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Golf Course Reviews - North America

Liberty National Golf Course

Name: Liberty National Golf Course
Location: Jersey City, NJ, USA
Par: 70
Length: 7346 yards
Holes: 18

Liberty National Golf Course

Liberty National opens with a solid, dogleg right par four under 400 yards in length. Playing slightly downhill, just a fairway metal or long iron is needed to thread the fairway that features a creek running down the right side and in front of the green. A short iron approach to a wide, but shallow green will remain. A great opening hole with Manhattan to your back.

Playing back toward the city, the second hole is awe-inspiring as you stand on the tee and view the Statue of Liberty in the foreground. You'll need to focus on this 200-yard plus par three from the tips. A long bunker guards the entire left side of the green, while one pot bunker right and another trap deep provide quite a difficult target. Let's not forget that the putting surface is 34 yards long.

The third is a dynamite par four, requiring a 230-yard carry to reach the fairway. The landing area is quite narrow with deep fescue flanking both sides. The second shot plays downhill to a green that features slopes and grass hollows surrounding the entire putting surface. The two-tiered green is quite slick from back to front and any shot missing the bunkerless-guarded surface will slide severely away from the green. Not long, but quite difficult.

With more views of the city skyline in the background, the par three fourth plays slightly uphill over a lake to a long, diagonal green. Two deep bunkers front the putting surface with spectator-friendly mounding behind the green. A back-left pin with the wind in your face could make this one of the hardest holes on the course.

One of the prettiest holes on the course, the fifth requires pinpoint accuracy off the elevated tee. Stretching to 442 yards from the tips, the aforementioned lake guards the left side of the fairway, while mounding and trees protect the right. A small creek sprints toward the green down the left from the lake and runs right up against the putting surface. The rolling green is 32 yards deep with sand protecting the right. After four fairly easy holes, and I use the term loosely, this one is by far the hardest.

The next can play as a par five or a long par four in tournament play. The beauty of the sixth is its risk-reward opportunities. Playing slightly downhill, the landing area is quite generous off the tee, setting up a chance to get home in two. The risk is that water ranges from 200 yards in down the right side through the green. The layup area, in contrast, is very tight but will leave a simple pitch to the very long green. A bunker left and a small pot bunker right guard the putting surface, which features a chipping area, behind and left. A back-right flag will make this hole quite interesting, especially when going for the green in two.

To reach the fairway on the seventh, a blast of 230 yards is needed from the tournament tees. Two sets of bunkers, one right with three traps and a pair left, guard the fairly wide landing zone. A good tee ball will leave a medium iron to a very long green that bends to the right. A hand-shaped trap encompasses the entire putting surface on the right, while two pot bunkers stand back-left. The green runs from left to right with spectator mounding around the back. Not only one of the longest par fours on the course, but also one of the most difficult.

Long and lean can best describe the par five eighth, as it rambles over 600 yards in length. The elevated tee box shows off the gentle bend to the right. A trio of bunkers down the left side must be avoided off the tee to set up any reasonable chance of an easy layup. Your second shot must miss the traps left and trees and mounding right for a simple third. The peanut-shaped surface is long at 32 paces and is protected by traps left, back and one deep bunker right. The green slopes from back to front and is quite slick. Just because it's a par five, don't expect a birdie. Sometimes par is a good score, especially when it's on the number one handicap hole.
Liberty National Golf Course
The closing hole on the front nine is target golf at its best. First off, your tee shot must split the lake left and the mounding, rough and out of bounds right. Not only that, a creek crosses the fairway at the 150-yard marker, so club selection is important off the tee. From the forward tees, you can cross the creek, however three bunkers left will most certainly come into play. Your approach will be slightly uphill to another long green, with two pot bunkers left and a chipping area right. After playing these two holes, you'll hope for a breather on the next.

OB right, deep fescue and sand left, 513 yards, water left and a dogleg right, this is no way to start the back nine, especially when it's a par four! The 10th is sensational if your a masochist. Even with a 265-yard tee shot from the back buttons, you're still left with a poke of 250 yards, over a creek, avoiding the lake and out-of-bounds and negotiating the 48-yard long green with numerous humps and bumps along the way.

Another unique aspect of Liberty National is its wide variety of par threes. The 11th is the longest of the quartet, stretching to a robust 250 yards. Water hugs the left side and around the back with a 50-yard bunker in between the water and the green. The right side is most definitely the bail-out area, but not an easy up and down, as the green is long and undulating. With a back- left flag and the wind in your face, you might find yourself hitting driver from the back tees.

