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BALTUSROL GOLF CLUB

WHEN HISTORY DEFINES THE FUTURE: EXPERIENTIAL DESIGN AND INTERACTIVE MEDIA MODERNIZE STORIED GOLF CLUB

The story of American championship golf has run through Baltusrol Golf Club since 1901. Home to 17 major and amateur championships, Baltusrol's lower course was recently restored by renowned American architect Gil Hanse, while the historic clubhouse evolved its use program and storytelling through the work of the Experiential Design Firm ZEBRADOG.

Club management approached the studio with no shortage of stories to be told. It was critical the delivery be timeless and on-brand. ZEBRADOG experiential designers honored the rich heritage of this storied club by re-imagining the existing caddy master room, renaming it to the Scoring Room, and then creating a one-of-a-kind immersive interactive media installation in the new Media Lounge featuring Baltusrol’s founders, past champions, history, and in-depth exploration of each hole. The design and development of a robust content management system make it easy to celebrate club milestones in real-time, setting the stage for an unforgettable Baltusrol experience.

“Once [ZEBRADOG] started working with us and showing us what we could be we couldn’t wait for the final product,” said Baltusrol General Manager Kevin Vitale. “And the final product was just spectacular.”

Game-Changing Interactive Media Experience

Golf Historian David Normoyle believes the primary design direction from club members at any classic golf club is to “make it timeless” but in order to get to timeless you have to make a pit stop at timely. ZEBRADOG’s interactive media design and development do exactly that by introducing an immersive interactive media experience to the men’s locker room.

Members and guests can’t resist diving into the club’s history, championships, legendary players, or for a preview of the infamous dual courses designed by A.W. Tillinghast, one of only four golf course properties in the country to be named a National Historic Landmark.

Baltusrol club managers embraced this easy-to-use content management system (CMS) to wrangle the club’s stories and events into one engaging digital experience. It’s yet another way Baltusrol is leading American championship golf clubs by innovating to educate and entertain members young and old.

Scoring Room Experience Soars

Placemaking is more than a trophy case display, and the new Scoring Room at Baltusrol Golf Club was an area the club struggled to develop. ZEBRADOG’s attention to detail and fastidious adherence to what defines the Baltusrol brand transformed an underutilized caddy master room into a must-visit hallowed place commemorating the numerous tournaments and legends hosted over the years.

ZEBRADOG’s experiential graphic designers weave stories utilizing a variety of textures and photographic designs. A gold-leaf handpainted ledger of every club championship rims the top of the room’s millwork. Illustrated player exhibits ensconced in rich wood celebrate each player, share their unique story, and showcase a player-signed scorecard detailing their historic achievement. The showstopper is a framed one-of-a-kind illustrated map of A.W. Tillinghast’s magnificent 36-hole dual courses flanked by gleaming P.G.A. and U.S. OPEN trophies.

ZEBRADOG Founder Mark Schmitz observes, “The transformation of this room, in particular, is spectacular. We knew the stories that needed to be featured and found a signature way to do so in a very small space.”

No visit to Baltusrol is complete without selecting a scorecard to tally and commemorate the day’s round of golf. ZEBRADOG redesigned the presentation and club scorecard to reflect the recent restoration of the lower course. The project, overseen by renowned architect Gil Hanse, restores myriad features of the original A.W. Tillinghast design that are sure to challenge members and visitors.

A Place That Sets Standards & Leads

Baltusrol Golf Club is a special place. It was mission-critical that ZEBRADOG’s experiential designers create spaces that feel timeless. A rigorous field study was conducted of the club and grounds to audit the existing wayfinding and seek out branding opportunities. Close attention was also paid to subtle but profound details such as the club’s typography.

The resulting font recommendations inspired by the 1920s lend a historic feel to signage. Newly-fabricated wayfinding elements incorporate bronze, stone, and stained glass accents to elevate materials and deliver a more intuitive guided experience for members and guests to navigate throughout Baltusrol.

As a result, club managers remark that the environments and experiences feel like they have been around since the clubhouse was built 100 years ago and immediately make visitors understand why this place is special.