Course Architects: Tom Kite and Robert Cupp
Year Opened: 2006
Location: Jersey City, New Jersey
Slope: 151. Rating: 77.7
Par: 71
Yardage: 7,353
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 398 Yds    10 - Par 4 496 Yds
                      2 - Par 3 219 Yds    11 - Par 3 250 Yds
                      3 - Par 4 395 Yds    12 - Par 4 431 Yds
                      4 - Par 3 193 Yds    13 - Par 5 563 Yds
                      5 - Par 4 427 Yds    14 - Par 3 150 Yds
                      6 - Par 5 538 Yds    15 - Par 4 481 Yds
                      7 - Par 4 467 Yds    16 - Par 4 325 Yds
                      8 - Par 5 611 Yds    17 - Par 4 445 Yds
                      9 - Par 4 474 Yds    18 - Par 4 490 Yds
                      Par 36  3,722 Yds     Par 35  3,631 Yds

Events Held: The Barclays (2009, 2013).


HISTORY:  Let me  get this  straight. You  have a  contaminated piece  of land
across  the  water from New  York City and  you want to  build, a what, a golf
course on top of it and you want to host a major championship! Are you kidding

Well,  that's exactly  what Reebok CEO Paul  Fireman has in mind for the newly
created Liberty National Golf Club.

Located  in  Jersey City,  New Jersey,  overlooking one  of this nation's most
treasured  sites, the  Statue of  Liberty and  the Manhattan  skyline, Liberty
National  has been in  the works since 1996. Fireman and his son Dan purchased
the  160 acres of undesirable property and enlisted the services of World Golf
Hall  of  Fame member Tom  Kite and  Bob Cupp to  weave some magic. And that's
exactly what they did.

Upon  his first visit to the property, Kite commented that he "hated the site,
but loved the location." With only two feet of elevation and plenty of permits
and limitations due to the environment, Liberty National was going to be tough

Start  with  a "plastic bag"  of sorts covering  the entire piece of property.
Then,  add three to four feet of sand on top, that's three million cubic yards
of  earth, with  no contours  and now  you can  start sculpting,  not digging.
According  to Kite,  "There is nothing natural about Liberty National. This is
what  you can do with a little bit of vision and a whole lot of money." Devoid
of any form of vegetation, every tree and bush on the course was hand planted.
Every cart path of brick was painstakingly laid by laborers. This was no small
chore.  Since the late  '90s, Kite and Cupp had drafted more than 90 different
routing  plans,  prior to the  beginning of construction  in 2003 and prior to
joining forces with Fireman.

Fireman  spent  millions on  Liberty National, roughly  $150 million, the most
expensive  golf  course ever built,  to create an  experience for the rich and
famous.  The  exclusive club features  luxurious amenities, such as a private,
high-speed  boat ride from Wall Street to the course across the Upper New York
Bay in just 15 minutes. With all that in mind, this is quite a big ticket. How
large,  how  about a $500,000  initiation fee for  anyone who's got the dough.
This will not be a restricted club, just one that's restricted to the wealthy.

Liberty National played host to the PGA Tour's best in 2009, as Heath Slocum
outdueled Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker by one
shot to capture The Barclays, the first event in the FedEx Cup series. Four
shots behind heading into the final round, Slocum fired a four-under 67,
including a 20-foot putt for par on the last hole to preserve the win. The low
round for the week was 65, turned in by Paul Goydos, Sergio Garcia, Steve
Marino and Greg Owen.

REVIEW:  Liberty National  opens with a solid, dogleg right par four under 400
yards  in length. Playing slightly downhill, just a fairway metal or long iron
is  needed to thread  the fairway that features a creek running down the right
side  and in front  of the green. A short iron approach to a wide, but shallow
green will remain. A great opening hole with Manhattan to your back.

Playing back toward the city, the second hole is awe-inspiring as you stand on
the tee and view the Statue of Liberty in the foreground. You'll need to focus
on this 200-yard plus par three from the tips. A long bunker guards the entire
left  side  of the  green, while  one pot  bunker right  and another trap deep
provide quite a difficult target. Let's not forget that the putting surface is
34 yards long.

