Got To Admit It’s Getting Better - Better All The Time
Enhancements At Cedar Hill Country Club Are Impressive

SAUNDERSTOWN, R.I. – June 5, 2009 -- Never rest till good is better and better best aptly describes major renovation work recently completely at Cedar Hill Country Club in Livingston, New Jersey.

It began with a comprehensive enhancement plan developed by Golf Architect Robert McNeil. The implementation of the project that began in 2002 has resulted in a transformation that’s taken the golf course to a new level of quality and strategic challenge.

“Robert brought great vision to the project and worked very well with everyone. He understood our goals, listened to our dreams and easily accommodated changes and input,” said Golf Course Superintendent Dennis Wrede.

The broad reaching effort to rebuild incorporated a restyling of all bunkers and reconstruction of all tees along with a redesign and building of new green complexes at the 5th and 12th holes. A new practice facility including a 15,000 square foot grass and synthetic practice tee, short game center and new 6,000 square foot putting green now provides a place for players to hone their skills and Golf Professional Ron Korn. McNeil, working with the Club’s staff and Total Turf Golf Services, GCBAA has delivered an aesthetically pleasing design, improved playing quality and amenities to the golf facility originally established in 1921.

The current improvements also included strengthening of bunkering on the 6th hole, the addition of new bunker complexes on the 14th and 15th challenging players of all levels while framing these holes and solving extensive drainage problems on several low lying holes.

“There is no architectural pedigree for the golf course. From the outset of the project the plan was to develop feature styling reminiscent of the courses era of original conception. The new bunkering and grass hollows are softly free flowing with meandering capes and hard noses, especially deep around the greens,” said Robert McNeil, ASGCA Associate and Principal Golf Course Architect at the Northeast Golf Company.

One of the goals with the latest phase of renovation was to strengthen the finish to the golf course. A cluster of bunkers was added along the left side of the par 4, 14th to catch errant shots and better align players. The result is exceptional with a feature that now defines the look of the hole and strategy from the tee.

The 15th was a bit mundane- blind off the tee moving hard from right to left. A strong reachable snaking finger has been added along the left side and a directional reachable bunker was set up long right, both visible from the tee. The final touch is a nasty 6' deep grass mitt that was cut in at the front left of the green forcing a carry to reach this green that slopes hard from back to front.

A primary objective of the overall plan was to find a hole worthy of development as a signature statement. Finding the signature was bit more difficult than anticipated. The course offered a variety of holes to choose from but #17 offered the best opportunity for dramatic improvement. The existing 378-yard par 4 played from an elevated tee to a generous landing area framed by a bunker along the left side and trees along the right. The hole was bisected at 300 yards by a drainage ditch wrapped in stone. The approach was not very challenging with bunkering left and right and an opening to the center of a softly tiered green.

The new "signature" at Cedar Hill Country Club provides not only a visually appealing experience for the players, but an approach that musters ability as well. The 17th is icing on the cake and the changes made are indeed dramatic. The creek has been transformed into an 18,000 square foot pond framed by an artfully created fieldstone wall. The approach area has been developed along the angle of the pond and additional bunkering is cut in along the wall fronting the right edge of the green creating strong, strategic pinning locations.

The tree-lined Cedar Hill routing set on rolling terrain has bent grass covered tees, greens and fairways with three sets of tees. It plays to 6,443 yards, a 126 slope and 71.5 rating from the tips. “Our private, equity club is tucked away in a very pleasant community on a relatively tight parcel of 150 acres. The contemporary architecturally designed clubhouse with modern amenities houses grills, various dining areas and locker rooms for its members,” said Jeff Aidekman, Cedar Hill CC member and Renovation Chairman.

The courses first 5 holes provide a stiff challenge and are the teeth of the course. The holes include the 447-yard opening par 4 with a redan style green falling from front right to back left. The 3rd hole requires an uphill approach to a severely sloping perched green. The long par 4, 450 yard 4th calls on players to feed the ball into a green resting at grade, but moving quickly from right to left.

The new 5th hole, built as part of the initial phase of renovation in 2002, is a197 yard up hill par 3 with a green guarded by deep bunkering and hollows at the front right. Due to its length the green was intentionally designed to receive and gather balls into its center.

Players get a slight breather on holes 6-8. There is the par 5 straight away 6th hole followed by 2 shorter but devilish par 4's at 7 and 8 punctuated by the punchbowl green at the 8th hole that is surely a product of the times.

McNeil said, “The commitment of the Golf Course Superintendent, Dennis Wrede and his staff, toward maintaining the improvements as intended along with making sure the quality and strategic integrity of the features are treated with respect will insure a lasting successful project.”

“The positive comments from members about the added features and changes are heard all the time. We now have a good mix of older and younger members who are equally enthusiastic about the new playability that is more challenging yet very appealing," said Wrede.

Cedar Hill Country Club has reaped the benefits. A stable membership and successful operation was experienced until the recent economic challenges appeared. In 2008 with a profound vision to position the club for future membership challenges Cedar Hill again committed to take the next step. It targeted improvements that would help attract new members and heighten satisfaction of the existing membership.

“In the fall of 2008 when the economic crisis was taking hold the club lost members. Job and income uncertainty in this New York City bedroom suburb impact the club. More than half of those that left are now back and directly attribute their return to the changes that we’ve made. Many are attracted to the new practice area,” said Aidekman.

The forward thinking decision to develop a plan of execution and make such dramatic improvements has served the club well, especially in these trying times. The enhancements made have put them in a much better place to retain current members and attract new ones.

For information about the club and membership contact:
Cedar Hill Country Club, 100 Walnut Street, Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 992-4700

About the Northeast Golf Company: The mission of The Northeast Golf Company is to provide clients with the best golf course design service tailored to meet their individual needs. To be the best requires focus on the business objectives of each client by providing a creative and strategic plan that responds to the inherent nature of the land, the players served and the project budget.

Robert McNeil operates as the team leader providing creative direction while bringing together the necessary expertise and overseeing every aspect of a golf course project to ensure that the vision becomes reality.

The McNeil Design Collaborative and McNeil Construction LLC design/build team approach combines years of experience in successful design, construction and project management.

"We take pride in developing relationships that are productive, long lasting and most of all fun, much like the courses we design." Robert McNeil

Contact: Robert McNeil, ASGCA Associate, Principal Golf Course Architect, Northeast Golf Company
(401)-667-4994 in Saunderstown, RI – (732)-747-1888 Red Bank, NJ
Email: or Visit: www.northeastgolfcompany.com