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Somerset Hills

Somerset Hills

Bernardsville, New Jersey
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Patrick Koenig
Patrick Koenig
Bernardsville, New Jersey

Somerset Hills Country Club is an A.W. Tillinghast creation and it’s naturally natural with nothing brash or ostentatious about the course. With glorious green sites and a pretty layout, it’s a course that’s waiting to steal your affections. But first of all you’ll need to befriend a kindly member because Somerset Hills is yet another of America’s prestigious private clubs.

Located in Bernardsville, New Jersey, Somerset Hills is perhaps one of Tilly’s finest creations and it’s a jewel that fits the contrasting land like a silk glove, where there's plenty of variation to keep everyone happy (length of holes and green sites), Somerset Hills is an unusual layout that flows cleverly around the flat, open, links-like terrain of a former racetrack for the outward nine and across hilly, dense woodland for the homeward half.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig

Author Darius Oliver wrote in his book Planet Golf USA: “Somerset Hills Country Club has diligently preserved this great track and they deserve great credit for resisting the urge to modify holes or soften their marvelous green shapes.

At various times they have had issues with tree growth and the loss of playing areas, but in recent years a carefully supervised restoration program has successfully returned much of the layout to the original Tillinghast plan.

What’s cool about the course are not the things that Tillinghast experimented with here and then took on later projects, but the unique design features that he rarely tried anywhere else.”

Perhaps the pick of the holes is the par four 15th which is flanked by trees creating intimacy. The fairway slides downhill and then doglegs to the right to reveal perhaps the largest green on the Jekyll and Hyde course that is Somerset Hills.

The Bernardsville layout has been revised down the years as follows: William Gordon (1946); Hal Purdy (1956 and 1968); Tom Doak (2010 and 2013) with consultant Brian Slawnik of Renaissance Golf Design. In 2017 Brian suggested altering the par five 10th to a short par four, allowing holes 11 and 18 to be lengthened.


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Course Architect

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A. W. Tillinghast

A.W. Tillinghast’s father took him to St Andrews in 1896 and introduced him to Old Tom Morris. His golfing passion developed rapidly following lessons from the old master and four-time Open Champion.

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