A Property History
Fiddler's Elbow Country Club has emerged from a successful evolution as a long time corporate club, catering exclusively to movers and shakers in the state, to a blended or hybrid club where families, individuals and business people co-exist in a lifestyle like no other.
The beautiful property is divided between Somerset and Hunterdon Counties by the winding and twisting waters of the Lamington River, a branch of the Black River. Throughout the late 19th century and the early 1920s, much of the property was planted in intricate peach orchards, a business operated by one-time New Jersey Congressman James Nelson Pidcock. In the 1920s, the land was part of the 20,000 acres that made up the elegant estate of investment banker Clarence Dillon and his wife, Anne. When the Dillons divested much of their land holdings in 1935, they sold 530 acres along both sides of the Black River to family friends—investment banker Frederick Strong Moseley Jr. and his wife, Jane Hamilton Brady.
Fiddler's Elbow Is Born
It was the locals who first called the property Fiddler's Elbow, adopting the name from a nearby hamlet, at a spot where the Lamington River makes a bend resembling the arm of a man playing a fiddle. The sporting lifestyle had been treasured long before golf emerged as the grand estate's most alluring pastime. An avid sportsman and World War II Bronze Star recipient for heroism, Frederick Moseley hosted many elaborate fox chases on his estate, complete with foot bassets, foxhounds and horses. The manor house, along with a two-story addition built in 1968, is now the Fiddler's Elbow clubhouse. For some 25 years, the Moseleys were known for their sporting activities. After Jane Moseley died from injuries sustained in a fire, the property was sold and converted into a dairy farm.
A New Generation of the Sporting Lifestyle
In 1964, Raymond J. Donovan and Ronald A. Schiavone obtained the acreage and transformed it into Fiddler's Elbow Country Club. It opened the following year with its original 27 holes of golf—the Red, Blue and Green Courses—designed by Hal Purdy. In 1986, the 9-hole Silver Course opened, and the Green Course was renamed the Gold Course in honor of the regal designs of Brian Silva. Rees Jones began work on a third course in 1992. On July 1, 1994, Fiddler's Elbow could claim 54 holes of golf, making it the largest golf facility in the state. Today it remains the only club in New Jersey boasting three championship courses. The Blue-Red Course, designed around the Lamington River, became known as the River Course. The Gold-Silver Course was christened the Meadow Course, in light of its former use as a pasture. The newest, nestled within a plantation of white pines, beeches, oaks and other hardwoods, was aptly named the Forest Course. Over the years, the Club has proudly hosted some of the most prestigious corporate, charity and professional golf tournaments in the state—a lifespan that is a tribute to the property's sporting ancestry.
2013-14 Begins a New Era
Following a significant investment and effort in strategic planning, Fiddler’s Elbow entered a new phase under the stewardship of the Donovan Family, Ray, sons Ken and Keith, and daughter Mary Ellen. A multi-phase master plan was commenced that included the new practice facility considered to be among the best in the country. Course improvements included several holes on the Meadow Course being redesigned by architect Stephen Kay. Dining facilities were renovated with the new Elbow Room Restaurant & Bar becoming the centerpiece of social activity among the members. A brand new pro shop and cart barn and an enlarged locker room space completed the golf facilities upgrades, while the introduction of a brand new state-of-the art Aquatics Center ushered in a new era for the Club.
Today, Fiddler’s Elbow has a thriving membership and is known as one of the finest facilities of its kind, serving as an oasis from the pressures of day-to-day life. Loaded with entertainment, fine and casual dining and something for every member of the family, the Club is both luxurious yet unpretentious.
Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club has become one of the state’s most unique and popular venues for special events, weddings and golf outings.