Raymond Hearn has completed a three-year renovation project at Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson, New Jersey.
Robert Trent Jones Sr and his senior designer, Roger Rulewich, originally laid out the first 18 of 27 holes at Metedeconk National, on the edge of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, in 1987, with a third nine added in 1998.
Hearn’s recent work saw him work closely with the club’s president Fred Price, green committee chairman Rob Bakos, golf course superintendent Andrew Mallick, director of golf Brent Studer, and general manager Derek Kopp.
“It was a great team effort”, said Hearn. “I could not be more pleased on how things turned out. It is a tremendous honour working for this great club. Strategy and shot value were enhanced on every hole with regards to current hitting distances that have increased since the club’s original opening.”
Price said: “Ray Hearn has helped us tune and freshen our classic RTJ course and provided great guidance on longer term issues like tree and turf management. Ray has a unique understanding of both the architectural objectives and maintenance needs.”
Hearn has restored ragged-edge capes and bays to bunkers, which had been lost to ever-changing sand lines and bunker edging. Studer highlights the “amazing job” Hearn did on restoring bunkers while also adding variety of the holes.
“Ray fully respected the legacy of Jones,” said Bakos. “Strategy, shot value and course aesthetics were all dramatically increased. The remodelled bunkers really brought our ageing golf course to life and the enhanced fairway contours and greenside runoff areas are bold and dramatic.”
While respecting the original design was key, Hearn also oversaw changes that would improve the playing experience for today’s golfers. “A respectful renovation provides an opportunity to improve two elements I consider paramount to design: angles and options,” said Hearn. “While we were restoring the course to its original glory, we also found ways to refine and increase strategy and shot value with more angles and options. Overall, the original design intent of Jones was safeguarded, but, as Price would say, ‘creatively tweaked.’”
Mallick said: “Every partnership in this industry is unique. Ray has exhibited every quality needed to be mutually successful. Working on our master plan during the peak of a pandemic, Ray’s flexibility shined. Communication and accessibility were second to none, no matter how insignificant the detail. Ray’s altruism has established him more than a respected professional but a close friend.”
Kopp added: “The feedback from our members and their guests has been remarkable. The attention to detail throughout the entire process is evident. Ray had a great approach to maintaining the look and feel of our Jones and Rulewich design, while finding ways to refine strategy and shot value with added angles and options.”