Copper Hill C.C.

Course Description

A New York City lawyer named Cortland Betts first visited the Flemington area in the early 1900’s. He became enamored with the remote, provincial and rural surroundings and dreamed of developing a country place to entertain guests, clients and their families in a social atmosphere far enough way from the fast pace of the city life. He began acquiring property near the village of Copper Hill and soon began the task of building what was to become the first golf course in Hunterdon County. His dream became a reality when the June 30,1927 issue of the Hunterdon County Democrat announced that, "Golf has made its appearance in Flemington" and issued a general invitation to "all who are interested in golf, to attend a tea at the clubhouse" for the formal opening of Copper Hill Country Club.

Yearly memberships were offered to local residents as well as to "a selected list from New York City" and by August of 1927 the club had over 70 members and had hired its first golf professional. The club immediately flourished and by 1929 the original nine-hole golf course was enlarged to 18-holes. Copper Hill quickly became a hub of social activity with many of the "New Yorkers" escaping the city by spending their weekends and vacations in the Flemington area. A circle was laid out near the clubhouse and "cottages" were constructed as a small social development to provide the necessary housing for friends and family. Clay tennis courts and a swimming pool were constructed and both saddle horses and trap shooting were made available to the membership.

The 1930s saw the area cast into the world's spotlight as a result of the Lindbergh kidnapping trial. Copper Hill played a small but important part in this piece of history. Assistant District Attorney Lloyd Fisher was a long-standing member of the club and a number of reporters lodged in the cottages and the men's locker room while they were covering the trial. The 1930's also saw the entire country fall into a deep economic depression that ultimately took its toll on Copper Hill. Membership dropped seriously and for the next several years the club operated as a public facility until it was closed during World War II and converted to pasture.

The golf course at Copper Hill remained dormant until 1947 when a small group of local residents began soliciting interest in re-establishing the golf course. When it became apparent that there was sufficient interest, a corporate structure was set up, stock was issued and the property, which comprised the golf course as well as the clubhouse and the equipment to operate the club, was purchased from the estate of Cortland Betts. Copper Hill was reborn as a member-owned country club. As a result of being neglected for so long the condition of the course had deteriorated terribly including the loss of all of the original greens. A major construction project to revive the course and the clubhouse facilities was undertaken. The first nine holes were completely re-designed to the extent that only two of the original holes remained intact.

In 1951, Mike Amorelli was hired as the Club’s golf professional and was charged with developing Copper Hill into a top golf facility. Mike played a key role in the subsequent design and expansion of the golf course and was instrumental in promoting the Club within the state golf community. He served as head pro for 33 years and still serves as Director of Golf Emeritus. Over the years, membership grew and the entire facility was gradually improved. Numerous alterations were made to the original clubhouse. A bar, locker rooms, pro shop and a bag storage room were added. The swimming pool was re-built and the old tennis courts were reconstructed. Copper Hill was once again thriving.

In recent years Copper Hill has undergone a similar transformation. Beginning in 1988 a major capital improvement project was undertaken. Major improvements were made to the golf course based upon the recommendations made by nationally known golf course architect Michael Hurdzan. A new irrigation system was installed, new tees and three new greens were built, existing bunkers were reconstructed and fairway bunkers were added. In addition, several holes were reconfigured and the driving range was expanded. The old farm house which had served many years as the club house was torn down and a new much larger modern facility which opened in the fall of 1994 was constructed. At the same time significant improvements were also made to the swimming pool and other facilities.

Since its founding, Copper Hill has always prided itself on its family atmosphere. From its earliest years the club has always had both a very active women's organization and a very strong junior program. The club also has a long tradition of community service, having served for many years as the home course for two of the county's high school golf teams and hosting many events for local charities. Another constant through the years has been the golf course itself. While it has undergone many improvements since it has first laid out in the 1920's, it has always been rated as one of the better layouts and finely conditioned courses in the area. Copper Hill has long been a sought after site for tournament play and has had the privilege of hosting a large number of important state, regional and local tournaments. The club has also had a long-standing tradition of producing some of the better golfers in the state, and is proud to have had members win both State and District Championships

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