From the September 23, 2009 issue
GolfWorld readers name The Ridge at Back Brook
8th Best Private Course in America
From the September 23, 2009 issue
Tom Fazio-designed course
also named New Jersey's Best New Private Golf Course and honorable-mention
winner of Golf Inc. magazine's Development of the Year
Golf Digest names The Ridge at Back Brook
one of America's best
Tom Fazio-designed course also named New Jersey's Best New Private Golf Course and honorable-mention winner of Golf Inc. magazine's Development of the Year
RINGOES, NJ---When Golf Digest magazine named The Ridge at Back Brook the second best new private course east of The Mississippi and sixth best private track in America, it merely confirmed what the development team, architect and members had known all along.
"We knew we had a world-class golf course that was as good as any in the country and one that offered a golfing experience second to none. We weren't wrong," said developer and Princeton businessman Joel Moore of the Tom Fazio-designed course that plays 7,156 yards from the championship tees.
Open just over one year, The Ridge has captured the attention of the golfing world, earning three major awards in 2003.
"Our expectation levels are always very high, but the beauty, challenge and overall environment of this course has exceeded even my expectations," said Fazio, three-time winner of Golf Digest's Best Present Day Architect and one of the game's all-time great designers.
Golf Digest's recognition of The Ridge in its 21st annual lists of America's Best New Courses (January 2004 issue) comes on the heels of the New Jersey Golf Course Owners Association naming the golf only, par 72 layout the Best New Private Golf Course in New Jersey.
"I have never played a better new golf course, nor have I been more impressed with a design and a round of golf" said Bob Twomey, president of the Association and a man with 35 years experience in golf course development and management.
"It's very playable and very fair," said Twomey, senior vice president of Matrix Golf & Hospitality, an affiliate of Matrix Development, in Cranbury, NJ.
Touted by Moore as the course where "scores will mean something and the walk between shots will mean everything," The Ridge at Back Brook has been carefully integrated into a 300-acre pastoral setting on Wertsville Road in East Amwell Township. The site's natural features include Back Brook and a number of smaller tributaries, multiple ridges with unique rock wall faces, three ponds, numerous wetlands, significant elevation changes, dense stands of century-old specimen trees and clusters of colorful rock outcroppings.
San Diego-based Golf Inc. magazine was so impressed with the design and natural setting of The Ridge that it recognized it with an honorable mention last fall in the over $5 million category of its second annual Golf Course Development of the Year competition.
"There is a great variety of strategy and utilization of the creek in a number of ways," said Golf Inc. judge and golf course architect Richard Mandell. "I liked the use of cross hazards and the multiple tee options. There's a great contrast of natural elements, including grasses. It's a very natural looking layout."
Fazio took advantage of the natural topography at The Ridge and enhanced an already idyllic setting.
"Mother Nature gave us an ideal canvas with which to work," said Fazio. "We didn't have to create or manufacture holes like we so often have to do to meet the quality golfers expect. This property did that for us by allowing us to create spectacular backdrops and framing for each hole."
Back Brook comes into play on eight holes, while two ponds and a 7.5-acre lake come into play on four others.
Golf Digest's panel of 800 low-handicap male and female golfers played and evaluated the nearly 200 new golf courses that were nominated nationwide before making its selections of America's Best New Courses that opened between May 1, 2002 and April 30, 2003.
Golf courses in three categories---Best New Private, Best New Affordable Public, and Best New Upscale Public - were rated on shot value, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, playability and resistance to scoring. Bonus points were awarded to courses, like The Ridge, that allow walking.
Other features at The Ridge include a 17-acre practice facility with a 3-tiered, 70,000-square-foot set of bent grass tee boxes (the equivalent of 2.5 acres), a fairway-like practice driving lane, and a number of elevated target greens framed by bunkers. There also is a separate teaching tee, separate chipping, pitching and sand bunker area, and two putting greens.
A rustic, Adirondack-style clubhouse is currently under construction and scheduled to open in summer 2004. Reminiscent of the traditional clubhouses built in the Northeast United States before 1940, the clubhouse will employ wood, stone and rough-hewn beams and offer panoramic views of six golf holes and the surrounding countryside. Facilities will include a casual dining room with stone fireplace, bar and grille, several lounge areas, pro shop and fully appointed men's and women's locker rooms.
The Ridge offers several categories of memberships including new national and junior memberships along with various extended payment plans. For additional information about The Ridge at Back Brook, call (609) 466-7702.