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Jack Davis

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Plainfield Restoration Update
« on: November 25, 2008, 11:51:13 PM »
I had the opportunity to play Plainfield this past Monday during what I have said for five times now would be my last round of the year. The club has taken Gil Hanse's master plan to the next stage by restoring the remaining bunkers to their original shapes and proper locations. I brought my camera home from college just to take pictures of the course but of course left it at home. Alas... I'll go over a quick rundown of the changes since I played the course about a year and a half ago.

1. Every bunker is now deeper with higher lips and a few more trees down the left side have been removed.

5. First fairway bunker on the right is moved further from the tee and into the new landing area. Also, the rest of the fairway bunkers have been reshaped, moved closer to play and the lips are so high that only the tallest golfers will be able to see the greens from in them. Finally the set of bunkers just short of the green have been deepened and the lips raised as to really throw off the golfer's depth perception on his third shot.

6. All the bunkers surrounding this small green have been deepened and restored to the original Ross design. New lips hide a bit more of the green from the tee.

7. New bunkers just short of the fairway really make depth perception tricky on the tee shot. The bunkers left of the fairway have gone from some of the worst to some of the best with new shapes and grass faces coming all the way down to the sand. Dramatic change both visually and in terms of playability. Much more penal!

8. The fairway within 100 yards of the green is being shifted left up the hillside and away from the large tree that blocks your second shot. An additional bunker is being added short and left of the green where a few large trees used to be. The front right greenside trap is also being remodeled. These changes make the second shot on this par 5 more appealing for the long hitters but may leave a really difficult bunker shot for a third.

9. The cross bunker complex has undergone a massive change. They have been moved slightly closer to the tee taking driver out of the accomplished golfer's hands. Also, the new traps are VERY deep with huge grass faces coming down into the sand. I would say this is the best bunker complex on the front nine and makes the tee shot very intimidating.

10. Finally! The drainage pond on the inside of the dogleg is being removed and will most likely be replaced with a creek similar to that on 12.

12. Right greenside bunker is being deepened and restored.

14. Back tee on this daunting par 3 pushes the yardage to nearly 230 yards!

17. The slope short of the green has been shaved down and new bunkers have been shaped. Any ball that doesn't make it to this skyline green will either roll 50 yards down the hill or get caught in a new bunker.

With more changes to come and a few more bunkers to be restored Plainfield will be one of the finest Ross courses in the country. Kudos to the club for following Hanse's plan so well and continuing to invest serious funds into their beautiful course. I can't wait to see the course again!
Jack Davis, PGA
Essex County Club

Tom Naccarato

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 01:22:50 AM »
Jack,
I'm convinced that Plainfield is one of the great courses in this country that flies way too far below the radar. It's outstanding. Simply outstanding. My favorite Ross.

Andrew Hastie

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 04:54:29 AM »
Here are the photos!
I played Plainfield about 2 months ago and enjoyed it immensely. Holes 13, 14 are a little out of character to the rest of the course.
The 18th also doesn't really fit in either.
But it's a absolute must play.

2nd Hole Par 4  432       from the fairway


3rd Hole par 3  180 


4th Hole  Par 4  355          Tee shot


7th Hole Par 4  471          from the fairway


looking back to the tee on 7.


8th Hole Par 5  511   view from behind the green


11th Hole Par 3   148


9th Hole Par 4  368     Tee shot


looking across to the 2nd green from 12


12th Hole Par 5   588       from fairway


looking back to 12th tee


looking back up the 12th hole, 16th fairway on right


17th Hole Par 4   427
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 04:44:17 AM by Andrew Hastie »

Matt_Ward

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2008, 10:39:32 AM »
Jack, Tom and Andrew:

I've said for many years that Plainfield is NJ's #2 layout and frankly I'm amazed that some see the two-course layout in Springfield as the better choice.

Not I.

One other thing -- the work by Hanse has now full captured the majesty of that glorious site. Kudos to his creative skills and to the membership for bringing to life such a classic course.

I think a good case can be made that Plainfield is easily among the metro NYC's area top 10 courses and can warrant consideration for a top five placement.

Mike_Cirba

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2008, 11:34:10 AM »
Plainfield is a wonderful course, made even better by this recent ongoing work.

Thanks for updating us, Jack and Andrew! 