Options, that's what the 12th hole is all about. A split fairway with bunkers dotting the center rough presents the player with a couple of scenarios. Play right to the wider fairway and leave a longer approach or, go left to the tight landing area and have just a wedge to the green with an open shot at the putting surface. Personally, wide is OK by me and this will leave a short iron to a heavily guarded green that slopes from left to right and back to front. Although fairly short, this hole has quite a bite.

More choices on the 13th, a waterloo of sorts. This devilish par five can be reached in two, however, water stands in your way. With a solid blast off the tee, avoiding numerous traps and out-of-bounds right, the player will have an option of going for the green or laying up. A lake featuring a rock wall fronts the putting surface from 200 yards in. A word of caution: any shot long of the green is jail, as deep fescue resides. The smart play is out to the right of the green, leaving a simple pitch to a very narrow green that runs north and south. The putting surface is very undulating with a large rise toward the back. Any shot short and right will slip back toward the fairway and the chipping areas.

One of the prettiest holes on the course, the 14th is a dandy of a par three jutting out on the peninsula with views of the statue. Just 150 yards, but all carry over fescue with sand left and short-right. The putting surface runs left to right and is very narrow, just 27 paces deep. Club selection is key, as any shot long or left could result in a lost ball. Be happy with three.

In contrast, the 15th is a bear of a par four, bending hard to the left with thick rough, fescue and trees to the right. First of all, the hole measures 481 yards from the back tees and your opening shot must draw around a pair of traps at the corner of the dogleg. Next up, the approach with a mid to long iron, must favor the right side, as a deep 40-yard trap protects the left side of the putting surface. The green itself is 38 yards deep with numerous undulations.

One of the most entertaining and enjoyable holes, the 16th is a reachable par four under 340 yards in length. Bending ever-so slightly to the right, this beauty features a lake, a waterfall and a babbling brook down the right side and an enormous trap left of the green. The fairway is wide, so laying up and leaving yourself a little wedge is certainly an option, but it's more fun to blast for the green and have a go at eagle. The putting surface is long and slopes from back to front, so why not.

As you head for home, the 17th offers another sensational view of our liberty. The task at hand however is not so pretty, as this hole is long and lean. With the wind in your face, this 445-yarder features a tight fairway with fescue right and left, not to mention sand. A medium to long iron will remain if you successfully split the landing area. The putting surface is fairly long with sand short and right. Any shot right and long will be hard to find, so bail left into the chipping area and pray for a short game.

Running along the bay, the final hole is another 400-yard plus gem. The landing area is wide, but trouble lurks off the fairway, with numerous traps and OB right and sand and fescue left. A medium to long iron will be needed to reach the putting surface that sports sand right and left. A beautiful rock wall runs the entire hole down the right side through the green with final views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue.

What can I say, the views are breathtaking and the course is rock solid. Having the opportunity to play Liberty National was and is a real treat. Views of Lady Liberty and Manhattan, not to mention the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the United States, from just a short distance are spectacular. You know what they say, 'Location, location, location.'

The golf course has it all, from rock-lined streams, lakes, waterfalls, gorgeous landscaping, complete with over 5,000 planted mature trees, flowing fescue, splash-like bunkering, conditioning that would make Augusta National and Muirfield Village jealous and a track as tough as nails. The irrigation system alone features 5,200 sprinkler heads, twice the usual number.

What caught my eye, in addition to the views, were the sand traps and the fescue. White splashy sand that washes right up to the fairway and fescue that waves like a flag in the wind.

An outstanding practice facility, a course conveniently located near the greatest city in the world, easy access to the airports of New Jersey and New York and amenities above and beyond, what more could one ask for. One might think that this course is for only the bravest of souls, however with tees ranging from 5,100 to 7,400 yards, all players are capable of enjoying LNGC.

When the clubhouse and nearby condominiums are complete, Liberty National Golf Club will be one of the most exciting venues and destinations in the world. The clubhouse, which will be designed by Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design (, comes with a $30 million price tag. 'Liberty National is about more than just golf, its a lifestyle...from our world-class service and amenities to the latest in technology,' said Dan Fireman. 'With that in mind, we look forward to working with Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design to set a new standard with this clubhouse.' Will it be good enough to host a major event, like a U.S. Open or a PGA Championship? Possibly. Liberty National is already slated to take over as host of a PGA Tour stop in 2009. If this course could be built on waste area, then anything is possible. Don't underestimate the power of money and ingenuity.

Visit the Liberty National Golf Course's website: Liberty National Golf Course


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