The Barclays 2011 at Plainfield Country Club: Understanding This Venue
This weeks Tour stop for the Top 125 players on the FedEx Cup standings list is being held at the Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey. The Purse will be $8M, with the Winner pocketing a cool $1.35M for his efforts.
Since PCC, as it is essentially only known locally, and is a new venue for the Tour, I thought it appropriate to explore this interesting course.
The Plainfield Country Club was formally established in 1904 after being organized as The Hillside Tennis Club in 1890 and the golf course designed in 1916 by Donald Ross.
About ten (10) years ago an extensive re-development was undertaken to modernize the course to challenge the skills of the contemporary player. It has enjoyed the distinction of being considered a "Donald Ross Gem" and consistently ranked in the Top 50 courses in the USA.
PCC has a long history of affecting the local community, even though it might cause one to scratch one's head curiously.
The Country Club is located in Edison, NJ, which is in Middlesex County, but it is named for the city of Plainfield, which is in Union County. This is significant because the Counties have rather different demographics. Plainfield was the hub for business back then, and once known as the "Queen City" but the 1967 riots took their toll on the city. PCC never wavered and remained the haven for members it always was.
PCC continues to have a "Private" membership going back to the days of ethnic exclusion. This actually caused many other country clubs to be instituted in the same sense of exclusivity. While those days would never pass muster with today's "PC" society, they have been successful in retaining and enforcing some rules which many of us would find refreshing, especially that:
"All hat, visors, and caps must be worn peak forward and permitted outdoors only."
"Cell phones and any electronic communication devices may be used only in the cars, in the locker rooms, or pool area. Any of these devices must remain in the car, locker room, or pool area and may not be in the possession of anyone, anywhere else on the property."
The Plainfield Country Club represents many of the styles found across New Jersey.
The course has tight tree-lined Fairways with many blind, over-the-hill type Tee Shots. Their undulating Greens, which will challenge even the most accomplished Putters.
The re-design, while restoring many of Donald Ross' original challenges, did open the course up for some visual trickery as it relates to depth perception. It will tickle the fancy of those who like risk-reward, but by the time that "bug" could bite the players, sensibility will certainly take over.
Normally, August in New Jersey means high temperatures and oppressive humidity. Neither is present right now, however, there's this petulant "lady" named Irene predicted to affect the eastern seaboard by the weekend.
This will make play even more challenging and might even postpone play. If the rain and wind stops, we may very well see another shotmaker's tournament replete with soft Greens. I'd say that an early lead, then steady and heady play, might be rewarded handsomely.
I doubt if you'd find anyone in "Joisey" who will not predict an interesting event, especially after the anomalous earthquake they experienced today !!!
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