New Clubhouse Puts Finishing Touches to The Architects G. C.
you thought the golf course was special at The Architects Golf Club in Lopatcong, N.J. you simply have to experience the property’s brand new, 16,000-square-foot clubhouse.
The facility, which opened this spring, boasts a spectacular grand ballroom in addition to a tasteful restaurant, pro shop, lounges and men’s and women’s locker rooms. Outside, there is a 5,000-square-foot bluestone patio for dining and buffets, all overlooking the golf course and the surrounding rolling hills of the area.
“We’re very happy about the opening of the clubhouse,” says Bill Colavito, general manger of The Architects Golf Club, which pays homage to the great course designers of the game, such as A.W. Tillinghast, Donald Ross and Alister MacKenzie. “The golf course has been very successful for the past six years from a branding standpoint, and it was always the vision of the owners (Larry and Dennis Turco) that there would be a special clubhouse built on the property.”
The Turcos’ vision included the creation of a clubhouse that would further differentiate their property from other high-end daily fee clubs in the area.
“We wanted the clubhouse to help us evolve into things like upscale catering as well as having a stand alone restaurant that we can market to the community,” says Colavito, who worked 18 years for the Marriott Corporation. “The restaurant (called the Thyme Restaurant) is not only for golfers but also the non-playing public. We think we can do hospitality a little better than everybody else. Of course, hospitality is everywhere you go, but sometimes it’s the basic things that seem to get forgotten in the industry.”
The Thyme Restaurant has a bit of French flair to its menu and features what Colavito calls “comfort food with a twist.”
He says, “That goes for lunches and the dinner menus. We also have entertainment on Friday nights and plan to expand that to Saturdays and Sundays.”
Colavito says the reception to the opening of the clubhouse has been tremendous.
“The demand for a good restaurant in this area was there, and customers have said it’s about time we opened because they needed a place like this. This area is booming and we are taking advantage of the new neighborhoods that have emerged around the club.”
It’s a well-worn marketing phrase, but The Architect’s Golf Club treats its customers as if they were members of a posh country club for a day.
“We want people to feel like they are relaxing in their living room when they come into the clubhouse. We have several lounges for members and the general public, and a great patio where people can sprawl out or sit back and enjoy a marguerita.”
The clubhouse also features meeting space for business clients as well as a bridal suite for weddings.
Doing it the family way is important for the owners and management at The Architect’s Golf Club.
“John Turco, Sr., Larry and Dennis’ dad, is on the property assisting with the little things that make us special,” says Colavito. “Culture is important here and we even have a John Turco Senior Award that honors our associates for outstanding work for the club. We’re always doing guest surveys and keeping a pulse on what our customers are experiencing as well as our employees. We will continue to change and evolve. It’s one heck of a good time for everyone involved.”
The immaculate, 6,863-yard, par-71 layout at The Architect’s Golf Club has won numerous awards for its routing and conditioning. It was designed by noted modern day architect Stephen Kay and Golf Digest Magazine writer and course reviewer Ron Whitten. The pair created a course that honors the great course architects of the late 19th and first half of the 20th century, not copy them. While each hole recognizes an individual designer and incorporates their concepts, the holes are unique and present their own set of challenges and enjoyment.
The first hole, a 509-yard, par-four, honors Old Tom Morris, who liked to retain existing features of the land, such as rock walls, as hazards. The seventh hole, a 412-yard par-four, pays homage to Tillinghast with bunkering reminiscent of Bethpage Black, San Francisco Country Club and Winged Foot.
The 15th honors Donald Ross, who designed so many Northeast courses. It’s a monstrous, 473-yard par-four that displays Ross’ belief in the mastery of the long iron for the second shot. The 18th is a fitting way to end a memorable round. The hole honors Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and the architect’s favor for long tees, enormous greens and heavy use of bunkers is in evidence as well as his theory of “hard par, easy bogey,” design.
The Architects Golf Club also has a splendid grass tee practice area as well as a putting green for sharpening up your skills prior to heading out for one of the most interesting rounds of golf you will ever experience. And there is that wondrous clubhouse to come back to after you finish.