Ridgewood, host venue of The Barclays for the second time, has been in existence for more than 100 years.
The Ridgewood Country Club, which will host The Barclays for the second time in three years, has been in existence for more than 100 years.
The Barclays had spent 40 years at historic Westchester Country Club down the road but, in 2008, moved to Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey’s Paramus, one of the largest shopping meccas in the country, with over $5 billion in annual retail sales
Last year it moved again, this time to Liberty National in the shadow of the New York City skyline, but 2010 sees a return to Ridgewood.
An exclusive private club for members with one of the strictest dress codes in the game, Ridgewood CC was founded in 1890 in Ridgewood, New Jersey, but later moved to neighbouring Paramus where AW Tillinghast, perhaps the outstanding golf course architect of his day, was responsible for designing its present 27-hole layout in 1929.
Its 27-hole layout is made up of the East, West and Centre nine-hole courses and surround the clubhouse designed by another prominent architect of his day, Clifford Wendehack.
Ridgewood’s par-71 championship layout, made up of various holes from its three nine-hole courses, is currently 7,319 yards long off the back tees, has 78 sand bunkers and just one water hazard.
Although not exceptionally large, averaging 5,000 to 6,000 square feet, many of the greens bear the Tillinghast signature – severely sloping, typically from back to front, and protected by deep bunkers at the front corners. These features are overshadowed by the century-old trees that line the fairways, making position off the tee such a key ingredient for scoring well, often forcing the better players to club down for accuracy
Ridgewood has hosted two major professional championships, the 2001 Senior PGA Championship (won by Tom Watson) and the 1990 U.S. Senior Open (won by Lee Trevino), as well as the 1935 Ryder Cup (won by the United States) and the 1974 U.S. Amateur (won by Jerry Pate).
The 2008 Barclays was staged on the Championship course which is a route that consists of a collection of the best 18 holes from the Center, West and East courses. The Championship course record of 62 was set by Hunter Mahan during the first round of the 2008 Barclays. Vijay Singh played the four rounds in 8-under par and won the event in a playoff with Sergio Garcia.
World No 2 Phil Mickelson was highly impressed with the course when he played it ahead of the 2008 event.
He said: ” I played The Ridgewood Country Club where we’re going to play The Barclays, the first playoff event in the FedEx Cup series, and I think it’s a wonderful golf course.
“It’s a Tillinghast design, to which I am biased, and it has a lot of the same look and feel as a Baltusrol and Winged Foot (two highly rated US Open courses).
“I think the players are going to love it.
“It’s one of the premier courses in the land. It’s spectacular, and it’s going to play long and difficult.”
Mickelson is not alone in his assessment.
The New Jersey establishment was ranked No. 81 among the USA’s best golf clubs by Golfweek and No. 87 by Golf magazine in 2007.
It’s hole No. 6 was ranked among the Top 500 Holes in the World by Golf magazine in 2000, while the club was ranked the 84th Most Prestigious Club in America in 2006 by Golf Connoisseur.
THE CHAMPION COURSE – HOLE BY HOLE
Hole 1 (1 East) – Par 4 – 380 yds
Only the best 144 players will make it to the Barclays. And already on the first tee, they will be offered an aggressive option. The hole is relatively short, and the fairway offers a generous landing space. But players must stay away from the towering oaks on the right side and there is a cross bunker about 60 yards in front of the green. The green is well bunkered and slopes steadily and deceptively uphill and from left to right.
Hole 2 (2 East) – Par 3 – 190 yds
“Don’t miss left.” That’s what will be going through every player’s mind as they step up to this downhill par 3. It plays to a green that is protected by bunkers on both sides, but the two on the left are deep and deadly. The green slopes back to front and features some interesting contours that will make putting a challenge.
Hole 3 (3 East) – Par 5 – 588 yds
A classic Tillinghast par 5 by, this hole is almost unreachable in two. Players must lay-up or clear a series of rough-covered “Tillinghast mounds” which bisect the fairway. A heavily wooded area lines the left side, but don’t be fooled, the left is the key to this hole as it makes a sharp right turn near the green. The narrow but deep undulating multi-tier green is guarded by bunkers, which only the most accurate shots avoid.
Hole 4 (4 East) – Par 4 – 444 yds
Hole four is all about the number four which is a good score on this dangerous dogleg left. There are thick woods and deep rough to the left. Big oak trees on the right corner limit the bailout options. A well-positioned drive to the right center of the fairway is important because the green is very difficult to hold on long approach shots. Even if players stay out of the woods, they are not out of danger until putting is over on this challenging green with its false front and hard to read speed and breaks.
Hole 5 (6 centre) – Par 4 – 291 yds
Known as the “Five and Dime,” this drivable 291-yard par 4 is Ridgewood’s signature hole. It’s called the “five and dime” because most old timers played a 5-iron off the tee and a 10-iron (now a wedge) up to the narrow plateau green surrounded by six hungry bunkers. Players want to avoid the cavernous bunkers on the left side of the green especially. The green’s subtle (and not so subtle) breaks seem almost impossible to be real. This hole claims a place on Golf Digest’s “Top 500 Best Holes in the World” and holds a place among the Sports Illustrated “Top 18 Tillinghast Holes.” The Met Golfer also rates it in their “Dream 18.”
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