The story of Black Oak Golf Club began more than 30 years ago, but a lot had to happen before becoming the idyllic vision of golf that it is today. The most compelling part of the story is not the wetlands, the movement of dirt or the dedication of the membership – it is the story of those who brought it to life. One would be hard pressed to find another golf club in the state that has taken more vision, time, energy, and sweat from a core group of dedicated owners.
From Joe Hays, who acquired the property more than a quarter century ago as a working farm, to his son Pete Hays who led the development of the course, to Pete Rochelle, who built both the course and the exquisite clubhouse that was finally completed in 2015, each owner partner has provided and continues to provide invaluable contributions to the club. Owner, Black Oak Course Architect and PGA legend David Glenz is likely the only golf course architect who is on property day in and day out, years after completion of the course. Local businessman and managing partner Bob Vreeland keeps an eye on the day to day finances of the club.
At its core, Black Oak Golf Club is a local club where local individuals and families gather with golf as the center of activity, says General Manager and Director of Golf Dan Pasternak. “Certainly this is one of the finest and most beautiful 18-hole championship courses in the state,” he says, “and it wasn’t that long ago that it was just a dream in the minds of the owners.”
In addition to its owners, Pasternak believes that there are several factors that make the club, located in Long Valley, the unique oasis that it has become. One is the relaxed nature of its membership. Another is the incredible staff that includes Glenz, a legendary PGA player and instructor, PGA Tour winner and multiple winner of NJPGA major championships. Head Golf Professional Brian Jones is a former NJPGA Teacher of the Year and an expert in the rules of golf. Jones has acted as an official at The Masters, Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship, and is vice chair of the PGA of America Rules Committee. Pasternak himself is a PGA of America Board Member and award winner. A more accomplished golf staff would be hard to find.
Last year was a transition season for the club that has become the talk of the town. Its long awaited clubhouse opened mid-season to rave reviews from the members.
“The dream is finally a reality,” says Pasternak. “Until this year, Black Oak has been a work in progress. The 2016 season will be the first time members and their guests will experience a club with complete amenities – terrific golf, events, parties and first rate culinary experiences.”
Some of the best amateur players from across the region choose to play at Black Oak, yet the majority of the membership is made up of local residents, many of whom don’t play golf. For them, it has become the center of their social universe. A range of memberships are available to fit every situation, with families at the heart of the offerings.