FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Monroe Township, NJ, Forsgate Country Club, The Banks Course

Aug 1, 2005
2005 / August 2005

I seldom meet a golfer who is not familiar with Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, N.J., a course that has hosted many corporate outings. Since it’s conveniently located just off Exit 8A of the New Jersey Turnpike, it’s a favorite among golfers who live in New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania. And though it’s a private club, there’s such a vast number of corporate members that it’s likely you’ll be invited to play the course if you’re visiting the area on business.

Forsgate was established by John Forster, who, planning to leave the hustle and bustle of New York City behind, purchased a 50-acre parcel of land here in 1913. His goal was to start a self-sufficient community, with a farm where he could entertain friends and relatives. In 1929, Forster changed his plans and hired famed architect Clifford Wendehack to design a clubhouse and Charles “Steam Shovel” Banks to build a golf course. The design was to mimic courses Forster had played in Europe.

Today, Forsgate Country Club is home to two fantastic and challenging courses. The Banks, opened in 1931, ranks No. 2 on New Jersey Monthly magazine’s list of the top 20 private courses in the state. (Pine Valley is No. 1.) The Palmer was built in 1961, based on a design by Hal Purdy, and was redesigned by the Palmer Group in 1971. The club’s colonial-style clubhouse is a full-service facility. Forsgate is not a long course, but the greens make it unique. (The pro told me the shop sells an awful lot of 60-degree wedges.)


Following are highlights of the Banks course:

Hole 3 (196 yards, par 3)
Eden

This hole is named after the 11th hole at St. Andrews (see “Grace on the Greens,” Global Traveler, February 2005, for a review of the St. Andrews Old Course). It’s a very difficult par three with two large, deep bunkers ready to take you off the green. So infamous are these bunkers that they are named: the Strath (on the right) and the Shelley (on the left). There is a ridge in the middle of the green that makes putting a challenge. Making a two putt on this hole is an achievement, and pin placement is key. If you are on the opposite side of the hump, you will have great difficulty making par.

Hole 5 (417 yards, par 4)
Punchbowl

The third handicapped hole on the course, Punchbowl is a copy of Hoylake’s ninth hole in Merseyside, England. Its layout is featured on many courses designed by McDonald, Paynor and Banks. The tee shot is generous, with a penalty bunker at about 290 to 300 yards, which big hitters can reach on dry days. The key to making par and walking away with your head high is the green. During the ’70s, this hole had the largest putting surface in the United States, so you really need to know the pin placements. Those in the know will check out the pin’s location as they walk off the third green. There is a center mound in the green, and your second shot is blind, so not knowing the placement may mean you have a monstrous putt ahead.

Hole 8 (570 yards, par 5)
Long

Aptly named, this hole will surely demand all three shots to make the green. When the prevailing winds are up and in your face, the challenge intensifies. In this case, the designers looked to the Old Course at St. Andrews for inspiration — the 14th hole, to be exact. Here, the hole boasts the most severe fairway slope on the course. The fairway slopes the entire way from right to left, so you need to aim your tee shot well right, so that it doesn’t roll to the left. Another mound sloping to the left greets you at the green.

Hole 9 (506 yards, par 5)
Plateau

Don’t like back-to-back par 5s? Then I suggest you drive right by Exit 8A and skip the Banks course. This is a rolling fairway with a double plateau. The first is on the fairway somewhere between your second and third shot. Big hitters can carry this plateau and roll down for an easy shot to the green. If you have to lay up, you will need a long iron or fairway wood to carry the upward s lope. The green is protected by two bunkers: one in the front and the other to the right. Hitting these can make a difficult up-and-down, but the green is relatively flat by Forsgate standards.

Hole 10 (416 yards, par 4)
Valley

Featuring sets of typically Scottish cross bunkers on its fairway, this hole takes its name from the opening hole at the National Golf Links and the second hole at Carnoustie in Scotland. Again, the tee shot is crucial. A 230-yard tee shot will take your ball to the top of the hill and roll it to within iron distance. Missing the long drive off the tee increases the challenge. You will need a fairway wood or long iron to reach the green, which is pitched on a severe shelf that drops off to the right.

Hole 16 (404 yards, par 4)
North Berwick

Continuing the theme of borrowing names from legendary golf holes around the world, this multi-tiered hole is named for the 16th at North Berwick, Scotland. It was designed to resemble C.B. MacDonald’s version, which he created as the 11th hole at the National. The greenskeeper wreaks havoc with his nasty pin placements. The tee shot is relatively easy, and scoring well is a direct result of your second shot into the challenging multi-mounded green.

Hole 17 (239 yards, par 3)
Biarritz

This long par 3 is patterned after a par three at the Biarritz in Aquitaine, France, with a long, narrow green divided into two levels by a deep swale. It was designed by Willie Dunn of Scotland, who also designed the original course at Shinnecock, Long Island. Most golfers are going to need a fairway wood to reach this green, which has two large bunkers right and left, with a depression in front of the green composed of rough. It is believed that this depression was once part of the green, as the bunkers extend its entire length. In Scottish tradition this makes sense, as shots would then be able to roll onto the green. Now they are hung up in the depression.

Hole 18 (450 yards, par 4)
Purgatory

Say your prayers on the tee box. That’s your only hope of getting out of Purgatory. This is a devilish par four with a steeply pitched green and a trap at the right front of the green, the deepest on the Banks course. The tee shot is to an uphill fairway. Unless you are a long-ball hitter, you are again left with a long iron or fairway wood for your second shot. There is a huge fairway bunker on the right, which you may need to avoid. The green slopes from back to front, so a ball landing toward the rear will make for a very difficult putt to the pin, if placed toward the front.

FORSGATE COUNTRY CLUB
375 Forsgate Drive
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
tel 732 521 0070, fax 732 521 6118
www.forsgatecc.com

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Feature
Feb 16, 2020

Dr. Segal’s Compression Socks: A Must for Travelers

As every avid traveler knows, you may need to get up and stretch your legs at some point during a long segment of travel. Your legs might still get stiff, but these socks from Dr. Segal will keep the blood pumping back to your heart.

Athens: A city that charms its guests and stirs their emotions

The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.

News
Feb 16, 2020

Botanical-Inspired Hotel Indigo Opens in Brussels, Belgium

The new Hotel Indigo Brussels – City boasts a botanical theme. The hotel in Brussels’ Little Manhattan is located near the city’s Botanical Gardens, making the theme fitting.

Feature
Feb 16, 2020

Delta Air Lines Posts Higher 2019 Earnings Than Expected

Delta Air Lines saw its stock price skyrocket last month after the airline posted Q4 earnings exceeding Wall Street expectations. At one point after the news, Delta’s stock price was up 4.5 percent, its highest levels since July, according to MarketInsider.

Goway Offers Travelers Journey of a Lifetime

Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Daily
Feb 16, 2020

Japan Sets All-Time Tourism Record

The Japan National Tourism Organization announced it set an all-time tourism record in 2019. The country received 31 million overseas visitors last year.

News
Feb 14, 2020

Frontier Airlines Expands Service from Philadelphia

Frontier Airlines recently announced three new non-stop routes from Philadelphia (PHL). New service to Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX) brings Frontier’s total non-stop options from Philadelphia to 24 flights.

Adventure of a Lifetime with Volvo

Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.

Feature
Feb 14, 2020

Valentine’s Day at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort

Still need Valentine’s Day plans tonight? First of all, you’re in trouble; second, you’re in luck: Omni Bedford Springs Resort is hosting the perfect gathering for wine connoisseurs and romantics alike.