Jack Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2008, 11:38:28 AM »
Andrew-

 Great pictures. The new bunker complex of 9 makes the ones in your photos seem easy. I really can't believe how large and deep they have made the cross bunkers. Also, its no secret that the tunnel holes of 13-15 aren't the most Ross holes on the course but two years go they built a large ridge into the fairway on 13 to help it fit in with the rest of the course. I would agree that the 13th green is the worst on the course. The par 3 14th has got to be one of the most challenging one shot holes around. Measuring 225 yards, approach shots into this green are extremely difficult. The small humps and bumps in this green remind me more of Somerset Hills than Plainfield. Finally 15 is a good short par 4 that could have been even better if the club acquired the land behind the 15th tee. 15 also has a very underrated green complex with a slippery slope to a chipping area right of the green.

Matt-

 I completely agree with you and I know the members of Plainfield do as well. Personally I have played Baltusrol as well and I feel Plainfield is much better. Not saying PCC is a Doak 10 but I really feel one MUST play every hole at Plainfield whereas they could skip a few at Balty and be ok.
Jack Davis, PGA
Essex County Club

Mike Nuzzo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2008, 12:33:10 PM »
Can someone post a before picture of #11.
I don't remember what bunkering was there previously - and I thought it was a great little hole.
Thank you.

Gobble Gobble
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil & Tiger.

Carl Nichols

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2008, 01:33:56 PM »
A good friend of mine was in the process of joining Plainfield but lost his job as a result of the economic downturn, and now isn't in a position to join.  Needless to say, he's very disappointed about not joining (though I think it's not the biggest issue on his mind).  He absolutely loves the place. 

Matt_Cohn

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2008, 01:41:10 PM »
Can someone label the hole numbers please?

Nicholas Coppolo

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2008, 04:16:07 PM »
I had my best friend (a club pro in South Texas) up in May and we were fortunate to arrange play at 6 fantastic courses in 3 days.  We spent a day in Weschester, a day in the Hamptons and a day in Jersey.  Plainfield was the only course we played that is not a "household name". I'll let you assume the other courses we played, you'll probably be right.  Plainfield was the most interesting, varied, exciting and most fun golf course we played over those 3 days.  We played it on our first day and felt essentially let down by the more storied courses that followed.  That being said, we felt very thankful to be playing all those courses and they were all truly world-class, but Plainfield was very, very special in comparison to the others.

I did not love the bizarre and entirely out of place pond on 10.....I can't remember, is Hanse correcting this?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 04:22:28 PM by Nicholas Coppolo »

PThomas

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 04:18:53 PM »
Plainfield is a wonderful course, made even better by this recent ongoing work.


my thoughts exactly!
195 played, only 5 to go!!

Matt_Ward

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008, 05:12:22 PM »
Like I said before -- do people who have played Plainfield feel it as the goods now to be rated among the top five courses in the metro NYC area?

That's a tall order given the overall competition.

Be curious to hear from those who have played a fair representation of the elite.

I personally see the course in the top 10 -- the top five is pushing it just a tad -- no disrespect to Plainfield but the competition is THAT good. Although I'd happy to make a case for it. ;D


Chris Cupit

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2008, 05:16:26 PM »
Very cool look.  The pics #3 and #7 are terrific.  I know nothing about the course but the pics alone are terrific.  That green/bunker complex in pic #7 looks great and must be tougher than nails when the greens and approaches are firm and fast. 

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2008, 05:32:53 PM »
For those that have a set of pix I would very much like to see a photo tour of Plainfield.  Its one of those places that really only came under my radar since joining this site and all the tid bit pix I have seen are most impressive.  How bout it?

BTW The last time I pitched a bitch about wanting to see a photo tour we were treated with a wonderful tour of Lawsonia by Mr Moore - so the entire board should get behind me!

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Nicholas Coppolo

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2008, 07:19:46 PM »
Like I said before -- do people who have played Plainfield feel it as the goods now to be rated among the top five courses in the metro NYC area?

That's a tall order given the overall competition.

Be curious to hear from those who have played a fair representation of the elite.

I personally see the course in the top 10 -- the top five is pushing it just a tad -- no disrespect to Plainfield but the competition is THAT good. Although I'd happy to make a case for it. ;D

Based on your famous post "Metro Area top 50":
If you only include Wchester/Nassau/and Northern Jersey....I think there's a real case for top 5, but I haven't played WF East, and while I appreciate Bayonne I just have a hard time appreciating manufactured landscapes (my own issue, don't kill me) so it doesn't figure in for me.

If you include Suffolk, I think Plainfield is still top 10, but there are 3 exceptional courses in the Hamptons that may keep it out of the top 5.  (I have not played Maidstone)

Ash Towe

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2008, 08:14:48 PM »
I will support Sean for a photo tour.  I had the pleasure of playing Plainfield a couple of years ago and thought it was great.  It is one of those courses that I could play every weekend.
I am also very grateful to the person who arranged a great golfing experience for me.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2008, 08:27:26 PM »
Andrew Hastie,

I often hear people being critical of holes 13, 14 and 15, claiming that they're not like the rest of the golf course.

