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Old York - New Jerseys El Dorado?


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#1 djfalcone

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:30 PM

Ever since I joined this forum I have been lucky enough to meet and play golf with amazing people. There are things about this game that we all try to describe to other people who do not play  - why we love it or why we keep playing even though all we do is – as my wife calls it - “going cussing”. This game can beat you up even on your best day, but what makes it special is the ability to connect with anyone who plays the game; and that’s what I want to talk about today.

I recently (back in August) had the opportunity to caddie for Rory and Johnny Vegas at the Northern Trust Pro-Am and as a GolfWRX and golf fanatic I wrote a review. By doing so I’ve had people say they like my writing and wanted to either know more or just thank me for my service and offer to play some golf. This is where Dewey (dpb5031) comes in.

Dewey is a retired New Jersey State Trooper and golf nut who just so happens to be the epitome of what being a golfer and a gentleman is all about. Dewey reached out to me after reading my thoughts on my experience with Rory and Johnny, wanted to thank me for my service and treat me to some golf at the club he belongs to (and just so happens to be the club champion and on the board of directors) which is a private club here in New Jersey called Old York.

Old York is the club you dream of being a member at and everything you hope being a part of a club should be. I started my experience driving up the driveway trying to take everything in. I couldn’t help but try to look at the greens that lined the way in and try to captivate the flowing fairways in my memory. Driving up to drop off my bag was fulfilling knowing that today's round of golf was going to be if nothing else exciting.

I got to the club early to eat a bit of lunch, check out the grounds and try to work on some putting before Dewey and others from the group were to be there. I was pointed to the bar and grille by one of the staff members and the moment I entered the room I knew this place was a proper golf club. The interior was a mixture of old and distinguished with a touch of modern amenities. The bartender Steve welcomed me in like I belonged there - took my drink order while I looked at the menu. I of course asked what was good there food wise; his reply was everything. I settled on a salad and a few beers (thanks for lunch Dewey!) watched some of the Presidents Cup before going to check out the range and putting green while I soaked in the grounds.

So as a golfer I want to speak specifically about the putting green – this is how you know a course or club is a proper club...the greens. If the staff pays just as much attention to the practice green you know not only the greens, but also the course gets just as much attention. I have only played a VERY few nice courses – the military pays, but it doesn’t pay that good – and this is by far my top 3. The greens rolled so true and smooth – as most of you know there isn’t a better feeling than watching a perfectly stroked putt head toward your indented target.  

After messing around outside a bit, Dewey texted me letting me know he had arrived and we met in the bar (what better place right?). We both get a drink and start small talk to better know each other. Now I want to be very clear by repeating myself – Dewey was not only kind, open and professional – but he wanted to know more about me, my military experience and the things that brought me to New Jersey – he is a true gentleman and I seriously can’t say enough good things about him. We finish our drinks then headed outside to meet our playing partners.

Outside we run into Randy and Joe. Randy and Joe are the guys from high school you’re still friends with. Randy was a cool and calm kind of guy who not only played great golf, but also was another example of a true gentleman is. Joe on the other hand is one of those guys I would love to enjoy a few beers with and just hear him talk about the things that piss him off. He had me laughing from the moment we met and he - like Dewey and Randy – made me feel welcome to the club and the group. If I were to be invited back, this is the group of guys I would want to spend my day with.

The course – oh you didn’t think I was going to skip talking about the course did you?! – is amazing. The grounds are situated on (if not mistaken) 180 acres of New Jersey countryside and the course itself is a Gary Player design – Mr. Player also resided over the opening ceremony of the club. Now I’ve played one other Gary Player design (TPC Jansa Polana) and I can tell you – you must have a partner with local knowledge.  There are multiple blind shots, tall fescue, tight fairways and a bunch treacherous spots you just need to avoid.  Dewey was happy to share and help me navigate the course like a seasoned pro (remember that time I said he was the club champion – oh yeah, he name is plastered all around the inside of the clubhouse).

Throughout our time on the course we all talked more and got to know each other and even get the banter going pretty good. All the guys I played with really shined in their play and their hospitality, but more importantly they showed me how they treat others and their guests – phenomenally. For all of you equipment nuts; Dewey still plays a Arnold Palmer AP30R which is about 50 years old and has been in his bag for 25 years. Dewey told me it had been passed down from an uncle who was an assistant pro under Claude Harmon at Winged Foot many years ago.

At the end of our round – which happened to be in the darkness of a beautiful September evening - we all showed each other the proper respect for each other and the game, then headed over the club house to talk and have a few drinks. Now I had fun literally the entire time I was on the grounds, but I love having a few drinks and really getting to know the people I was with. We sit down, order drinks, meet some of the other guys from the club and grabbed some dinner. Remember earlier when I mentioned Steve had told me all the food was good there – he wasn’t lying.

At dinner we spoke more about the club, how long some of the members have been around and what really drove them all to join. Dewey is one of the original (charter) members. He joined the club in 1993 during the pre-construction, just 2 years after picking up the game at 25. Something I found interesting was the enthusiasm from the guys at the table for the men's groups with games for various abilities and betting preferences. These groups are nearly everyday of the week including weekends.  These groups are 100% welcoming with anyone interested in joining simply needing to express an interest.

This is by far the most important thing I want to be made completely clear – Old York and its membership is the only thing that made my experience worth sitting down and telling you about it. The guys there are what you hope and expect from a club. At no point throughout my entire day did I feel like I wasn’t welcomed or over stepping my boundaries walking around the grounds or checking out the clubhouse. The members I spent time with really emphasized that Old York is an accessible, unpretentious, and affordable non-equity private club with no real barrier to entry as long as you can handle the annual dues.  There is currently no initiation fee, although at one time (pre-recession) it was as high as $25,000.

They have members from all walks of life, some working class tradesmen, others of substantial wealth and members of multiple other high-end clubs.  Most of the wealthy guys who belong to these other prestigious places express that Old York is their favorite place to spend time with friends. Another interesting thing about Old York, the club is especially accommodating to "young executive" members (under 40 years of age).  Members in this category pay dues that are approximately 50% that of regular full Tier I dues.

In closing, I want to thank Dewey for his hospitality and his willingness to host me at Old York. I can’t put into words how thankful I am for his hospitality and patience with me on the golf course. If you’re ever in central New Jersey or in the area and you’re looking for a club to join – do it and do it now, you won’t regret it.

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^^I caddied for Rory and JVegas

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#2 dpb5031

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 12:10 PM

Glad you enjoyed the day Dan...we'll do it again!  Keep working on that deep hip turn! 😊

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#3 eagles1

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 03:15 PM

DJFalcone

Nothing surprises me about your post.  I have known Dewey for 25 years.  We met at the club.  I was an original member as well.  Your comments about him are spot on.  They don't come any classier - both on and off the course.

Don't worry - he tells me to work on a deeper hip turn as well, contemporaneously with me reaching into my wallet to pay off yet another bet.  ;).

All good though, he throws that money (and then some) on the table for the drinks.

Laughs are on the house...and with the crew at OYCC, they are plentiful.

Glad you enjoyed the experience.

Cheers

Edited by eagles1, 10 October 2017 - 03:27 PM.


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#4 osugolfguy

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:02 AM

Old York is a really cool golf course.  I tend to like Gary Player designs and Old York is no different.  Haven't played it since I was in high school but each of the 3-4 times I was out there, it was in very good shape and a great piece of land.
There used to be an MLB alumni outing I'd play in with my father, uncle and cousin...they'd partner us with an ex baseball player and they were always awesome to play with.

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