Seven year renewal for Cedar Hill


Sean Dudley

Despite the tough economic times, Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston, New Jersey, proves that golf courses can succeed – if they deliver quality golf experiences to players.

Golf architect Robert McNeil of the Northeest Golf Company has spent seven years transforming the course, which dates from 1921. The rebuild incorporated a restyling of all bunkers and reconstruction of all tees along with a redesign and building of new green complexes at the fifth and twelfth holes. A new practice facility including a 15,000 sq ft grass and synthetic practice tee, short game centre and new 6,000 sq ft putting green now provides a place for players to hone their skills.

Contractaor Total Turf Golf Services carried out the works. Improvements also included strengthening of bunkering on the sixth hole, the addition of new bunker complexes on the fourteenth and fifteenth, and solving extensive drainage problems on several low lying holes.

“There is no architectural pedigree for the golf course. From the outset of the project the plan was to develop feature styling reminiscent of the course’s era of original conception. The new bunkering and grass hollows are softly free flowing with meandering capes and hard noses, especially deep around the greens,” said McNeil. 

One of the goals with the latest phase of renovation was to strengthen the finish to the golf course. A cluster of bunkers was added along the left side of the par four 14th to catch errant shots and better align players.

The course’s first five holes provide its teeth. The holes include the 447-yard opening par four with a redan style green falling from front right to back left. The third requires an uphill approach to a severely sloping perched green. The 450 yard fourth calls on players to feed the ball into a green resting at grade, but moving quickly from right to left. 

Cedar Hill has reaped the benefits. A stable membership and successful operation was experienced until the recent economic challenges appeared. In 2008 with a profound vision to position the club for future membership challenges Cedar Hill targeted improvements that would help attract new members and heighten satisfaction of the existing membership. 

“In the fall of 2008 when the economic crisis was taking hold the club lost members. Job and income uncertainty in this New York City bedroom suburb impact the club. More than half of those that left are now back and directly attribute their return to the changes that we've made. Many are attracted to the new practice area,” said Aidekman.