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THE COURSE

A Golf Purist’s Dream

Colonia Country Club is a golf purist’s dream. Built in 1898, this is a golf course where par is a sacred score, even on the calmest days. There are no tricks, and no overabundance of anything—water, trees, or sand—and for this reason, Colonia stands proudly alongside the other dozen pre-1900 architectural masterpieces in the state. It is a mighty mite—a formidable foe of just 6,380 yards. But what it lacks in length, it makes up for in intrigue.

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“This golf course plays tougher than a lot of 7,000 yard courses,” said longtime Superintendent Lance Rogers. “Here, a golfer needs to put the reins on their tee shots, and come at the greens from a comfortable distance.” It is a walk back through time, one of those rare places where golf simply feels more like golf. Originally laid out as a nine-hole course by Scotsman Thomas Bendelow in 1899, Colonia demands you have your wits about you.

Since it is all wrapped in approximately 100 immaculately maintained acres, landing areas are narrow, but it is the greens that are the equalizers at Colonia. They average only 4,500 square feet with mostly subtle undulations. The greens weren’t built to roll at 11 on the stimpmeter, but that’s the way they can play after they are double-cut each morning.

Highlights include No. 4, the toughest ranked hole, and a textbook example of risk/reward. A par-5 of 528 yards, it plays to the largest green on the course, which is guarded by a pond in front. No. 13, its green sandwiched between two huge willows and fronted by a wrap-around pond with a stone wall, might be the prettiest. Elsewhere, Colonia is comprised of holes which force golfers to work the ball both ways, and a tremendous mix of long and short par-4s.

The second nine was added by Robert White in 1923, and the holes were interspersed. Renovations were made by Hal Purdy in 1969, and Frank Duane, an associate of Robert Trent Jones Sr., in 1970. As for an old-world feature, golfers cross under New Dover Road to reach holes 4-7, come back for 8-12, and go back over for No. 13.

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Built By A Missionary of Golf

In the late 1890s golf was a novelty, perhaps even a curiosity, in America. The founders of Colonia Country Club, however, took a different approach from the start. They landed an authentic Scotsman to design a golf course for them.

Thomas Bendelow arrived in America from Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1892 and devoted himself to teaching and course design completely by 1895.

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He laid out nine holes at Colonia in 1899, and the trace of his handprint remains strong enough today that an Old-World golf experience awaits members and their guests at the club in Middlesex County. Colonia has been in continuous operation since it opened, and is the 13th oldest golf club New Jersey.

Today, Colonia is a Private Club with 200 Members. Colonia boasts a 20,000 square foot Clubhouse which is home to a formal Dining Room seating up to 250 guests for receptions and functions, a casual Mixed Grill Room, Outdoor Patio, Men’s and Women’s locker rooms, Fitness Room, Card Room and Barber Shop. A Resort quality Pool Complex opened in 2013 features indoor/outdoor Dining and Bar, adult and wading Pools and luxurious cabanas. In addition to the 6380 yard course, expanded to 18 holes by Robert White in 1923, there is a Driving Range, Chipping Green with sand bunkers, a separate putting green and a Halfway House.

Bendelow was responsible for designing more courses than any architect in history, with more than 1,000 to his credit. Two of his designs, Medinah Country Club (No. 3) in Medinah, Ill., and East Lake Country Club, in Atlanta, remain among America’s Top 100, according to Golf Digest, GOLF Magazine, and Golfweek.

The golf course benefited greatly from the renovation work by Hal Purdy and Frank Duane, both recognizable names in golf course architecture, in 1969, and 1970, respectively.

Colonia offers 9 Membership Categories, with only Active members having full golf privileges, and Associates having limited golf privileges, there is truly something for every golfer. New memberships are available.

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Practice Makes Perfect

The Driving Range offers a practice area adjacent to the putting green. Here the golfer can utilize any one of several stations to improve their game. There are also three target greens at lengths of 100, 150, and 200 yards.

Hole By Hole

SCORECARD

HOLES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 OUT
BLUE TEE
71.3/133
317 210 326 528 394 177 390 539 340 3221
WHITE TEE
70.0/130
307 200 301 510 381 155 385 528 327 3094
GOLD TEE
65.6/129
290 130 280 392 370 136 360 422 322 2702
MEN’S HANDICAP 15 11 13 1 5 17 7 3 9
MEN’S PAR 4 3 4 5 4 3 4 5 4 36
WOMEN’S HANDICAP 11 17 13 1 5 15 7 3 9
RED TEE
72.0/129
286 122 270 390 363 133 352 420 306 2642
WOMEN’S PAR 4 3 4 5 5 3 4 5 4 37
HOLES 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 IN OUT TOT
BLUE TEE
71.3/133
358 310 327 177 475 571 210 361 370 3159 3221 6380
WHITE TEE
70.0/130
339 306 305 162 464 563 184 351 350 3024 3094 6118
GOLD TEE
65.6/129
333 269 283 132 438 440 148 262 340 2592 2755 5347
MEN’S HANDICAP 6 18 16 14 4 2 12 8 10
MEN’S PAR 4 4 4 3 5 5 3 4 4 36 36 72
WOMEN’S HANDICAP 6 14 12 18 2 4 16 10 8
RED TEE
72.0/129
329 268 273 130 380 438 144 261 333 2556 2642 5198
WOMEN’S PAR 4 4 4 3 5 5 3 4 4 36 37 73