There's a reason for that.
The topography on holes 13, 14 and 15 is vastly different from the rest of the course.

If someone hadn't told you, or others, that those holes were added afterward, I doubt you'd notice a difference.

It's interesting that noone complains that # 12 isn't an original hole and that the original hole/s should be restored.

Matt Ward,

I agree with you.
Plainfield is a wonderful golf course.
What makes it all the better is a membership that's a "golfing" membership that takes great pride in their gem of a golf course, and conditions it to match.

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2008, 08:42:15 PM »
Loads of tree clearing since I last played there, bunkering redo looks great too.

But the fairway and rough cuts look almost as crap as Merion's; why aren't the fairway bunkers in the fairway?
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Tom Naccarato

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2008, 08:45:38 PM »
Patrick, I echo your sentiments. Plainfield is a great membership that seem to get it.

Matt_Ward

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2008, 12:06:33 AM »
Nicholas:

No doubt the nature of a Bayonne and Plainfield are two entirely unique styles of golf design. I believe in a bit of elasticity in regards to having vastly different courses only adds to the depth of first rate courses in the metro NYC area.

I understand the comments of the naysayers on Bayonne but keep in mind all the fanfare that a place like Shadow Creek gets and I see the Jersey equivalent of that to be far better.

In regards to a top five (5) placement in the metro area -- that would be a tough fit for Plainfield because it would be taking head on a number of absolute gems with the likes of Shinnecock, NGLA, WF/W, Sebonack and Fisher's Island -- there's a possibility for Plainfield inclusions but just to be mentioned in the same breath with these home run courses speaks very highly of the only Jersey course that could make a solid case for a top ten position.

The real issue for Plainfield is the lack of attention it often gets. No doubt those "in the know" do know what it offers -- but if you ask many people outside a 75-mile radius of the club if they know of the course you'll likely get many people simply scratching their head and saying -- what's the name of that course again ?

Andrew Hastie

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2008, 05:06:57 AM »
Matt,

The holes are now all labeled. Please excuse me for not doing it in the first place.

By the way the club has a website:
http://www.plainfieldcc.com/club/scripts/public/public.asp?GRP=7&NS=PUBLIC


I also found a photo before the trees were removed on the 2nd.


And after. What a difference.



Patrick,
Whether you would know or not that 13,14,15 are new holes, I'll never know, because I knew before I played.
However after playing the very nice 3rd hole, 14 feels like a bit too much water on the par 3s.
It doesn't seem right.

By the way does anybody know if the pond on 3 is original or was it also a creek.

Norbert P

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2008, 12:50:51 PM »
    Hail Caesar !!!  Veni vidi vici !


   Go Hypercycloids !!!

"Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure and widens your world." USX slogan.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 12:56:02 PM by Slag Bandoon »
"Golf is only meant to be a small part of one’s life, centering around health, relaxation and having fun with friends/family." R"C"M

James Bennett

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Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2008, 05:04:36 PM »
The layout of Plainfield before the changes is attached.  It implies that the lake on #3 has always been there.

#12 is a wonderful hole as a par 5.  The main difference to me of #13 and #14 versus other holes was the relative flatness of land there compared to the rest of the course.  You can't have everything.

Pleased to hear that the lake on #10 is gone/going.  Are there any plans for improvements to #18?  That seemed to be the 'least best' hole to me from my one play.

James B

« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 05:07:04 PM by James Bennett »
Bob; its impossible to explain some of the clutter that gets recalled from the attic between my ears. .  (SL Solow)

Matt_Ward

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2008, 06:15:19 PM »
James:

Plenty of people mention the closing hole at Plainfield and some have opined that's weak. I would just offer this ...

Getting into solid position off the tee is not an automatic play -- most will club down but a few will try to air driver over the corner of the dog-leg although the gain from doing so is so-so at best.

The approach is central to one's success because of a spine that runs the length of the green -- a quick three-jack is very easy to do.

As far as any changes -- you can't lengthen the hole and the turning point in the fairway limits much improvement from that dimension.

The 18th at Plainfield isn't a great hole -- but it has just enough bite to keep players honest. Keep in mind, it would not surprise me to see the club play the nines in reverse order, as they did w the '87 Women's Open so that the 9th brings the players immediately in front of the clubhouse.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Plainfield Restoration Update
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2008, 11:20:06 PM »
Matt Ward,

I think those who cite less than extremely challenging/difficult 18th holes as weak have capitulated to the medal play mentality.

The great, great majority of golf at local clubs is conducted at match play.

In a good percentage of the matches, the 18th hole is irrelevant.

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