Review: Weequahic Golf Course

Course Name: Weequahic Golf Course

Designer: George Low (1913, 9 Holes), Hal Purdy (1969, 18 Holes, Redesign)

Location: Newark, New Jersey

History: The oldest public course in New Jersey, Weequahic was originally a 9-hole course built by Baltusrol pro George Low in 1913. In 1969, Hal Purdy redesigned the course and made it 18 holes. Weequahic is owned by Essex County along with Hendricks Field and Francis Byrne.

Conditions:  6/10, Weequahic has been in decent shape both times I’ve played but features very slow greens and spotty rough. The fairways, teeboxes, and bunkers are generally good.

Value: 7/10, Weequahic offers fairly good value at about $35-40 to walk most days. This is one of the better deals in the NYC area and is a tough weekend teetime to get.


Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                  70            5729              67.6             121

White                70            5561              66.4             112

Gold                  70            4700              62.9             103

Red                   70            4700              67.3              112

Hole Descriptions: At first glance, it might be easy to overlook Weequahic, a municipal course measuring just over 5700 yards from its Blue Tees. If you dive a bit deeper, however, you’ll find a par 70 that plays longer than its distance and features a hilly layout with very small greens. The course is not long by any means, but is tighter and tougher than one would think. Overall, it is part of a robust and very strong Essex County municipal golf scene along with other classic designs Hendricks Field and Francis Byrne. Although my least favorite of the three, Weequahic is more than adequate for what it is and is a good affordable public option for those in the greater New York area.

Weequahic’s opening hole is a solid 330 yard dogleg right par 4 that seems fairly well-preserved from the original 9-hole course over a century ago. This teeshot plays semi-blind over a plateau to a tight fairway that turns right around 175 yards. Accuracy is imperative here as the left side slopes left downhill and the right is guarded by trees and OB the entire way. This green runs back-to-front with several plateaus and is lined by a bunker left. This is a fun hole and undoubtedly one of my favorites here.

The semi-blind teeshot at 1
The 1st approach

Another original, the 2nd hole is an 144 yard par 3 running straight downhill along the edge of the property. This green slopes severely back-to-front and is lined by bunkers left and long.

The par 3 2nd is another fun hole that tests one’s distance control

The 3rd hole was originally only 320 yards but was lengthened by Purdy and is now a strong 500 yard dogleg right par 5. With an intimidating teeshot along the edge of the property, this tight fairway requires an 175 yard carry to reach and turns right immediately with OB right the entire way. At about 300 yards, this fairway starts to rise and features a pair of bunkers down the left that were probably more in play on the original design. This fairway is quite tight for the final 100 yards and features a bunker down the left about 85 yards short of a large, right-to-left sloping green guarded by bunkers on either side.

The par 5 3rd features a tough teeshot
The approach at 3 is a reminder that you’re in an urban setting

The 4th hole is a straightaway 386 yard par 4 featuring sporadic trees on either side and a right crossbunker at 150 yards. A relatively forgettable hole, it is most notable for a wide, severely back-to-front sloped green.

The par 4 4th

At 111 yards, the par 3 5th is Weequahic’s shortest hole and one of its easiest. This one-shotter features a wide, right-to-left sloped green defended by a deep bunker short.

The par 3 5th

The 6th hole is seemingly the first hole that’s completely new from Hal Purdy’s redesign as a 492 yard par 5. Featuring an ugly and claustrophobic teeshot through a chute of fence, this hole remains tight the entire way with a street OB left. At about 120 yards short of this green, the fairway begins to dip into a valley and slopes left-to-right towards a crossbunker 60 yards short. This elevated green is relatively long and flat, defended by a right bunker.

I wonder how many people hit these fences at 6
The 6th approach

At 303 yards, the 7th hole is one of two reachable par fours at Weequahic playing straightaway and semi-blind over a plateau. A fairly weak design, this hole features several trees down the right and a large, back-to-front sloped green defended by a bunker left. Most golfers won’t be able to reach this green, but there’s really no risk/reward elements to the hole that discourage aggressive plays.

The par 4 7th
The approach at 7

The 8th hole is a nice 146 yard par 3 playing downhill through a chute of trees towards an interesting green filled with numerous plateaus.

