Big celebration for Joel and Pam Moore as The Ridge turns 20 – Trentonian
The traditional 20th wedding anniversary gift is fine china or porcelain, a beautiful representation of the delicate balance a couple masters in their time together.
Joel and Pam Moore show off a 44-year marriage odometer, though a recent celebration recognized a lifetime adventure – a 20-year anniversary from a special place in Ringoes where dreams are golden.
The Princeton couple have renewed their vows to make their The Ridge at Back Brook Golf Club a perfect place for members and a destination for top golf tournaments.
On August 6, guests gathered in the rustic ski lodge-style clubhouse for a night of memories and stories that ended with a brilliant fireworks display.
The Ridge, an extension of a dream Joel Moore woke up to decades ago, is now a delightful reality.
In 1998, Princeton resident Moore, a member of the Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, Florida, sought out noted course designer Tom Fazio.
Fazio, who holds a Midas touch for golf design, had groomed 45 holes on Sunshine State land. Moore said he phoned Joey Rassett, a friend and Black Diamond’s head golf pro.
Moore approached Rassett with his gargantuan discovery of four beautiful plots of land nestled in the mountains of East Amwell Township.
“And I told Joey I wanted to build a golf course in New Jersey,” Moore recalled.
Rassett, who had heard chimeras before, responded accordingly.
“What the hell are you doing?” he asked.
The easy answer? Yes. Moore and his sidekick, Pam, were star-crossed lovers ready for an all-in affair over what seemed to observers a wild-eyed calamity.
Still, the friendship warranted a phone call to Beau Welling, golf course designer extraordinaire and at the time, something of a caretaker for Fazio.
By the way, if circumstances put you in any room with Welling, he’s probably the most interesting person.
Welling is an American golf course architect with a passion for contemporary art, literature and science.
His resume includes international golf and development designs with Fazio, Tiger Woods and others. He has served on the boards of the US Curling Association and the Carolina Ballet Theatre.
A degree in physics from Brown University and a degree in international business from the University of South Carolina complete his biography. He studied Landscape Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and Irish Theater at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Almost done here. And, at the age of eight, Welling had a haiku poem published in Ebony Junior, a black publication.
Back to the creation of The Ridge which faced obstacles.
Welling had grown tired of receiving insane phone calls from guys who owned the most developable acres in God’s Country, just waiting for Fazio’s magic touch.
Welling, who formed Beau Welling Design in 2007, a breakaway from Fazio, dismissed most ramblings and aired many others asking callers to send in a topological map of the land.
Moore, more excited than discouraged, returned to New Jersey and got his topo the next day. Welling had a copy the next day.
Moore’s assistant answered the phone when Welling called. She informed her boss that a man with a funny accent named Beau was waiting on the line.
Welling promised Moore that a crew would arrive the next day. Fazio followed, and the Moores’ dream blossomed. The Moores could have talked all night about their beautiful baby.
Joel Moore thanked many guests, politicians, a banker, and members and staff who have access to a special place. The awards follow The Ridge to Back Brook Golf Club.
In 2004, New Jersey Golf Magazine named The Ridge the second best private course in New Jersey.
In 2013 and 2016, Golf Styles Magazine named The Ridge New Jersey’s Favorite Private Course and New Jersey’s Best Private Course, respectively.
In 2010, the Golf World Readers’ Choice Awards voted The Ridge the 8th Best Private Course in America.
Honors and hosting opportunities arrive every year as The Ridge has hosted the Philadelphia Open, NJPGA Professional Championship, AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic and US Open Qualifiers.
In 2022, The Ridge hosted the 2022 Ivy League Women’s Golf Championship and the 102nd NJSGA New Jersey Open Championship.
The 20th anniversary brought back key players, some in person and some by video, people who helped build a clubhouse, a golf course and dreams.
The dream of the other Moores hangs in the balance as they hope to host a major professional golf event to show the world their slice of paradise.
Happy birthday to The Ridge at Back Brook with the hope of many happy returns and reviews.
LA Parker is an avid golfer and columnist from Trenton. Follow him on Twitter @laparker6 and contact him at [email protected]