Edgewood Country Club lies on two former pre-Revolutionary War farmsteads that were converted in the late 1800’s to a country manor estate. It was later sold to a farmer-turned-golf architect who turned the land into a 27- hole golf course. A group of investors bought and, ultimately, leased it to a small group of men who sought to play golf in a subdued, family-centered atmosphere.
Edgewood Country Club sits on two farms once owned by Abraham Johannes Blauvelt and Garret Johannes Blauvelt. These wheat and corn farms bordered on Overkill Road (now Rivervale Road), close to the historic Baylor Massacre site. Evidence suggests that one or two of the Blauvelt farms may have quartered patriots serving in Lt. Col. George Baylor’s Third Regiment of Light Dragoons (part of the New Jersey division of the Continental Army).
The Haring family took over both farms in the mid-19th century. Julius Kessler bought the 400-acre Haring farmstead in the late 1800’s and converted it into an estate housing an elegant mansion.
Julius Kessler (born Gulag Kessler) was a larger-than-life whiskey distiller and salesman who chased the American dream. Kessler was born in Budapest in 1856, emigrated to the United States before he turned 20 and traveled to Denver at the time of the Colorado Silver Boom.
Mr. Kessler set out to sell whiskey from his own distilleries to every saloon in Colorado. He used pack mules to haul whiskey over the Colorado Mountains to many silver miners in Leadville, Colorado. He founded Kessler Whiskey Distillery in 1888 and manufactured an American blended whiskey called Kessler Whiskey, advertised “As Smooth as Silk.”(Time Magazine August 26, 1935).
Mr. Kessler retired in 1921 when the Prohibition Act was passed and returned to Vienna with several million dollars and 38,000 cigars that he had bought in Cuba while buying molasses for his whiskey formula.
He returned to the United States in 1933 when prohibition was repealed. Records do not show Mr. Kessler living in the Kessler mansion again, but his wife, Eva, lived there until her death in 1943.
Kessler, his niece, Ilona, and her son George T. Rado Seagram acquired the Distiller’s Securities Corporation known as the Whiskey Trust in 1935. Kessler’s brand of Bourbon is still sold as Kessler Bourbon.
The Kessler Estate, now on the current Edgewood Country Club property, housed a mansion, various buildings, a farm, wooded land and a 70- acre enclosure filled with non-native animals such as elk, large deer, moose, peacocks and unusual birds. Kessler built a pond close to Rivervale Road and stocked it with 100,000 trout. In 1913, an old wooden dam several hundred feet upstream from the pond gave way in a fierce rain storm. Most of the fish were carried through the breech and became part of the fish population of the Hackensack River.
One entered the estate by driving down a long driveway (site of Edgewood Country Club’s present day driveway) bordered by overhanging pines that led to an elegant three-story mansion, once considered to be one of the finest homes in New Jersey.
Alongside the mansion stood a long building housing a full-size bowling alley and a billiards room. Another building called The Bungalow contained a large indoor swimming pool lined with elegant tile which were laid by masons imported from Italy.
An oversized barn also stood on the property (the site of today’s Midway building) containing a large ramp used for automobile and truck access to a large cellar and second floor.
The Conlin family assumed ownership of the Kessler estate in 1940. Benjamin J. Conlin, known as “The Cotton King,” was a stock broker on the Wall Street Cotton Exchange and was married to Dorothy Brady, a daughter of Kessler’s business partner, who may have been Kessler’s niece. The Conlin family lived in the house until March 1948.
John Handwerg, Sr., born in 1896 in Old Tappan, was first a farmer who operated several farms in the area, but like many, lost them in the Great Depression. He secured a Government Reconstruction mortgage in the 1930’s and turned his farm into a golf course, what is now River Vale Country Club. Bob Secor, a Pascack Valley historian, believes John Handwerg, Sr. not only converted his farm into one of the best golf courses in the east but also "put this little farm town of River Vale on the map."
Handwerg’s golf club, the River Vale Country Club, was an unrestricted course and attracted many New York business people and New York celebrities who were unwelcome at other Bergen County courses. Handwerg went on to design at least four other golf courses; one in Spring Valley, New York, (Empire State Golf Course) and three more in New Jersey (Manalapan, Scotch Plains and River Vale), the last of which is the present day Edgewood Country Club.
John Handwerg, Sr. sold The River Vale Country Club Golf Course in the late 1940’s. He purchased the Kessler Estate from the Conlin family in March, 1940 and converted 300 acres to Greenwood Country Club, a portion of which is today’s Edgewood Country Club’s 27- hole golf course.
People in River Vale remembered John, Sr. as a big man, always in work clothes, busy, and driving a big Chrysler. He had a reputation as one who would never ask his workers to do a chore that he wouldn’t do himself. During WWII, when labor was scarce, he worked on the golf course from morning till night preparing it for the next morning’s golfers.
John Handwerg, Jr., also active in the golf course business, bought and converted land on River Vale Road near the Harrington Park border. The course he built, Valley Brook, is still in operation. He and his wife, Beatrice, lived in the Kessler mansion until January 1, 1950, when the house burned down.
The Handwerg families on the Greenwood Country Club property until 1956. However, Greenwood had fallen on hard times. A group of investors called Market Associates bought the Greenwood Country Club in approximately 1956.
