Makefield Highlands Golf Club in Yardley, Pa. proudly considers itself one of the most unique golf courses in the Northeast.
Architect Rick Jacobson designed a real beauty, a layout that offers a true “links” feel to its customers. Tall fescue lines the rolling fairways, while strategically placed hazards make navigation a challenge. When the wind kicks up, the course really shows its teeth. Some have even called Makefield Highlands Golf Club, which opened in 2004, a “prairie style” course. Whatever designation you settle on after a visit, the course is a visual stunner with plenty of great golf, superb conditions and wonderful scenic views of Bucks County.
The course, which is owned by Lower Makefield Township and managed by appliedgolf, is a public facility in the true sense of the term. In addition to 18 reasonably priced holes of golf there is an extensive practice facility, on-site instruction, summertime junior camps, an active golf association, a full-service pro shop and grill and a banquet facility for large gatherings and outings.
Appliedgolf took over management in January of this year and the company is focused on increasing the service level, catering to its customers and providing a unique experience for them. Whether it is a foursome out to play golf or a large outing, the appliedgolf team takes pride in offering a friendly, professional level of service.
“What makes Makefield Highlands different is it’s a true links style golf course in the rolling hills of suburban Philadelphia,” says Bob Doria, General Manager/Head Professional. “We have also increased our level of service to our customers by enhancing our bag drop area and range facilities with the installation of a card based system for dispensing range balls.”
Makefield Highlands is a strong test of playing ability, stretching to just over 7,000 yards from the tips. However, the course design includes five sets of tees in all to meet the skills of each golfer. There is a terrific blend of long and short holes with four terrific par threes, one more exciting than the next.
The first five holes are excellent starters. Numbers one and two, which are par-fours measuring over 455 yards from the tips, let you air the driver out, with a good, short 159-yard par-three followed by two short par fours—measuring 337 and 331 yards respectively. This variety of holes presents an early indication of the interesting demands Makefield Highlands places on both shot making ability and course management.
The backside offers a neat mix of holes, from the 284-yard par-four 13th that can be reached by big hitters off the tee to the 228-yard par-three 14th that is as good a short hole as you will find anywhere.
Doria was hired by appliedgolf group to oversee the operations at Makefield Highlands. His experience in both public and private golf and his service to the PGA as the growth of the game leader for the Philadelphia PGA Section made him a great addition to the team at Makefield. Bruce Fleming (previously Assistant Professional at The Bucks Club and the Sedona School of Golf in Sedona Az.) has also joined the staff as the first assistant professional.
Says Doria, “Other changes this year include the inclusion of Ed Gibson, PGA Director of Instruction, who leads all instruction programs at our facility. Ed joined Makefield from Applebrook Country Club in Malvern, Pa. and was recognized as one of the Top 20 teachers in Philadelphia by Philadelphia Magazine.
“One of the key elements you will now find at Makefield under the appliedgolf group’s direction is a wide variety of player-friendly and instructional opportunities. They have created several family-friendly and short round programs, as well as increased the number of golf schools and junior camps for the local golfers. Because of the club’s convenient location to the Route 1 corridor and Route 95, Makefield sees many golfers from New Jersey, New York and Delaware. The facility offers residents of Lower Makefield discounted green fees but also has recently instituted the Highlands Awards Card offering free rounds of golf that can be earned after six or so visits to the club.
In addition to the many new programs appliedgolf group has added, the firm is excited about the improvements to the course conditions.
“Our new superintendent Mark Peterson joined us in February and has been doing an awesome job getting the greens in great shape”, says Mike Attara, Vice President of appliedgolf. “Mark also had experience in both the private and public side of the business, which was important to our decision making when building the management team. As we strive to “Redefine Public Golf,” we knew our team had to understand what it would take to be a public facility that could offer the service level and friendly atmosphere you might find at a private golf club.”
“The town built a wonderful golf course and we are thrilled to be able to take a great facility and continue to work hard to make it better,” says Dave Wasenda, President of appliedgolf. “We are very happy to be associated with such a wonderful town and great golf course. The course is a hidden gem that golfers of all skill level really need to come out and experience.”
Prices are kept on the modest side, $52 for non-residents and $38 for residents to walk Monday through Thursday, and $76 for non-residents and $62 for residents (both prices include cart) Friday through Sunday. The club also offers discounts for seniors and juniors and runs early bird and nine-hole specials. Visit the club’s website for details.
Makefield Highlands Golf Club