The ghost of Baltusrol Golf Club: Baltus Roll, his murder and the legend

baltus-roll-grave-tombstone

Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., site of the 2016 PGA Championship, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a murdered man who is, effectively, the namesake of the club.

Baltus Roll farmed the land on which the club now sits, in the shadow of the Baltusrol (First) mountain, which is really just a big hill. His family had immigrated to the United States and had maintained the farm with oxen over the years, leading some in the area to believe the Roll family was wealthy. Convinced of this, two men, identified as Peter B. Davis and Lycidias Baldwin, went to Roll’s home on the Baltusrol mountain on Feb. 22, 1831, to try to get him to share the location of his fortune. Roll, 62 at the time, was tied up by the criminals and beaten after refusing to cooperate. His wife escaped, but when she returned with help, the men had left and Roll was dead in an icy pool of water.

“We were awaken [sic] at about midnight by a loud pounding on the door, and then the door burst open and two men came in and dragged my husband out of bed, punched and beat him, and took him out of the house,” Roll’s wife testified at the time. “They seemed to ignore me, but I could see the face of the larger man – a full face with large whiskers and light blue eyes. I watched them tie my husband and choke him and throw him on the ground, and not knowing what to do, I hid myself in the woods and wandered about until daylight. Then I went for help to a neighbor’s house.”

No one was ever convicted of the crime. Baldwin went to a tavern in Morristown and apparently overdosed on a narcotic. Davis was tried but not convicted because a number of pieces of circumstantial evidence were declared inadmissible. Davis eventually went to prison on a forgery charge and died in Trenton State Prison.baltus-roll-grave-tombstone

Roll is buried nearby, with a tombstone that reads:

IN
MEMORY
OF
BOLTUS ROLL
WHO
WAS MURDERED FEB. 22
1831
IN THE 62 YEAR OF HIS AGE

And at the bottom of the tombstone, there’s a poem:

Ye friends that weep around my grave
Compose your minds to rest
Prepare with me for sudden death
And live forever blest

Fast forward 60 years, and that’s when New York Social Register publisher Louis Keller bought the land that is now Baltusrol. The club was announced on Oct. 19, 1895, with the club’s original nine-hole design opening that year. The George Hunter-designed Old Course, which no longer exists, was made into an 18-hole course in 1898. The club now has Upper and Lower courses, both of which have hosted major championships, that were originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast.

Yorkshire golf club becomes victim of huge bank fraud

By Emma Williams  July 15, 2016 11:42

Hull Golf Club in Yorkshire (designed by the famous James Braid), has become the victim of what is thought to be, financially, the biggest bank fraud to have hit the golf industry ever.ScreenHunter_1286 Jul. 21 17.00

The club’s account has had nearly £300,000 taken out by fraudsters and a spokesman has admitted the club is unlikely to get most of it back.

According to the Hull Daily Mail, the scam took place at the end of May. The police have been called in, an investigation has been launched by Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, and the club’s members have been notified. Much of the money came from their £1,000-a-year subscription fees.

While it is not clear exactly what happened a security expert has warned all golf club employees not to disclose account details and passwords over the phone, as fraudsters are constantly trying to trick people into revealing information.

In a letter to members, club chairman John Jackson says “with profound regret” he has to report that “a sum approaching £300,000 was removed from the club’s bank account.”

He goes on to say “a partial although small” amount of money may be recovered, but it is likely the “scam fraudsters” will escape with the bulk of the cash.

The club says its own “governance and internal controls” will be investigated.

Independent experts said the crime had all the hallmarks of a “targeted attack” on the golf club.

John McDowell, managing director of Encription, a digital security company, said: “Sports clubs make ideal targets. It sounds as though this was a targeted attack, and I say that because most large organisations have already been attacked, and so have taken the necessary precautions to protect themselves.

“They are therefore much, much harder to hit, and it has forced hackers to go for the low-lying fruit, as it were – the golf clubs and small businesses.

“The biggest weakness is people. “People like to be helpful and scammers exploit that.

“They will phone businesses, as well as individuals, saying they’re from the bank and could they have account numbers and passwords.”

The impact on subscriptions at the club is not yet known.

The club, which currently has a nine-month waiting list to join, was founded in 1904. It is popular with high-profile businesspeople and has counted Hull City footballers among its 800 members.

In a statement, Hull Golf Club said: “It appears that we have suffered at the hands of very cleverly organised scam fraudsters. We are cooperating fully with the Action Fraud. Despite this setback, the club is able to continue to provide normal services to members and visitors. Our members and staff have been informed.”