Open title in 1981 at Whitford Country Club.
“Mr. Van Istendal set up a tremendous golf
club. They gave me the freedom to play my
professional events when I wasn’t working at
Little Mill,” said Hendrickson, 83, of Cochran-
ville, Pa., a five-time winner of the Philadelphia
Section’s Player of the Year honor. “I was happy
to be there when the club opened up virtually
out of nowhere. It was a challenging track with
so much forest in the early days. I would bring
down some of the best Philadelphia pros to
play, and they all agreed on that.”
Changes surfaced soon after opening day.
Tree lines were slightly cut back to allow for
more playability, and talks of expansion began.
The additional nine holes arrived in 1974, when
George decided it was time to make true on
the club’s motto of “a legacy that continues
to grow.” He, along with designers Bill and
Dave Gordon, laid out the new nine, known as
today’s Blue course, featuring water on five of
the nine holes.
f f f
HALF A CENTURY LATER, Little Mill is
currently under the third-generation ownership
of Van Istendal heritage. The club continues
to flourish under the leadership of Glen, Matthew’s grandson.
“What’s special about this place? It’s been
in my family for three generations now. This is
our home,” said Glen, 54, of Mt. Holly, N.J. “I
wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Today, George Frake runs the populated golf
shop. He’s responsible for not only keeping
Little Mill’s tee sheet full, but also teaching
lessons, membership modeling and running
the club’s competitive events.
“It’s a true players club in every sense of the
word,” said Frake, 48, of Medford, N.J., who
qualified for the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern
Hills Country Club. “Our guys and girls, no matter the age or skill level, love to play the game.
We’re lucky to have these 27 holes that are
consistently pristine, condition wise. We’re all
about golf, and playing golf, here at Little Mill.”
The golf course itself, set on unusually roll-
ing terrain for its Pine Barrens location, holds
up against the test of Mother Nature thanks to
its fluctuating elevation – an overall change of
65 feet, to be exact – and sandy soil. Drainage
is excellent, aiding in keeping the conditions
pure throughout the year. Trees still play a
major factor in the boundaries of the three
nines, although many have been cleaned up
over the years.
“It’s a gorgeous piece of property and one
that is filled with great history. Our super-
“IT’S A TRUE PLAYERS CLUB IN EVERY
SENSE OF THE WORD. WE’RE ALL
ABOUT GOLF, AND PLAYING GOLF,
HERE AT LITTLE MILL.” Hole No. 8, Blue Course