The rolling hills of New Jersey's Somerset County make not only great horse country, but great golf country as well. Among the gems in the area is Trump National Bedminster, just a few minutes off I-78. Donald Trump opened the New Course last year after receiving rave reviews for the Old Course that debuted on the property in 2004. Tom Fazio did the first one and his nephew, Tom Fazio II, designed the New Course. The two will host the 2009 USGA Junior Amateur Championship and Girls' Junior Championship concurrently July 20-25.
The New Course has six sets of tees, with the tips stretching a monstrous 7,534 yards, including a par three that plays 270 from the black tees. It's slightly downhill, but still..... That hole, like most of the others on the course, has a spacious green full of not-so-subtle (would you expect anything else from Trump?) humps, bumps, curls, and contours.
Another consistent feature of the design is really well-placed fairway bunkering that turns what could be mediocre short and medium-length par fours into strong tests of driving skill. The 17th and 18th holes are particularly challenging. The 17th is only 374 yards from the blue tees, but a nasty bunker intrudes from the left and cuts the fairway in half at the landing area about 210 yards out. It takes a 250-yard carry to clear it. The second shot is a tester, too, with a two-club elevated green protected by bunkers right front and left side. It's probably one of the smallest greens on the course.
The finishing hole is 420 yards from the blue tees and plays uphill all the way. There's a particularly deep swale in front of the severely-humped green, so many players are going to end up playing it as a three-shot hole whether they intended to or not.
Say what you will about Donald Trump, but the man builds good golf courses. The New Course at Trump National Bedminster is an impressive test of golf.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo