When I first visited the property that was to become Hudson National, I was familiar with it only by reviewing topography and aerial photo maps. I knew from these maps the site had many possibilities for outstanding golf. What the maps did not indicate was the total feel of the surrounding environment. The elevations, dense tree cover, unique rock-outcroppings and majestic, long range views from so many ridges of the property really got me excited about the great potential of this property.
Having just completed courses in Pinehurst, Hilton Head, Arizona and California which were very well received by the golf critics and golfers of all skill levels, I knew Hudson National would be looked at and judged with the highest expectations. Since the New York metropolitan area is one of the premier golf centers in the entire country, and there is such a great number of truly outstanding golf courses, I felt the pressure of these expectations on this initial visit.
As we developed routing plans and walked the centerline of the proposed golf holes, I became more at ease that we could meet the high goals set by our developers. Each time we fine tuned the tee and green placement for each hole, we became more and more convinced we could create the spectacular end result all of us desired.
Since I started my golf design career in the Northeast (suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was my home), I was familiar with the great challenge of designing and constructing a course in what could become in some years strong, four season weather clients. The premier challenge of the site was the vast amount of hard surface rock that would make every move to shape and grade the details of the course a major obstacle. Fortunately, the developers were committed to a great end product and that allowed us the opportunity to construct the course (although extremely expensive to build) even though it required a vast amount of dynamite and patience.
I am often asked to pick my favorite hole or as some call a signature hole for a golf course, well at Hudson National, how could you not pick #1, #4, #5, #8, #9, #10, #11, #14, #15 or #18? Many people have asked me why did I pick #16 at Hudson National as the cover photo for my book, Golf Course Designs by Fazio, well I guess it could not be much of a secret.
Since I have had the opportunity to be involved with my many different types of golf course sites over a long period, I really enjoy the properties that offer the greatest challenge which generally are not the easiest or for that matter the most natural site to design and construct. I can honestly say that Hudson National was one of the most difficult sites especially for two reasons: (1) the steep elevations - high to low (2) the surface and underground hard rock formations; and because of the great commitment of the developers and the personal involvement of my senior design associate, Tom Marzolf. Tom spent many, many long days and nights fighting the elements of rock and weather and with the dedicated construction team headed by Eric Bergstol, they were able to deal with whatever obstacle that surfaced. There were many people who gave so much time and energy in creating Hudson National, but from my standpoint, Tom Marzolf was, and is, the person that from day one to the present day has been the key person in the overall quality of Hudson National.
I would like to thank all participants of Hudson National, the developers, the staff and members for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of such a very special club. It is truly one of my favorite golf experiences both from design and construction standpoint, and a period of time in my career that is very special to me.