In what was quite possibly the most interesting weekend in Hoffman Cup history, the usual order of things was turned upside down. Teams that were supposed to win handily often lost, and some teams that are usually way back in the back have been flexing some muscle. Still, three teams are taking a Sherman’s-March-Through-Georgia approach to the whole thing.
Here are a few details.
Historically dominant Baltusrol GC was upended in a pivotal match against Rockaway River CC, 9-3. Both of Rockaway River’s away teams were under par at what had to be a tough Baltusrol track. Morris County GC and Baltusrol are tied with 11 points, with Bayonne GC just behind at 9. But Rockaway is in the driver’s seat with 17 points going into the last round of group play.
For a team that has never finished worse than second in the Hoffman Cup, Black Oak GC had to overcome Saturday’s loss to The Ridge at Back Brook, its first head-to-head loss since 2013 (also against The Ridge!). Black Oak bounced back with a solid 8.5-3.5 win at Trump National GC-Bedminster, but led by only two over Rumson CC and The Ridge -- going into the last day. There are no foregone conclusions here.
Navesink CC collected its biggest points haul ever in waxing formidable Fairmount CC 8.5 to 3.5. With both Metedeconk National GC and Navesink both playing two matches this coming weekend, three teams who are veteran playoff material – The Bedens Brook C, Metedeconk and Fairmount – are in danger of being on the outside looking in.
In another tight group, Canoe Brook CC walloped defending Finalist Mendham GTC on Sunday, 8-4. Upper Montclair CC may have both hands on the tiller in this field, but it would not take much for motivated Mendham, unpredictable Canoe Brook and a determined Mountain Ridge CC to take control. Saturday’s Upper Montclair versus Montclair match should be really interesting.
Loaded Essex County CC has awakened, with an impressive 20.5 points (out of a possible 24) at the expense of Hamilton Farm National GC and Roxiticus GC. Spring Brook CC is still within striking distance of The County for their match on Saturday, but they better bring all their guns.
Plainfield CC had a good weekend, with big wins over both Essex Fells CC and Alpine CC. But on Saturday, they will meet a Ridgewood CC squad that is having its best Hoffman Cup ever. With a scant three-point lead, this group is by no means settled.
In what looked like the most competitive draw in the Hoffman Cup, Knickerbocker CC has squashed the value of prediction with an astounding 22 points and a 10-point lead on usually imposing Manasquan River GC going into their Saturday match. Echo Lake CC’s astonishing 8-4 win over Manasquan River was yet another surprise.
One prediction survived the weekend. Arcola CC has ridden its quality and depth to 21.5 points and a commanding lead in its group. Spring Lake GC has played well, with a surprising 9-3 win over many-time Hoffman Cup champ Montclair GC, but needs to keep it up against rookie team Hollywood GC for a high seed in 2018.
Find each match score at Results above.
|What: Intragroup Matches||What: Semifinals||What: Finals|
|When: Sat, Apr 22; Sun, Apr 23; Sat, Apr 29||When: Saturday, May 6||When: Saturday, May 13|
|Who: Your club vs. the other three clubs in your Group||Who: Each of the eight Group winning clubs||Who: The four semifinalist match winners|
|Where: Each day, two matches home, two matches away||Where: Two matches home, two away; same as Intragroup Matches||Where: Arcola Country Club|
|Format: Two-man better ball, match play, Nassau point system||Format: Winning club of Group A plays the winner of Group H, B vs.G, C vs. F, and D vs. E.; same format / scoring as Intragroup Matches||Format: For each club, four two-man teams; better ball, medal play; best three of four scores count|
One of the most historic and revered clubs in New Jersey will be relegated to Hoffman Cup rookie when the competition tees off on April 22. Hollywood Golf Club, in Deal, will become the 32nd Hoffman Cup club, and is expected to be competitive right off the bat.
Founded in 1898, Hollywood boasts a stunning golf course designed by Walter Travis (1918), updated by Rees Jones (1998) and most recently restored by Tom Doak (2014). Its storied past features member Travis, head professional and two-time major winner Craig Wood and a trove of USGA, MGA, NJSGA and NJPGA championships. As if underscoring Hollywood’s relevance to many Hoffman Cup participants, the 2017 Met Open (Hollywood’s third) will be held at the venerable club later this year, August 22-24.
Rob Wolf, one of Hollywood’s premier players, has been responsible for the club’s inclusion in the Hoffman Cup. He socialized the idea with his club leaders, approached us with the obvious Hollywood value proposition, and waited until the time was right.
We’re honored to have Hollywood in our midst!
Hollywood was invited to join the Hoffman Cup after the recent departure of Liberty National Golf Club, which is understandably focused on the 2017 President’s Cup and numerous other important obligations. We certainly thank Liberty National for its three years of participation and trust that its departure is only temporary.
3 -- The number of Hoffman Cup championships won by Baltusrol Golf Club.
-- The Hoffman Cup clubs that have a spot on GolfWorld magazine's 2016 "Best Modern Courses."
9 -- The Hoffman Cup clubs that boast a spot on GolfWorld magazine's 2016 "Best Classic Courses."
15.5 -- The record improvement, year over year, in intragroup points, by Spring Brook CC (2013-14).
24.9 -- The average number of points by intragroup winners since 2005. That is 8.3 out of 12 possible points per match.
60 -- The number of years
Arthur K. "Red" Hoffman, long-time dean of New Jersey
golf writers, covered New Jersey golf.
$80,000 -- In its first five years, the amount generated by our team captains in support of our First Tee Initiative, which donates funds to support New Jersey's four local First Tee chapters.