The  third  is a  dynamite par four,  requiring a 230-yard  carry to reach the
fairway.  The landing  area is  quite narrow  with deep  fescue flanking  both
sides.  The  second shot  plays downhill  to a green  that features slopes and
grass  hollows surrounding the entire putting surface. The two-tiered green is
quite  slick  from back to  front and  any shot missing the bunkerless-guarded
surface  will  slide  severely  away  from the  green.  Not  long,  but  quite

With  more views  of the city skyline  in the background, the par three fourth
plays  slightly uphill over a lake to a long, diagonal green. Two deep bunkers
front the putting surface with spectator-friendly mounding behind the green. A
back-left  pin with  the wind in your  face could make this one of the hardest
holes on the course.

One of the prettiest holes on the course, the fifth requires pinpoint accuracy
off   the   elevated  tee.  Stretching  to   442  yards  from  the  tips,  the
aforementioned  lake  guards the left side  of the fairway, while mounding and
trees  protect the right. A small creek sprints toward the green down the left
from the lake and runs right up against the putting surface. The rolling green
is 32 yards deep with sand protecting the right. After four fairly easy holes,
and I use the term loosely, this one is by far the hardest.

The  next  can play as a  par five or a  long par four in tournament play. The
beauty  of  the  sixth  is its  risk-reward  opportunities.  Playing  slightly
downhill,  the landing area is quite generous off the tee, setting up a chance
to  get home in  two. The risk is that water ranges from 200 yards in down the
right  side through the  green. The layup area, in contrast, is very tight but
will  leave a  simple pitch to the very  long green. A bunker left and a small
pot  bunker  right guard the putting  surface, which features a chipping area,
behind  and  left. A  back-right flag  will make  this hole quite interesting,
especially when going for the green in two.

To  reach the fairway  on the seventh, a blast of 230 yards is needed from the
tournament  tees. Two  sets of bunkers, one  right with three traps and a pair
left,  guard the fairly wide landing zone. A good tee ball will leave a medium
iron  to a  very  long green  that  bends  to the  right.  A hand-shaped  trap
encompasses  the  entire putting surface  on the  right, while two pot bunkers
stand  back-left.  The green runs  from left  to right with spectator mounding
around the back. Not only one of the longest par fours on the course, but also
one of the most difficult.

Long  and lean  can best describe the  par five eighth, as it rambles over 600
yards  in length. The elevated tee box shows off the gentle bend to the right.
A trio of bunkers down the left side must be avoided off the tee to set up any
reasonable  chance of an easy layup. Your second shot must miss the traps left
and  trees and mounding right for a simple third. The peanut-shaped surface is
long  at  32 paces and  is protected  by traps left,  back and one deep bunker
right.  The green  slopes from back to  front and is quite slick. Just because
it's  a par  five, don't  expect  a birdie.  Sometimes  par is  a good  score,
especially when it's on the number one handicap hole.

The closing hole on the front nine is target golf at its best. First off, your
tee  shot must  split the lake left  and the mounding, rough and out of bounds
right.  Not only that,  a creek crosses the fairway at the 150-yard marker, so
club  selection is important off the tee. From the forward tees, you can cross
the creek, however three bunkers left will most certainly come into play. Your
approach  will be  slightly uphill to another long green, with two pot bunkers
left and a chipping area right. After playing these two holes, you'll hope for
a breather on the next.

OB right, deep fescue and sand left, 513 yards, water left and a dogleg right,
this  is no  way to start the back  nine, especially when it's a par four! The
10th  is sensational  if your a masochist.  Even with a 265-yard tee shot from
the  back buttons,  you're still left with  a poke of 250 yards, over a creek,
avoiding  the  lake and  out-of-bounds and negotiating  the 48-yard long green
with numerous humps and bumps along the way.

Another  unique aspect  of Liberty National is its wide variety of par threes.
The  11th  is the  longest of the  quartet, stretching to  a robust 250 yards.
Water  hugs the left side and around the back with a 50-yard bunker in between
the  water and the green. The right side is most definitely the bail-out area,
but not an easy up and down, as the green is long and undulating. With a back-
left  flag and  the wind in your  face, you might find yourself hitting driver
from the back tees.

Options,  that's what the 12th hole is all about. A split fairway with bunkers
dotting  the center rough presents the player with a couple of scenarios. Play
right  to  the wider fairway  and leave  a longer approach  or, go left to the
tight landing area and have just a wedge to the green with an open shot at the
putting surface. Personally, wide is OK by me and this will leave a short iron
to  a heavily guarded  green that slopes from left to right and back to front.
Although fairly short, this hole has quite a bite.