The par 3 8th

The 9th hole is only 330 yards on the scorecard but is a somewhat difficult hole playing very tight and uphill as a dogleg right. Your teeshot will need to carry at least 190 yards to reach the top of the hill and dogleg, but any further and you might run through the fairway and be blocked out. Once in the fairway, this approach plays slightly downhill towards a large back-to-front sloped green defended by a bunker right.

Hitting the fairway is a must on the 9th
The approach at 9

The 10th hole is the longest par 3 at Weequahic at just 152 yards. A fairly benign hole, this green is relatively flat and defended by a bunker left.

The par 3 10th

At 554 yards, the par 5 11th hole is the course’s longest and also my favorite. Dedicated to longtime pro Wiley Williams, this is a true marathon par 5 beginning with an attractive downhill teeshot to a tight fairway lined by a bunker at 230 yards and OB left. With about 230 yards remaining, this fairway begins to rise and turn slightly left with OB continuing down the left. This green is small for the hole’s length and slopes slightly right-to-left defended by a bunker left.

The par 5 11th is an awesome hole
The 2nd shot at 11

The next three holes are all mid-length dogleg par fours that seem to fit together like puzzle pieces. The 378 yard 12th hole is the best of the group and features a semi-blind teeshot to a fairway that turns right and steadily downhill around 210 yards. This approach is one of the most difficult on the course running back uphill towards a multi-plateaued green defended by a steep slope and bunker right. There are some tough holes on the back and this is certainly one of them.

The semi-blind par 4 12th

The 13th is another tricky hole playing 344 yards as a dogleg left. The golfer is given several options off the tee here, as this hole turns left at about 205 yards with a very tight fairway and bunker left at this point. A hazard through the fairway appears closer than it actually is and a nice draw over the bunker is the preferred play. This green is quite narrow and small and is defended by a bunker short right.

The par 4 13th

The 330 yard 14th hole is the last of the doglegs, this time turning right at about 220 yards with a generous fairway up to this point. As long as you avoid a bunker through this fairway at 230 yards, you’ll be left an uphill approach to a large green containing a back left mound and guarded by a right bunker.

The par 4 14th

The 15th hole is Weequahic’s shortest par 4 at just 294 yards running straightaway and slightly downhill. This very bland hole features a generous fairway and is arguably the easiest on the course if you can avoid a large bunker just short right of a flat green.

The semi-blind nondescript teeshot at 15
The approach at 15

At 401 yards, the 16th is the longest par 4 on the course and is a very difficult hole. This teeshot is again semi-blind and appears very generous, although I’ve twice made the mistake of being too far left and being blocked out on this approach by tall trees. At about 285 yards, this fairway slopes severely downhill and to the left towards a heavily back-to-front sloped green lined by a bunker right. Anything above this hole or long is dead here and par is a very strong score.

The par 4 16th
Tall trees down either side make this approach very intimidating

Although only 148 yards on the scorecard, the 17th hole usually plays longer and is a strong par 3 playing over a valley to an elevated, back-to-front sloped green. Tall trees down either side make this hole feel somewhat claustrophobic and any miss leads to a tricky up-and-down.

The classic par 3 17th

Playing somewhat similar to the neighboring 9th hole, Weequahic’s closing hole is a difficult 386 yard dogleg right par 4. From the  Blue Tees, this teeshot is very difficult through a chute of trees towards an uphill fairway that requires a 220 yard carry to reach the top. Anything in the right bunker at 220 yards or short of the plateau/dogleg leaves a very long and blind approach into a back-to-front sloped green guarded by a bunker left.

Accuracy and length is needed on the 18th to have a reasonable chance at GIR

General Comments: Located in Weequahic Park in South Newark, Weequahic Golf Course features a very urban setting. The clubhouse is small and rudimentary and practice facilities include nets with mats and a small range. Pace of play has been surprisingly quick when I’ve played but this was also during off hours.

Verdict: The oldest public course in New Jersey, the short but classic Weequahic is one of several quality offerings from the Essex County municipal system. It isn’t the best of the group, but is worth a play and offers good value for the area.

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