At that time, 16 to 25 families mostly drawn from Aldercrest (now Alpine Country Club) and the Greenwood Country Club were involved in forming a new country club that would sit on the Greenwood Country Club grounds.
Greenwood Country Club, owned by the Handwergs, was situated on what is now the Edgewood Country Club property.
With the exception of the Clubhouse, Edgewood Country Club’s configuration was similar to today’s design. The pool area had a large pavilion with a barbeque and picnic tables. The Olympic-size pool was exactly as it is today but unheated. Edgewood Country Club’s present day Midway served as a kitchen. The main dining room was situated in the present-day pro shop with windows overlooking the first hole on the White course.
A decision to build a clubhouse was made during the first year of operation.
In 1984, Edgewood’s Country Club’s lease was converted into a deed. Before then, Edgewood Country Club leased its property from the Market Associates Group at $90,000 a year for a 60-year duration.
Edgewood Country Club's has continued to thrive since its early days. More Har-Tru tennis courts were built with a viewing area. Additions during the early 2000s included, a permanent kiddie pool, a heater for the Olympic-size pool and a playground for children.
Edgewood’s golf course has become a more beautiful, challenging and well-maintained course through the years.
When In Rome. A Word About Club Etiquette.
To make sure all of our club members enjoy the same level of comfort amongst visiting friends and family, we’ve provided some information for guests.
Members, guests, and children are required to wear proper attire at all times when using facilities including the golf courses, putting greens and practice areas, dining and other areas of the clubhouse.
Members are responsible for acquainting their guests and children with these dress code rules. We desire to respect the traditions of the game while remaining attuned to the latest fashions and trends. If a member is unsure as to appropriate attire, please contact the Golf Shop prior to arriving.
Should a member, dependent, or guest wear attire deemed inappropriate, the Golf Staff may refuse that person the privilege to play or use the practice facilities. Below please find guidelines for golf attire:
- Standard Golf Slacks
- Shorts No More Than 3" Above the Top of the knee Or 2” Below the Knee
- Golf Shirts with a Collar
- Mock Turtlenecks
- Tank Tops
- Tennis Shorts
- Athletic Shorts
- Jeans, Jeans-Style Pants or Jeans-Style Shorts In Any Color
- Bathing Suits
- Crew Neck Shirts
- Golf Shirts Worn Outside Pants
- Cargo Pants/Shorts
- Standard Golf Slacks, Skorts and Shorts
- Sleeveless Golf Shirts
- Stylish Crew Neck Shirts
- Tank Tops
- Tennis Shorts or Skirts
- Athletic Shorts
- Jeans, Jeans-Style Pants, Jeans-Style Shorts, Jeans-Style Skirts or Jeans Shirts in any Color
- Bathing Suits
- Exercise Tights by themselves
- Cargo Pants/Shorts
Hats / Visors
Members (and guests) are not permitted to wear hats or caps turned backwards and may not wear hats or any other clothing bearing a symbol or language of an offensive or profane nature.
Please wear acceptable shoes at all times that are smooth, soft rubber-soled or golf shoes. Tennis shoes are allowed. Large rubber spikes or field shoes are not permitted. Metal spikes are strictly prohibited.
Cell Phone Policy
Please use cell phones discreetly. At all times and in all parts of the Club, including the Midway, Clubhouse, Golf Course and Pool and Tennis Area, please set all ringers on cellular telephones to silent or vibrate only. At all times and in all parts of the Club, we request that members and their guests be courteous and discreet when having cellular phone conversations, especially when near the tee boxes of 1 Red and 8 White and at any time members/guests are dining on a patio (Clubhouse or Midway).
Voice conversations are permitted but must be limited to short messages of importance. Please do not speak at a volume that might disturb anyone in your group or on adjacent holes. Please make sure that communications are brief and do not cause any delay in pace of play.
Pool and Tennis
Voice conversations are permitted. Please be courteous to those around you.
Consistent with applicable law, we prohibit smoking anywhere in the Main Clubhouse, Bag Room, Pro Shops, Midway including Midway Patio when lunch or dinner is served, Restrooms on the golf course and at the Pool, Tennis Pro Shop, and Snack Bar. Cigarettes shall not be sold at the club. Cigars are available in the Golf Pro shop and at the bar.
Business Center Wi-Fi
We provide wi-fi throughout the property with no passwords required.
Our locker rooms are available for your use. We ask that you change your shoes in the locker rooms. Our full-time staff will assist you with a locker for the day and show you where all of the necessary amenities are. They are happy to clean your shoes following your round of golf or tennis.
- Construction moves ahead at Edgewood Country Club - NJ.com
- Show Me The Menu! - BC Magazine
- Madeline Jin Shoots 68, Wins 62nd Junior Girls Championship - NJSA.org
- Play for P.I.N.K Holds Annual Golf and Tennis Outing at Edgewood Country Club - BC Magazine
- Country Club Names New Executive Chef, VP of Sales - Pasack Valley Community Life
- Golf Club Sees Renovations Under New Ownership - Pasack Valley Community Life
- The First Time (Times Two) - The Met Golfer
- Reinventing Edgewood CC, New Owners Vow to Make Club Even Better