When Tom Fazio II set about re-designing the par-3 thirteenth hole at North Jersey Country Club, he ran into the same problem the original designer Walter Travis faced in 1925 – a rock formation that Travis ultimately perched the green upon. Of course, Travis didn’t have Fazio’s modern equipment.
“We knew there was the possibility of rock, but not to what degree,” Superintendent Tyler Otero explained. “Originally, the plan called for the new green to be about where the rock is, giving us a 200-yard par three. Once we realized how large it was, and actually how beautiful it is, Tom decided to give up the yardage in order to use it as a backdrop.”
The tee was moved back onto another rock formation, the green was moved up and sunk, and the hole -- with a slope that some women and seniors found too difficult to climb -- was beautifully transformed from a 160-yard uphill par 3 into a downhill 185-yarder.
Fazio also redesigned the par-4 eighteenth.. North Jersey is known for its blind shots, but the members wanted to see the flagstick from the landing area on the closing hole. In-house construction crews carved out an eleven-foot cut from the middle of the fairway and added all-new fairway bunkers. The green can now be seen from the tee.
When the two holes debut this season, they will both play harder, a fact likely to be reflected in the next revision of the Course and Slope Ratings. NJCC most recently hosted the New Jersey State Four-Ball Championship in August, a month before work began.
-By Hank Gola