FX Excursions

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

The Architects Golf Club Review

by Francis X. Gallagher

Aug 15, 2020

© FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER

August 2020

In May, as golf courses were just beginning to reopen, I scanned the internet and failed time and time again to book a foursome until I came across The Architects Golf Club in Lopatcong, New Jersey. The course is more than an hour from my home and nearly equidistant for two other players in our group: Chris (Yammi) Ottaunick, driving from Long Island, New York, and Mark (Marky) Lane, driving from northeastern New Jersey. Jim ( Jimmy) Bolger joined us and took the trek with me. All these gents serve on the Global Traveler Advisory Board. We had an early start with a 7:04 a.m. tee time. All sorts of rules were in play due to COVID-19. We were told we could not share a cart (this rule no longer applies), the clubhouse was temporarily closed, and groups teeing off were spaced every 15 minutes rather than 10. There were no ball washers, and the holes were plugged with cut pool noodles to stop the communal reaching in the cup or pulling the flag. (The USGA allowed flags to remain in holes for nearly two years to speed play.) There were no score cards, but I had printed out a copy, and we made do.

Inspired by owners Dennis and Larry Turco, The Architects course was developed in 2001 to pay tribute to the greatest golf course architects. Under the guiding eyes of Stephen Kay, golf course architect, and Ron Whitten, architectural editor, Golf Digest, the course honors 70 years of terrific course designers such as Tillinghast, Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones. (I hope they paid royalties to use these names!)

HOLE 1 OLD TOM MORRIS
509 yards, par 5

Old Tom Morris, considered by many the father of golf, was a club maker, ball maker and four-time winner of the British Open, based at the mother of all golf courses, St. Andrews. I reviewed St. Andrews in the first issue of Global Traveler in February 2004 and have lots of great stories about the trip to Scotland.

The opening hole, a straight par 5, uses the topography of the land, adding bunkers on the side to catch wayward shots. Morris often used existing hazards including old stone walls in his designs — fun if your ball rolls against them. The green sits on a high point, offering beautiful views of the fairway behind. A great start and four fine drives got us on our way. Somehow Yammi and Marky pulled out opening pars while Jimmy and I scored bogeys — Tom must have been pleased.

HOLE 2 C.B. MACDONALD
195 yards, par 3

Continuing with the father theme, Charles Blair Macdonald is considered the father of American golf architecture. Macdonald lived most of his life in Chicago but attended school at St. Andrews, Scotland, where he came under the tutelage of Old Tom Morris. Using steam shovels to pile soil on rocky earth to create greens and fairways was one of his signatures; in a similar way, bulldozers created the Hole 2 pedestal green surrounded by strip bunkers. Jimmy and I nailed perfect shots to the green for par while Marky found one of the bunkers and Yammi had a “chili dip” chip, both carding a bogey.

HOLE 9 DONALD ROSS
447 yards, par 4

Donald Ross courses have a cult following, and having been a member of the Torresdale Frankford Country Club (now owned by the Union League of Philadelphia), I know the way Ross uses traps and greens to make a course more challenging. Ross was America’s best-known and most productive architect, known for Pinehurst No. 2, Oakland Hills in Michigan, Oak Hill in New York, Scioto in Columbus, East Lake in Atlanta, Beverly in Chicago, Brae Burn in Boston, Seminole in Florida, Oyster Harbors on Cape Cod, Plainfield in New Jersey and Wannamoisett in Rhode Island.

Hole 9 offers a great finish for the front, with the clubhouse as your goal behind the green. Yammi pulled out all he had and nailed a ball down the fairway, with Jimmy and Marky following right behind. (Were mulligans involved? I will never tell.) I struggled with a triple bogey, not helping my front nine score; this is why some call him Donald “blanking” Ross!

HOLE 11 WILLIAM FLYNN
544 yards, par 5

Any Philadelphian can tell you Flynn is the most respected golf course architect. He contributed to the East Course at Merion under the design of Hugh Wilson and stayed on as the greenskeeper. He went on to create some of the greatest golf courses in the world, helping make Philadelphia a mecca of golf course perfection. His gems include Philadelphia Country Club, Rolling Green, Huntingdon Valley, Lehigh, Manufacturers and Philmont (many reviewed in GT). Outside of the Delaware Valley his credits include Cherry Hills in Denver; Cascades in Virginia; The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts; and Shinnecock Hills on Long Island.

Hole 11 represents the twisting dogleg Flynn frequently designed (Rolling Green in Springfield, Pennsylvania, is a perfect example). He disliked artificiality on his golf holes. Yammi, Marky and Jimmy obtained a trio of pars, and I failed to card better than a bogey. The golfer who sprays shots will be forgiven at The Architects, which has overall wide fairways and clear rough areas.

HOLE 18 ROBERT TRENT JONES
400 yards, par 4

Robert Trent Jones was a prolific designer and open to working and communicating with others in the industry. A graduate of Cornell in New York, he understood networking could improve his career. Bobby Jones and RTJ, for example, collaborated to design Peachtree in Atlanta and remodeled Augusta National. RTJ was known as the Open Doctor for his preparation of courses for the U.S. Open.

The weather showed hints of rain as we teed up for long drives on the last hole. Jimmy took the honor of the farthest tee shot, but Yammi was the only one to contain his composure to finish with par. Making the green in two can be challenging — as Jones would say, “an easy bogey and a difficult par.”

As the clubhouse was not open, we retired to a more distant spot in the parking lot and had a tailgate of snacks and ice-cold beer. COVID or not, golf continues!

THE ARCHITECTS GOLF CLUB
700 Strykers Road
Lopatcong, NJ 08865
tel 908 213 3080
thearchitectsclub.com

Introducing

FX Excursions

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

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Sep 22, 2021

La Concha Hotel Puerto Rico Review

Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha.  As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.

The Future of Hamad International Airport

Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.

September 2021
Sep 21, 2021

Retreat into Luxurious Stillness at The Rittenhouse Spa & Club

The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.

Daily
Sep 21, 2021

7 Reasons to Put Nice, France, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Nice, France, with us.

Greece: Destination Luxury

Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.

Daily
Sep 21, 2021

Fall and Winter Offerings in New Orleans

New Orleans draws visitors with exciting events this fall and winter.

GBTA
September 2021
Sep 16, 2021

Philadelphia’s Fairmount Boasts Impressive Collections and a Friendly Vibe

As a native of the Philadelphia region, I’m quite familiar with the drive in and out of the City of Brotherly Love. Even as the city’s skyline continually transforms, my favorite views of Philadelphia have always been along Boathouse Row, with the Philadelphia Museum of Art rising in the background, before looping around the museum to the flag-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Home to many of Philadelphia’s incredible and world-renowned museums, the Fairmount neighborhood is fittingly aesthetically pleasing and practically synonymous with fine art.

Register Today for the Most Important Gathering of Business Travel Professionals

The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.

Daily
Sep 16, 2021

Rosewood San Francisco to Open in 2026

Set to open in 2026, Rosewood San Francisco will be the last skyscraper developed in the downtown region for the foreseeable future. The projected 800-foot-tall property will host a hotel, residences, office and rental spaces. The brand’s third property in California will join Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, and Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito.