Fast forward to the 1990s and Rees Jones entering the picture. The Board had asked Rees to put together a comprehensive Master Plan for both courses in 1991. The work focused first on the Lower in preparation for the 1993 U.S. Open, and then Rees and Steve Weisser, Rees’ project architect, turned their sights to the Upper, which had not been touched since Tillinghast’s follow-ups sixty years earlier. The prevailing attitude about the Upper for years was that it constituted a wonderful layout, long on character but short on bite; hence the work in the mid-90s focused on adding length. Championship tees were added or extended on a number of holes, including 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 17. Altogether, approximately 200 yards were added before the 2000 U.S. Amateur Championship. Sections of several greens were reinstated to their original dimensions, notably the right side of No. 1, the right side of No. 3, where the approach ramp also was extended up to the front right corner of the green, and the right side of No. 10.
All in all, the work done on the Upper in the 1990s was modest outside the lengthening of the course. More significant updates came in the second Master Plan, executed between 2008 and 2010. This Master Plan was known for restoring and renovating the bunkers: deepening them; re-positioning many of them, both for the drive zone and closer to greens; and adding several new ones. A few more holes were extended in length even further; with new championship tees added on 1, 2, 4, 7, 13, 17 and 18, the Upper was stretched to 7,350 yards. But the second Master Plan also produced several updates that have enhanced the strategic value of the course. Two examples are shifting the tee complex on No. 5 to the side of the mountain, which Tillinghast had contemplated in his original plans, thereby creating a sharper dogleg (in addition to a great view!) that is more demanding as a driving hole; and pushing back the tee complex on No. 15, prescribing a longer iron into this sizable par-3 green.
A more subtle, but equally important, update has been the restoration of approach ramps in front of several greens. Tillinghast considered approach ramps a very significant feature of his architecture, and they stand out at Baltusrol as one of our more prevalent design characteristics. The restoration of approach ramps on Nos. 7 and 8, and the widening of ramps on Nos. 3, 4, 9, 10, and 13, may go unnoticed by many but are architecturally important. “Thanks to the Club’s excellent historical records, we were able to identify and reclaim different features Tillinghast incorporated into the Upper, some of which are seen at other courses and some of which are unique to Baltusrol,” according to Steve Weisser.