Bedens Brook is a Dick Wilson track defined by its title creek, which flows along the entirety of its wide latitude. That being the case, Wilson does not abuse the body of water as a hazard for his 6,900-yard route.
Instead, Wilson relies on bunkers that sometimes penalize those who make unwise decisions, and sometimes simply punish those who don’t find the fairway. No. 7 is a reachable par five, but getting there in two will require the player to navigate several large fairway bunkers near to the green, as well as a loop of four traps around the putting surface. The number one handicap hole is a 440-yard par four that returns to the clubhouse, and demands accuracy from the tee with a series of bunkers that tighten the fairway.
Bunkers aside, Bedens Brook does make at least one star appearance. At No. 3, another par five, players will hit across the creek, while hugging the inside of the fairway that the creek follows. The final shot will again cross the creek as it moves diagonally before the green. The crescent-shape of the fairway would make big hitters consider cutting the corner by playing down the No. 8 fairway. As at Inverness, however, a tree has been planted to keep these thoughts in check.
I echo what Doug opined. The Bedens Brook has a few holes of note and the Dick Wilson design doesn't receive as much attention given the stacked nature of various private clubs throughout the Garden State.
However, Bedens Brook is not among the stellar layouts Wilson created during a quality career when held against the likes of Meadowbrook Club, Deepdale, NCR / South, Cog Hill #4 and Pine Tree, to name just a few.
Interestingly, the Wilson style of large bunkers and putting surfaces has shifted as more attention and fanfare is being paid to the classical courses created during the Golden Age period.
What would be interesting is to see an updating of the course -- where bunkers are repositioned to deal with the gains made by technology and those near the putting surfaces are brought more into play than they are now.
Overall, Bedens Brook is worth seeing if the opportunity arises but keep in mind how the style found there comes from an era which such courses have not stood out so well given the test of time.
M. James Ward
Bedens Brook is a nice club in the Princeton area of NJ. It's more of a tennis/racquet club than a golf club. The course is nice. It is rather pedestrian though. It starts with a solid par 4 pretty much straight away. The 2nd is a short par 3 slightly downhill. The 3rd is an interesting hole. A par 5 which you cross a creek with your drive and choose how aggressive you want to be with your line as you will cross back over this same creek to a slight uphill green. Most will have to lay up with their 2nd. Only those who challenge the creek with their first can challenge it again with their 2nd. 4 is a par 4 slight dogleg left with a bunker short. 5 is a short par 4 with many fairway bunkers which prompt your correct aim. 6 is a nice par 3 over a large valley to a large sloped left to right green. 7 is a par 5 down hill sliding right with bunkers protecting the corner. 8 is a par 4 typically the hole you see pictured with a nice stone walled creek short of the green. What is interesting is I didn't notice the creek until I was standing on top of it almost. 9 is a big par4 climbing uphill the whole way to a large severely tilted green toward you. The front is the stronger 9.
10 is a nice slightly downhill par 4 with a gentle dogleg left with a tree that helps define the best path as it sits out toward the mid right side. 11 climbs back along 10 and is a solid par 4. 12 is a par 5 which is one of the best chances for birdie. It's not long and gently downhill. 13 is a par 3 over a pond to a large kidney shaped green. 14 is a short par 4 which climbs slightly and offers only a vicious sloped green as protection.15 is a strong par 4 16 is a par 3 with some length. 17 is the longest hole and plays it. Dogleg left with a green which is built up from its lower position to put forth deep edges on both sides. 18 is a ho hum finisher which defines the course.
A well manicured layout which offers a challenge mostly because the greens are gently tilted mostly as to hide the true line. There are a number of severe slopes but they are not the norm. Bedens Brook offers exactly what you expect. A nice course in a nice place. It could be much more but as you pull up and see like 24 racquet courts all about. You understand maybe the golf isn't the top priority. Even given above....It is better than several ahead of it on this list.