New Jersey never gets the love that other states do for their golf courses. Everyone is quick to compile top 10 lists for courses in California, New York, Florida, etc. but Jersey often gets overlooked. It shouldn't.
New Jersey after all is home to arguably the number one course in the world Pine Valley, up the road is the famous Baltusrol and soon will be hosting the President's Cup at Liberty National.
Old York Country Club is Jersey name few have probably heard of but it is a fantastic private course nestled in central Jersey that features a highly entertaining Gary Player design.
The course has a tremendous amount of strategy off the tee. For example, above is your tee shot on a short par 4. The inclination is to hit driver but because of the framing of the hole on the tee box, it is better to lay up with an iron or fairway wood and then have an easier shot onto the green.
Old York will definitely make you think about your second shot constantly. Do I lay up here, go for the gusto and then what I am left with into the green?
The other way the course can take driver out of your hand is the rough. Jersey like the rest of the Northeast in 2017 has been the recipient of a lot of rain so the rough has grown up a bit and if you get in there, you need to make sure you aren't wedded to par and will instead swipe right on bogey or worse.
The greens themselves are also things of beauty.
They roll true, have great undulations but aren't completely unfair to the average hack. The groundskeeper keeps OYCC in great shape, especially the greens. Now in fairness, the day I played all the hole placements were in championship form being cut on the edges of undulations like the green above but it just added to the challenge of the course.
The thing I liked best about OYCC was the routing. The course was laid out on a former horse farm and while Player definitely sculpted the land via bulldozer (some of the sculpting was very reminiscent of the work done by Arthur Hills at Forest Akers), the routing is superb as it takes you to various topographies with never the same set up twice and the holes feel like separate islands rather than a traditional parkland course.
The bunkering was top notch and it was also great to see some turf reduction in effect with more sandy waste areas than expected for a private Northeastern course.
My favorite hole on the course has to be the 9th, which is emblematic of every question Old York asks a golfer that plays there. A short par 4, do you lay up to the base of the hill and then have a blind shot into an uphill green or do you try and bomb it to the top of the hill? If you bomb it and miss you have bunkers, trees and that long rough waiting for you. Also, be sure not to skull it into the pond.
It is a fantastic hole and I chose the wrong strategy throughout in playing it but it is a testament to the course that after I finished 18 I wanted to get right back out there and apply what I learned in playing the course again. That a course makes you want to play it over and over again is the sign of a fun and challenging course and I can't wait for my next round here!
For more info on Old York, check out the link! http://www.oldyorkcc.com/