Small New Jersey town to open municipal golf course, expected to open next year

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. — The township is expecting to open its own golf course, Old Bridge Golf Club at Rose and Lambertson, next year.

Township Planner Venna Sawant told the planning board that the facility’s miniature golf course and driving range are projected to open next spring. The regulation, par 71 18-hole golf course will open later, between Memorial Day and July 4 in 2023.

“It’s happening and it’s happening soon,” Sawant said.

Minor construction on the Amboy and Lambertson roads property was expected to begin this week.

Mayor Owen Henry said the project has been discussed for decades but never got off the tee.

“Here we are in March of 2022 and it’s coming to fruition at no cost to the taxpayers of Old Bridge because of a redevelopment plan that’s happening in other parts of the town,” Henry said. “I’m certainly excited to have a golf course in town. It’s unique because there’s not a lot of golf courses being built these days.”

Efrem Gerszberg, owner of 2020 Acquisitions, a national real estate development company, agreed to build the course, which will be turned over to the township.

Gerszberg said last year that he will be spending more than $8 million on the “first-class” design by New Jersey golf course architect Stephen Kay.

“The design of the golf course was largely driven by the existence of wetlands and environmental constraints on the property,” Sawant said. “There are numerous ponds to help irrigation and water conservation.”

The conceptual plan by golf course architect Stephen Kay of Old Bridge’s municipal golf course now under construction.

The course layout is unusual because, unlike most American golf courses, the ninth hole will not return to the clubhouse. Instead, the hole will be at the furthest corner of the property and a halfway house with restrooms is planned by the 11th tee.

The entrance to the course will be from Lambertson Road where a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse and 110 parking spaces are planned, Sawant said.

There may be some overflow parking spots added, Gerszberg said.

On that side of the road will be the miniature golf course, a practice putting green, and a practice range. The first three holes will also be on that side of the road.

“The majority of the golf course is to the south of Lambertson Road,” she said.

Township Engineer Nicole Shapiro outlined the safety features that will be put in place to alert motorists of the golf cart crossing on Lambertson Road.

The project also includes a 5,000 square foot maintenance building with about 10 parking spaces in the southwest corner of the site.

Gerszberg said the clubhouse will have restrooms, a pro-shop, and a concession area that will offer easy-pick foods and tables. There will also be a cart barn.

The miniature golf course will include water features and hills, Gerszberg said.

Business Administrator Himanshu Shah said the Rose and Lambertson tracts were purchased using state Green Acres funds and there are restrictions.

“It will be a three-tier rate – residents, statewide, and then out-of-state rate,” he said.

Township residents will be charged the lowest green fees, he said.

The mayor said the course will draw people to the township and can be also be used by the township’s special needs population with Camp Robin.

Management of the golf course is going to be outsourced to a private firm

“It’s not going to be in-house municipal management,” Shah said.

The developer will manage the golf course for the first five years, he said.

The developer is going to guarantee township revenue from the operation regardless of whether he makes a profit or not, Shah said, adding it’s a “win-win” for the township.

Henry said the farmhouse on the site has deteriorated “to a point of no return.”

He said he is commissioning a landscape artist to create a rendition of the farmhouse “in its glory,” which will be displayed in the clubhouse. He also said the Madison-Old Bridge Township Historical Society will provide factual information on the background of the site, which will be displayed on a plaque.