More  choices on the  13th, a waterloo of sorts. This devilish par five can be
reached  in two, however, water stands in your way. With a solid blast off the
tee,  avoiding numerous traps and out-of-bounds right, the player will have an
option  of  going for  the green  or laying up.  A lake  featuring a rock wall
fronts the putting surface from 200 yards in. A word of caution: any shot long
of  the  green is jail, as  deep fescue resides. The  smart play is out to the
right  of the  green, leaving a simple  pitch to a very narrow green that runs
north  and  south. The  putting surface  is very undulating  with a large rise
toward  the back.  Any shot short and  right will slip back toward the fairway
and the chipping areas.

One  of the prettiest  holes on the course, the 14th is a dandy of a par three
jutting out on the peninsula with views of the statue. Just 150 yards, but all
carry  over  fescue with sand  left and  short-right. The putting surface runs
left  to right and  is very narrow, just 27 paces deep. Club selection is key,
as any shot long or left could result in a lost ball. Be happy with three.

In  contrast, the 15th  is a bear of a par four, bending hard to the left with
thick  rough, fescue  and trees to the  right. First of all, the hole measures
481  yards from the back tees and your opening shot must draw around a pair of
traps  at the  corner of the dogleg. Next  up, the approach with a mid to long
iron, must favor the right side, as a deep 40-yard trap protects the left side
of  the putting  surface. The  green  itself is  38 yards  deep with  numerous

One  of the most entertaining and enjoyable holes, the 16th is a reachable par
four  under  340 yards in length.  Bending ever-so slightly to the right, this
beauty  features a lake,  a waterfall and a babbling brook down the right side
and  an enormous trap left of the green. The fairway is wide, so laying up and
leaving  yourself a little  wedge is certainly an option, but it's more fun to
blast  for the  green and have a go  at eagle. The putting surface is long and
slopes from back to front, so why not.

As you head for home, the 17th offers another sensational view of our liberty.
The task at hand however is not so pretty, as this hole is long and lean. With
the  wind  in your face, this  445-yarder features a tight fairway with fescue
right  and left, not to mention sand. A medium to long iron will remain if you
successfully  split the  landing area. The putting surface is fairly long with
sand  short and  right. Any shot right and  long will be hard to find, so bail
left into the chipping area and pray for a short game.

Running  along the  bay, the  final  hole is  another 400-yard  plus gem.  The
landing  area is  wide, but trouble lurks off the fairway, with numerous traps
and OB right and sand and fescue left. A medium to long iron will be needed to
reach  the  putting surface that sports  sand right and left. A beautiful rock
wall  runs  the entire hole  down the right side  through the green with final
views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue.

FINAL  WORD: What can I say, the views are breathtaking and the course is rock
solid.  Having the  opportunity to  play Liberty  National was  and is  a real
treat.  Views of  Lady Liberty  and Manhattan,  not to  mention the  Verrazano
Narrows  Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the United States, from just
a short distance are spectacular. You know what they say, "Location, location,

The  golf course  has  it  all, from  rock-lined  streams, lakes,  waterfalls,
gorgeous  landscaping, complete  with over 5,000 planted mature trees, flowing
fescue,  splash-like  bunkering, conditioning that would make Augusta National
and  Muirfield  Village jealous and a  track as tough as nails. The irrigation
system alone features 5,200 sprinkler heads, twice the usual number.

What  caught  my eye, in  addition to  the views, were  the sand traps and the
fescue. White splashy sand that washes right up to the fairway and fescue that
waves like a flag in the wind.

An  outstanding practice  facility,  a course  conveniently  located near  the
greatest  city in the world, easy access to the airports of New Jersey and New
York  and amenities  above and beyond, what  more could one ask for. One might
think  that  this course is  for only the bravest  of souls, however with tees
ranging from 5,100 to 7,400 yards, all players are capable of enjoying LNGC.

When the clubhouse and nearby condominiums are complete, Liberty National Golf
Club  will be  one of the most  exciting venues and destinations in the world.
The clubhouse, which will be designed by Lindsay Newman Architecture and
Design (, comes with a $30 million price tag. "Liberty
National is about more than just golf, it’s a lifestyle...from our world-class
service and amenities to the latest in technology," said Dan Fireman. "With
that in mind, we look forward to working with Lindsay Newman Architecture and
Design to set a new standard with this clubhouse."

Will  it  be good  enough to  host a  major event, like  a U.S.  Open or a PGA
Championship?  Possibly. Liberty National is already slated to take over as
host of a PGA Tour stop in 2009. If this course could be built  on waste area,
then anything is possible. Don't underestimate the power of money and