06 March 2021

Camp Ajaybe - Princeton Hills Golf Club - Hillsborough Golf Club (1947 - present day)

What would you do if it was time for your annual summer vacation and you realized you just didn't have enough money to go anywhere or do anything? That was the question facing employees of the ABC Freight Forwarding Corporation in the years immediately following World War II. Many of them ended up going to the president of the company, Arthur J. Brown and asking to simply work through their vacations.

31 July 1961 Courier News

Brown, who credited much of the early success of the six-year-old company to good employee relations, didn't think that was right. All employees needed time off with their families, relaxing at a place they could afford. In 1947 he purchased 180 acres on Wertsville Road in Hillsborough Township right on the border of East Amwell. The location was convenient for Brown as the company also owned a stable of standard-bred horses - most of them trotters with the word "Freight" worked into their names - which he kept at a farm three miles down the road in Ringoes.

He built a vacation resort on the property which included a comfortable motel known as the "State House", as well as a basketball court, baseball diamond, volleyball court, horse stables, a casual dining room, and a lighted swimming pool for moonlight dips. And it was all free for his employees and their families - about 1,000 people in all - who reserved week-long vacations about 100 at a time during the summer months. One of the few amenities not provided at Camp Ajaybe (A.J.B., get it?) was golf. That all changed in the late 60s when Brown sold the camp just as he was starting New Jersey's first professional basketball team the New Jersey Americans of the ABA (who later became the New York Nets, and then the New Jersey Nets, and now the Brooklyn Nets).

ads from 1969 and 1970

In 1968 the Neshanic River Holding Company purchased the property and built a par 72, 6,500-yard golf course. In the summer of 1969, they opened the Princeton Hills Golf Academy. This was a golf training academy for boys ages 13 - 18 which was held over two-week sessions between the end of June and the end of August. The Academy made good use of the motel and recreation facilities left from Camp Ajaybe.

29 June 1969 Home News

Operating concurrently during those years was the membership-only Princeton Hills Country Club. By 1973 they had changed their name to the Neshanic River Country Club and advertised that they were now "Open to the Public".

Clockwise from top left,
 the evolution from Princeton Hills to Hillsborough Country Club.

The Princeton and Neshanic names were ditched for good in 1974 when the club was renamed Hillsborough Country Club. As the club changed ownership and management through the ensuing decades the name changed along with it. For instance in 1978 - after some renovations to the property - it became the Hillsborough Resort and Country Club.

24 April 1978 Courier News

Facing bankruptcy in 1983, the owners floated the idea of developing part of the property with 200 condominium units. Development plans were shelved when new owners acquired the club in 1985.

10 April 1985 Courier News

In recent years the property, with both its name and golf course slightly trimmed (it's now simply Hillsborough Golf and Country Club and 70 is par), but remaining in its beautiful setting in the hills of western Hillsborough, has been the host of the Sourland Mountain Festival and other special events. While there will always be development pressures for any large piece of land in Central New Jersey, for now, Hillsborough is fortunate to have this golf course that bears the name of the township within its 54-square miles.


  1. Greg, Thank you for this post. We will see what happens to the land now that it has been sold.

  2. I have been the Manager here for 33 years. I have met wonderful people and spent over half my life learning how to play the game. It is very sad to be closing the golf course, but it hasn't been profitable for a long time. I don't know any of the details of the sale beyond the fact it won't be a golf course. It is indeed one of the prettiest pieces of property.