There is an air of distinction to Eagle Ridge Golf Club, a sense of permanence and purpose.
This is not surprising, given the great care the Kokes Organization of Whiting, N.J. has given to creating a fine, multi-purpose club.
This strong sense of commitment to excellence in fact permeates the Kokes Organization, founded by Mike Kokes in 1964. In the early 1990’s, his son, Jan, took over as president of the company, and a second son, Jerry, became vice president and also president of Eagle Ridge Golf Club. In turn, Jan Kokes’ son, Gregory, and Jerry Kokes’ son-in-law, Jeff Mead, director of marketing and membership at Eagle Ridge, have joined the family business. With so many watchful eyes keeping tabs on Eagle Ridge, it is no wonder the club has become one of the most special golf facilities in the region.
“The staff is one of the highlights of our club,” said Mead. “People always comment on how nice everyone is, no matter if they meet them in the pro shop or on the course. We aren’t stuffy here. We have a welcoming attitude at Eagle Ridge.”
It’s not like the Kokes family and the staff needs to go out of their way to sell the Eagle Ridge experience. There is a magnificent 25,000-square-foot clubhouse that has superb amenities, including a top-notch grille room and a grand ballroom for special occasions. Eagle Ridge also has three rooms that are ideal venues for conferences and business meetings.
Eagle Ridge Golf Academy offers PGA instruction throughout the season and is staffed by four PGA instructors and one LPGA instructor.
Oh yes, the golf course is pretty special as well. The Brian Ault design opened for play in June of 1999 and quickly became one of the premier daily fee layouts in the area.
“It is challenging but not too difficult,” said Mead. “Although we are not great in length off the tee there is bunkering and some high grass off the fairways that can cause problems. There are two large lakes that come into play on five holes and the greens are undulating and kept on the fast side.”
Eagle Ridge is a thinking golfer’s course. It doesn’t necessarily take the driver out of your hands, but, as Mead said, “the bunkers were put in the fairways for a reason.” He adds, “There certainly are some risk-reward types of shots out there.”
Take the first hole, for instance. The 535-yard par-five can be reached by the big hitters in two. But a pond guards the front left side of the putting surface making it a must to bail out right or fly the ball onto the green. Number 14 is a superb 422-yard par-four. The tee shot is through a chute of trees and large bunker to the left of the landing area will make the approach to the green dicey, as water guards the right side.
Yet, Eagle Ridge doesn’t eat your lunch on every hole. The fourth is a nice little 335-yard par-four, which has a plethora of bunkers guarding the front of the green ready to catch the golf balls of those who dare try and get on or close off the tee. The 16th hole is a 128-yard par-three that chirps birdie--that is if you steer clear of the tall trees hugging the left side of the green and a deep bunker in front.
Green fees at the semi-private club max out at $97 (with cart) during summer’s peak times. The club offers price breaks after 1 and 4 p.m. during the summer. Eagle Ridge Golf Club