Hominy Hill - New Jersey - USA

Hominy Hill Golf Course,
92 Mercer Road,
Colts Neck,
New Jersey (NJ) 07722,
USA


  • +1 732 462 9222

  • Tim Mariner

  • Robert Trent Jones

  • Dave Laudien


The course at Hominy Hill is laid out on land to the north of Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County. Such is the quality of this Robert Trent Jones Snr design, it hosted the US Amateur Public Links Championships in 1983.

“The story of how Hominy Hill came into existence is a fascinating one.” Writes M James Ward (see below for his full review). “The man responsible for the course was Henry Mercer – a shipping magnate who enjoyed mixing golf and business. Mercer's home summer club – Rumson Country Club located near to the Atlantic Ocean – had a long established reputation in being rather close-minded when people of dissimilar backgrounds visited the club. Mercer in his business came in touch many times with Japanese and Greeks who like him were active in the shipping area.

Mercer would entertain his guests frequently at Rumson and the leadership made it a point to explain such invitations would need to be curtailed. Sensing an ultimatum was brewing, Mercer took a pre-emptive approach. His response was rather straightforward – he would entertain who he wished, when he wished, where he wished. And if that meant leaving Rumson so be it.

His love of golf was deeply embedded, as Mercer was also a member of the Augusta National Golf Club. He had pasture land located in the nearby community of Colts Neck on which his prized Guernsey and Charolais cattle grazed. Mercer engaged the services of architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. who had offices not far from the site in Montclair.

Jones was at the height of his design career and he created for Mercer an 18-hole layout far beyond the likes of Rumson. The course became the ultra-private haven for Mercer, his family and guests. Near the end of Mercer's life a decision was made to sell Hominy Hill to Monmouth County with the property forever to be used as a golf facility open to the general public.”

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Description: Hominy Hill is laid out on land to the north of Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County. Such is the quality of this Robert Trent Jones Snr course, it hosted the US Amateur Public Links Championships in 1983. Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 1

The story of how Hominy Hill came into existence is a fascinating one. The man responsible for the course was Henry Mercer -- a shipping magnate who enjoyed mixing golf and business. Mercer's home summer club -- Rumson Country Club located near to the Atlantic Ocean -- had a long established reputation in being rather close-minded when people of dissimilar backgrounds came there. Mercer in his business came in touch many times with Japanese and Greeks who like him were active in the shipping area.

Mercer would entertain his guests frequently at Rumson and the leadership made it a point to explain such invitations would need to be curtailed. Sensing an ultimatum was brewing -- Mercer took a preemptive approach. His response was rather straightforward -- he would entertain who he wished - when he wished -- where he wished. And if that meant leaving Rumson so be it.

His love of golf was deeply embedded as Mercer was also a member of the Augusta National Golf Club. He had land located in the nearby community of Colts Neck in which his prized Guernseys and Charolais cattle used as pasture land. Mercer engaged the services of architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. who had offices not far from the site in Montclair.

Jones was at the height of his design career and he created for Mercer an 18-hole layout far beyond the likes of Rumson. The course became the ultra-private haven for Mercer, his family and guests. Near the end of Mercer's life a decision was made to sell Hominy Hill to Monmouth County with the property forever to be used as a golf facility open to the general public.

For a number of years the closest the public had ever come to the property was seeing it from adjoining roads. It would not be a stretch of truth to say that more non-members played Pine Valley than played Hominy Hill during its private club status time frame.

The architecture at Hominy Hill encompasses the general motif followed by Jones. Long tees with even larger bunkers and including sprawling greens with a number of internal contours. The land is only slightly better than dead flat so mounding was created to give the course some added definition.

One of the dividends in Hominy Hill becoming public was the top tier nature of the turf. The course was far from your normal "muni" course because the pedigree of the layout meant on many days when Mercer owned the property staff outnumbered the total number of people playing.

The course has a few holes of note. The downhill slight dog-leg right 4th is a fine par-5 -- a pond awaits those going for the green in two if the bold play is pulled to the left. The dog-leg left par-4 8th is a fine hole -- the green hugging nearby out-of-bounds for the approach. Jones added two other risk/reward par-5's with the 9th and 14th holes respectively.

The par-3 11 is similar to what Jones created with the 12th hole at Spyglass Hill. The ending is nicely done with a balancing act of a par-3, par-5 and par-4 closing.The architecture has its moments but it would be a big time stretch to define it as compelling.

For many years Hominy Hill commanded the very top of any assessment of public courses in the Garden State. With the development of privately owned daily fee courses in the late 1980's and 1990's that position has fallen but the course still has its share of fun shots and holes to play. Hominy Hill also hosted big time events -- including being one of only a few sites in America to have hosted both the men's and women's public links national championship for the USGA.

Mercer's selling of the course became the springboard for Monmouth to develop the finest golf portfolio for a county governmental entity in all of New Jersey. Ironically, what started as a piece of land, reserved for only the select few, has now become a wonderful haven for all types of golfers to enjoy.

by M. James Ward

4 / 6
Hominy Hill
April 05, 2017


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