It isn’t often that a teaching professional gets to design his own golf course.
It happens at times. Rick Smith has laid out several very good tracks, including Shenandoah Golf Club at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y. (you gotta play this one) and there have been others. So David Glenz had some precedent when he got to lay out his dream 18 in Long Valley, N.J.
The finishing touches are being put on Glenz’s Black Oak Golf Club. Glenz, who was the PGA National Teacher of the Year in 1998, an accomplished player in the Metropolitan area, and a member of the New Jersey PGA Hall of Fame, had always harbored a strong desire to craft his own course. His objective at Black Oak was to blend the features of the land into a unique and memorable course.
“My guarantee was this,” he told me earlier this spring, “we will have 18 different holes that require shot values, while being scenic and fun to play.”
For the low handicapper, the course will stretch to almost 7,100 yards, with broad fairways winding through trees and along the ridgeline. Multiple tees will allow a comfortable yardage for players of all ability levels. Lakes and streams throughout the property are utilized to create both shot value and beauty. The varied green settings will test putting ability. Round to round, the course will play differently; determined by conditions, course set-up and ability level. Players are offered a variety of shot options, challenging their imagination and competitive goals. A limited membership will preserve the relaxed, unhurried pace for a great golf experience in a pristine setting.
The developers have completed all 18 holes and numbers five and 10 were for play by the first of May.
Said Glenz, who has been the New Jersey PGA Teacher of the Year eight times, has appeared on The Golf Channel, and written over 50 articles for Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Golf Illustrated and New Jersey Golf, “We opened 16 holes for play last October and got a lot of positive feedback from prospective members as far as the quality of the course design and the playability of the course. We have a temporary clubhouse of 2,000 square feet that seats 40 people easily and a large bar with seating for 14. Outside, we have a large deck and patio area that will have seating for at least 60 people. Or intention is to create an intimate club with the primary focus on golf.”
Naturally, Black Oak will be a place to not only play the game but also learn to master the art, whether you are a beginner or an advanced player.
“I feel our teaching staff is the best of any golf course in the country,” said Glenz, “with over 100 years of teaching experience between the four teachers. We have two Golf Magazine Top 100 teachers in myself and Mike Lopuszynski, a former New Jersey teacher of the year, Bryan Jones, and LPGA and TPI certified instructor Wendy Ferrara, who develops our fitness protocol. We also have the mental side covered by sports psychologist, Dr. Nick Molinaro. For anyone who loves the game of golf and wants to improve, we feel we have the best environment anywhere.”
Glenz expects initial members of Black Oak to come mostly from the immediate surrounding area.
“But we anticipate that as the word spreads we will draw from anywhere within an hour’s drive, which will include New York City. I anticipate we will draw a lot of advanced players. We already have New Jersey State Amateur champion Brian Komline, former State Amateur champion Mike Deo, and current Women’s State Amateur champion, Kuriko Tsukayama. In addition, I have a great core of four very strong playing assistants.”
While Black Oak will prove a challenge for the best players, Glenz also wanted to create a layout that is manageable for players of lesser ability, one that won’t intimidate beginners and higher handicappers.
“The design of the course is not to make the game more difficult but to make the game fun, challenging and enjoyable for all ability levels,” he said.
There are any number of good holes at Black Oak, which has multiple tee areas that allow a comfortable overall yardage for players of all skill levels. Lakes and streams were incorporated into the routing to create both shot values and scenic beauty.
The third hole is a demanding par-four playing 460 yards from the tips. It requires an accurate tee shot with a lake on the left and woods to the right. The second shot is across a stream that runs some 60 yards short of the putting surface, which is guarded on the left by the lake and on the right by two bunkers.
The fourth-hole is a beauty of a par-three, playing over 200 yards from the back. The tee shot is over water with the green bunkered left and right. You can play the shot a bit short and still get up and down for par.
The 13th hole is a sweet little par-three measuring 130 yards. The green is wide but shallow with a ridge in the middle that falls to the left. The green is protected by a lake to the left and bunkers center and right. When the wind is up, club selection is crucial to finding the putting surface.
The 17th is a par-five that plays 560 yards. There are two bunkers about 290 yards out that cut a generous fairway in half. The second shot needs to avoid a lake to the left and a bunker some 90 yards short of the green. The putting surface is guarded by a bunker front left and a pot bunker front right that opens up to a chipping area for approaches that miss the 5,000-square-foot green.
Number 18 is a solid finisher that measures 430 yards. You’ll need a strong tee shot on the slight dogleg right to set an up an open look to the green, which has bunkers front right and left with a large fescued hill as a backdrop. The green on 18 is ample but gently sloping with tricky breaks depending upon pin placement.
For information visit www.blackoakgolfclub.com.