Since it opened in May of 1999, High Bridge Hills Golf Club has been winning rave reviews for its excellent routing and superb conditions.
Those plaudits are only enhanced when one considers the affordability of the greens fees at High Bridge; under $80 with cart on weekends and under $60 with cart on weekdays. Those prices are virtual steals to play such a splendid Mark Mungeam designed tract.
“I think you could play the course every day and not get tired of it,” said Jason Lenhart, regional manager for the Billy Casper Golf management group that oversees High Bridge Hills. Lenhart is based at the club.
“I think High Bridge Hills is one of Mark’s best designs and he has really done some great work since. I know he has a special fondness for the course, and makes it a point to get back here and see the club whenever he is in the area.”
Mungeam designed the course in a classic British-Irish tradition. The par-71, 6,700-yard layout is imbued with a links style set amidst wonderful terrain overlooking Spruce Run Reservoir. There are a number of elevation changes, the most spectacular of which can be found at the eighth hole, an intimidating, 229-yard par-three that calls for a tee shot over a natural gorge.
Although it plays relatively short from the back tees, High Bridge Hills is no piece of cake. Tall fescue grass grows off the fairways, placing a stringent demand on accurate tee shots.
“We have softened the course considerably since it first opened,” said Lenhart, “to maintain a better pace of play. And the introduction of GPS in the golf carts has also helped speed up play and given us a marketing edge on the competition.”
He added, “We feel it is very important for players to choose the right set of tees to match their ability. With four sets of tees, it should not be a problem for everybody to have a fun round here.”
There is nary a weak hole at High Bridge Hills, which has five par-threes, three on the backside. The short holes range from the above-mentioned eighth to the little 115-yard sixth that demands nothing more than a soft nine-iron or wedge. But, as elsewhere on the course, you really need to find the green, which is severely undulating and surrounded by trouble in the form of rough and bunkers.
The ninth is a super finishing hole for the front side. It is 435 yards from the tips and bends to the left. A good drive is necessary to avoid bailing out on the second shot, which must be struck bravely to a deep green bordered by bunkers to the right and water on the left.
Number 15 is a great par-five measuring 505 yards. Big hitters can think about going for the putting surface in two, however the wise play might be to lay up to a ridge above the green and knock a wedge at the flag.
As usual, Mungeum built a great hole to finish the round, a 434-yard par-four. There are four bunkers on the right side of the fairway landing area that you must steer clear of to leave an unfettered approach to an elevated green, which has a deep bunker guarding its front. The green has two tiers, making getting down in two from any significant distance dicey if you are on the wrong tier.
Another plus: The management and staff at High Bridge Hills goes out of its way to make guests feel special, with personal service from the minute you drive up to the bag drop. High Bridge Hills Golf Club
High Bridge, N.J.