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MUST PLAY Golf Courses in New Jersey
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Adam Barr
 
By Adam Barr
Published on 09/1/2005
 
MUST PLAY Golf Courses in New Jersey

Key Reasons To Visit These Can’t-miss Courses
Tattersall Golf Club


Reason No. 1: It’s a Rees Jones-design. For many public-course golfers in this area, the only opportunity to play a Rees Jones-designed course may come as a guest of a member during the occasional business round or member-guest tournament. But not at Tattersall, which is a fine example of Jones’ work, and welcomes public players to its country-club-for-a-day experience. The course itself has the big, broad-shouldered feeling of one where space wasn’t an issue during planning, and the wide fairways freely gallop along the wooded and rolling terrain like the horses that once called this former farm home. Despite the space, Jones prevented a tedious, bomb-it, then find-it style of play by maximizing the land’s dramatic changes in elevation—some up to 150 feet—and incorporating his massive bunkers and elevated greens. Rather than rewarding or overlooking mistakes, you pay for them here.

Reason No. 2: It has a historic clubhouse. It’s not every day that a golf course’s clubhouse dates back to 1702, but Tattersall’s Bordley House does exactly that. The course was built on land once known as Como Farm (the name comes from a small town in Italy) named by the former owner, noted agriculturist John Beale Bordley. The clubhouse was Bordley’s home and, since being completely renovated and restored, is registered with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Bordley was also a lawyer, held important judgeships, was elected to the American Philosophical Society, and founded the Philadelphia Society for promoting Agriculture.
 
Reason No. 3: It’s located in charming West Chester, Pa. Even if Jones’ dramatic design gets the better of you, a trip to Tattersall Golf Club can be a rewarding experience, especially if you wander into the delightful town of West Chester, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “one of the world’s most perfect small towns.” In addition to being the home of West Chester University, which helps give it an eclectic and academic vibe, the entire downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here, you can browse past historic buildings with famous, Greek revival architecture, enjoy outdoor dining, visit art galleries, street fairs and take in live music.

Reason No. 4: It offers one of the area’s only all-inclusive memberships. One of the beautiful things about having a membership to a golf club is never having to dip into your pocket again to play golf. Unfortunately, many so-called “memberships” in our area give you little more than the ability to make advanced tee times at discounted rates. Not at Tattersall. Here, a $4,500 Signature Membership includes unlimited greens fees, unlimited cart usage, range privileges, USGA handicapping, charging privileges, six complimentary guest passes, invitations to all club-sponsored events, golf shop discounts and 21-day advance tee times. Oh yeah, and there’s no initiation fee.

Hyatt Hills Golf Complex


Reason No. 1: The golf course is a Brian Ault design. That name alone might not mean too much you, but when it’s paired with Ault, Clark and Associates it should. This Kensington, Md.-based firm has worked on more than 500 golf course projects across the country in its nearly 50-year history and is the only firm to employ three generations of architects. In addition to New Jersey courses such as Heron Glen, Eagle Ridge, and Ballamor, the firm is responsible for The TPC at Avenel and improvements at Congressional Country Club and Kingsmill Country Club, all current or former PGA Tour stops. Despite having only nine-holes, this course is no pitch ’n putt or executive layout. It is a true test of golf, consisting of two par-3s, five par-4s and two par-5s, — with multiple teeing areas if playing 18 holes. From the back tees, it’s 6,500 yards with a USGA-rated slope of 130. A large lake brings water into play on at least three holes, including the signature seventh, a 187-yard par-3 that’s all carry. “Even though we’re nine holes, when people see our golf course and they see the conditions, they see why we charge more,” says head pro Dan Hollis. “It’s a nice variety of short and long, tight and open holes.”

Reason No 2: The conditions are second to none. But don’t just take our word for it. In 2004, the Newark Star Ledger named Hyatt Hills the “best-conditioned nine-hole course in New Jersey.” And the man responsible for the velvety fairways and firm, fast greens is Joe Flaherty, who has 30 years experience taking care of a little course called Baltusrol. Despite being challenged by more divots and ball marks that at his former, private course, Flaherty keeps the turf looking opening-day good. The three-year-old course has also filled in nicely with areas of fescue in between certain holes, giving it a mature look. “We put money and time into this course and it’s a step above a typical public course,” says Hollis.

Reason No. 3: You can get on and get around easily. Hollis says the course is busiest on weekday afternoons, so prime morning tee times (weekdays and weekends) are actually easier to come by. Plus, since it’s only nine holes of championship golf, you can get a golf fix without taking up the entire day. “If someone wants to come out and play, the time to come is in the morning,” says Hollis.

Reason No. 4: There are a host of other amenities. The word “complex” is not a misnomer. In addition to the golf course, there’s a 42-stall, lighted driving range, 18-hole miniature golf course, practice putting/chipping greens and bunker, PGA-member taught golf schools, and Lana’s, a fine-dining restaurant recognized in the latest Zagat restaurant guide.