The course at Black Oak Golf Club is laid out within Long Valley in Morris County, where it blends in beautifully with the natural landscape. Just to underline that assertion, it’s the only course in the entire state of New Jersey with Audubon Sliver Signature status so the stated aim of the club to have golf and nature in perfect harmony is one that holds true.
Founding partner Joe Hays was the main man behind the establishment of the golf club but it took more than a decade – and many revisions of plans – to gain approval from the local authorities for the transformation of his 220-acre farm and several adjoining properties into the golf course that eventually opened for play in 2012.
Course designer David Glenz played on the PGA Tour for several years and he was PGA National Teacher of the Year in 1998. He’s also appeared on The Golf Channel and written more than fifty articles for different golf magazines but his lifetime ambition was always to design and build a golf course.
Glenz had this to say during development of the course: “Having played most of the best golf courses in the country, I have extensive experience in what goes into making a great golf hole. My guarantee is this: we will have eighteen different holes that require shot value while being scenic and fun to play.”
There are plenty of interesting holes at Black Oak, such as the demanding 3rd, a long par four extending to 460 yards from the back markers. Requiring an accurate tee shot with a lake on the left and trees on the right, the approach is then played over a stream that runs sixty yards short of the green.
The 13th is a lovely little par three measuring 130 yards. The green is wide but shallow with a ridge in the centre that falls away to the left. The putting surface is protected by a lake to the left and sand to the front and right of the hole.
The par five 17th plays 560 yards from the tips, with two bunkers about 290 yards out cutting the fairway in half. The second shot then has to avoid a lake to the left and a bunker around 100 yards short of a relatively small green.