If you like different then Cranbury Golf Club in West Windsor, New Jersey is for you.
Hey, don’t dwell on the yardage you see on the scorecard! That’s right, its only a little over 6,000 yards from the back markers. But that doesn’t mean par-71 Cranbury doesn’t have enough bite to keep even the best players interested and yearning for more.
There are six par-threes on the track, which cuts into the total yardage. And the Gary Rhenn-designed track, which opened in 1964, has new greenside bunkers, water and “The Bog” that keeps players honest both off the tee and on approach shots the smallish greens.
“The course is in phenomenal shape,” said general manager Colleen Suozzo. She works for Billy Casper Golf, which owns and manages the property. “It’s challenging but not too challenging and is woman- and new golfer-friendly. We undertook a project a few years back that added 19 new bunkers to give some of the holes more bite.”
Located only a 45-minute drive from Staten Island and an hour from New York City and Philadelphia, Cranbury GC has become a popular destination for golfers in the Tri-State region. It hosted over 40,000 rounds last year, said Suozzo.
“We’re easy to get to and out in the country, which people from the cities like. We’re nestled right in between beautiful fields and open space and we are affordable ($50 weekdays including cart, $60 on weekends and holidays). We do a lot of outing and event business as well. And we run various specials during the course of the year.”
Casper Golf knows how to treat customers in a first class manner, something that Suozzo is proud of.
“We are customer-oriented and I think people appreciate that.”
They also appreciate a fun, somewhat eclectic golf course that continues to stand the test of time in this age of hyped up drivers and long ball hitters.
The par-threes here are all very good. The fourth hole plays 225 yards from the back tee. You will need a long iron or fairway wood to reach a narrow, two-tired green that has bunkers left and a steep hill to the left. The 211-yard 14th hole demands a shot across a pond.
There are several fun, short par-fours that create perfect risk/reward options off the tee. The 333-yard 11th can be approached by big hitters, although both sides of the hole are heavily tree-lined.
Cranbury also has several outstanding par-fives, such as the 498-yard sixth. A good drive that avoids trees to the left of the fairway will leave you with the opportunity to go for the green in two. But there is a small pond guarding the front of the putting surface and a large oak tree that sits to the left to gobble up errant shots. Many a bold player has come to grief on this charmer.
Despite its short overall length, Cranbury does have a few manly par-fours, such as the 460-yard 13th hole. The hole plays even longer because the fairway winds up a hill. Two bunkers and a large oak tree guard the left side of the green.
Number 18 is a visually pleasing finisher, starting from an elevated tee to a tight fairway that has trees along the left side. Bunkers guard both sides of the green.
Cranbury GC is a prime example that, in golf, difficulty is not always measured in distance.
Cranbury Golf Club
West Windsor, N.J.