect, A.W. Tillinghast
A.W. Tillinghast, also know as "Tillie", was a leading figure in shaping golf's first 50 years in America. He considered himself to be the "Dean of American Golf Course Architects". His design principals formed the foundation for the development of the modern golf course and fueled the growth in popularity of the sport in North America. Some of his golf courses are Baltusrol, Bethpage Black, Quaker Ridge, San Francisco, Somerset Hills and Winged Foot, to name a few. Tillinghast courses have hosted over 20 major tournaments and Ryder Cups.
For the first 30 years of his life, Tillie engaged in a variety of activities of the well bred, one of which was golf. He frequently traveled to St. Andrews to take lessons from the old great Tom Morris and competed with moderate success in the U.S. Amateur between 1905 and 1915.
In 1907, he laid out his first course, Shawnee-on-Delaware, in Pennsylvania, at the request of a wealthy family friend. Tillie had found his calling and with great pop and panache, laid out and detailed magnificent golf courses during golf's golden age of the 1920's.
Tillie was a prolific writer and speaker and for a timed served as the editor of Golf Illustrated magazine. The Great Depression ruined his chance to create more golf courses and he died in poverty in his daughter's home in Toledo Ohio.
While many of Tillinghast's courses disappeared entirely during the depression or have been severely altered by time, others remain so well distinguished that they are treasures of the game. Tillie's intentions were clearly known as he spoke and wrote his feelings about design. Tillie knew every hole must be unique, yet remain sound and rhythm.
Golf courses cannot be designed by committee. Tillie's eccentric behavior and bombastic way with the wealthy allowed his true talent to shine through. Most of his holes are gorgeously balanced, beautifully bunkered, and yet blended into the whole of the golf course. Tillie's work is to be studied and treasured.
To summarize, Tillinghast wrote, "Produce something which will provide a true test of the game, and then consider every conceivable way to make it as beautiful as possible."
[reference:Golfweb Library & "The Course Beautiful" by A.W. Tillinghast]