At first glance the Cherry Hill Club looks like an old-style parkland course with a sprawling 1900’s era whitewashed clubhouse. It is easy to walk as the topography is extremely flat. There is not much water to content with and the mature deciduous trees that line the generous fairways are well manicured underneath. As with most private golf courses it is hard to lose a ball to keep the members happy, but I still managed to deep six two.
Once you play this gem, you will quickly realize that the putting surfaces are the biggest line of defense. The original Walter J. Travis design still holds true today. They are smaller, extremely fast with plenty of movement. Plus, there are swales around most of them that will funnel your errant approach shots off the putting surface. I would put these up with some of the toughest that I have ever played.
In the 70’s architect Robbie Robinson was hired to upgrade this course that subsequently hosted two national championships. Recently architect Ian Andrew was commissioned to eliminate some of the bunkering and restore the rest back to the original design.
Using the latest technology, he first built a mound then dug down for the sand. All greens are now raised at the back with a big lip to contend with. The sand is deep and soft but the thick rough, that now surrounds them, is challenging. The fairway bunkers come into play on most par 4’s or 5’s. As I found out they were easy to enter but a difficult to exit.
There are a number of great par-3’s at Cherry Hill starting with the 5th, a 160-yard hole (white tees) across water to a green that has swales all around it. The 9th hole is a long par-3 measuring 190 yards (whites) that is slightly up hill to a green that slopes severely from back to front.
Then there is #11, another long par-3 with maybe the toughest green on the course. There are no flat spots plus if your hit your tee shot long there is a huge swale at the back of the green.
I found that there were also some long par-4’s. 13 is straight par-4 with two large bunkers guarding the front of the green that you must fly. Bogie is a good score here.
14 is another long par 4 with a ditch that cannot be seen about 50 yards short of the green.
There are also a couple of risk/reward holes including the 15th hole, a short par-4 with a large pond that comes into play on the left. The prudent move is to layup before the water otherwise you can risk pulling out a driver if you stay right on your tee shot.
Currently the Cherry Hill Cub is ranked #66 Best in Canada by Top 100 Golf Courses of the World. Your short game and putting is paramount to scoring well here. There are a couple of things I will guarantee. One, you will definitely be playing out of a bunker and it may take you two to escape. Secondly you will have a least one three putt and probably more.
In summary, do not be fooled by first impressions, this course has stood the test of time and will challenge all of your skills.
Dave Finn is a 5-time award winning golf writer and photographer from Canada. To read more about his travel adventures visit www.golftravelandleisure.com
Date: September 23, 2020