GolfPass - The Approach | GolfPass Grass Guru - Liberty National GC
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Liberty National

Liberty National Golf Club – GolfPass Grass Guru

The Northern Trust • Hole 17 • Par 4 • 429 yds

We made it, the FedEx Cup Playoffs are here! The first round is being played at a golf course I have intimate knowledge with. It also happens to be, once again, in NYC’s backyard. I have watered more dry spots on the greens, repaired more sprinkler heads than I can count, and have endlessly raked every bunker. Liberty National is a golf course that everyone should get out and see. It goes without saying how special this course is to me. Sure, everyone will talk about the views on this hole. They’ll talk about seeing the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty. But the real knockout of Liberty National is Liberty National itself. This course is FULL of character. 

Another thing everyone will say is that the 14th hole at Liberty National is the course’s best hole. Its views and its playability are what people will reference. Sadly, they just don’t know the truth. Don’t get me wrong, the 14th is a very good hole. However, in my expert opinion, the best hole on the course is the 17th. It also happens to be where the BOTW is located.


Liberty National
The BOTW at Liberty National’s 17th hole // Eric MacPherson

This week’s bunker is actually the smallest bunker on the entire course. In the past, I’ve raked it in under 10 seconds and most people don’t even know it exists. It’s located in the front third of the fairway, and almost everyone hits past it, but this little bunker completes the feel of the hole.

The 17th is an amazing looking hole and the visual weight that the fairway right bunkers add to the hole is astonishing. 17 has a unique balance rarely seen on golf courses and somehow accomplishes this while the hole slowly works its way uphill. The small bunker, with the surrounding fescue, is very reminiscent of links golf. The Little Bunker That Could makes this hole the perfect hole. As you know, that’s what I’m looking for in a BOTW. It’s not always about looking for the obvious or knockout superstar. This little bunker knows its role, better than any other bunker on the property, and that’s why I chose it. Even better, when the grandstands aren’t up, the view and the breeze are just as good as they are on 14.

As the pros tee off, Liberty National is seriously pristine right now. The greens are looking sharper than ever and you better believe the bunkers are raked to perfection. We call it the good old Liberty Way. I’m talking leaf rakes around the edges and pushing the sand back up the faces. We pride ourselves on the details. Think divot repairs, ball mark repairs, and the tons of other little jobs that go unnoticed in a tournament. If you’ve been following our Instagram, you’ve noticed that I’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes vids. Some sights and sounds that not too many people get to see. If you’re lucky the bunker of the week will make an up close photo op.

Cover Photo: Eric MacPherson // GolfPass

Eric MacPherson knows a lot about golf, but even more about grass (hello Huggy Bear). Having worked in golf for what seems like forever, and going on to graduate school in turfgrass, he’s able to walk mow a green, and change the shaft in your favorite driver. He’s worked on some of the east coast’s primer golf clubs doing everything from washing carts to building brand new putting greens. He’s also volunteered at several high profile Tour events including a major and the President’s Cup. The only thing he likes more than pushing a walk mower on a crisp morning, would be teeing it off. Shoot Eric a message at or check out his other blogs here.