Always Raising the Bar
Now celebrating its 30-year anniversary, Cherry Valley Country Club elevates the member experience through unrelenting service, pristine amenities, and a commitment to reinvention.
by Bill Donahue

Since opening its doors in 1991, Cherry Valley Country Club has become a sought-after destination for championship golf and exquisite dining, among other things, only minutes from Princeton and less than an hour from Philadelphia. The secret to its long-term success: continually refining every aspect of the country club experience. 
Aurelian Anghelusiu, who became general manager of Cherry Valley Country Club earlier this year, wants members—and prospective members—to know that the club has no intention of resting on its laurels. Anghelusiu plans to keep “raising the bar” through exceptional service, pristine amenities, and more than a few surprises to keep members and guests engaged.
“Things are beautiful and running well here, but success has to be earned every day,” Anghelusiu says. “It’s far easier to become a tennis champion than it is to remain a champion. To stay on top, a champion cannot play the same game year in and year out. It’s the same in our business. You have to constantly reinvent yourself. That’s been the key to my success to date—shaking the tree and thinking outside the box for over 25 years.”
Some of the forthcoming enhancements to Cherry Valley Country Club precede Anghelusiu’s arrival. One example: a state-of-the-art practice facility to help golfers improve their short game as a complement to the Rees Jones-designed 18-hole championship golf course. Another: a gleaming new health-and-wellness center, located within the original clubhouse, complete with an array of best-in-class exercise equipment and ample space to offer yoga, Pilates, and other in-demand fitness classes.
“We’re also introducing a court for pickleball, which is probably the hottest sport in the country right now,” he adds. “We will be re-beautifying the main clubhouse as well. My commitment is to continually revitalize the physical assets and make sure we’re always doing our best to be a place where people want to spend more time.”
Besides the club’s physical assets, Anghelusiu insists members can expect a few surprises elsewhere. He cites imminent changes to the dining experience, which offers “relaxed dining in a formal environment.” In the fall, Cherry Valley Country Club will launch a series of wine dinners, featuring winemakers from across the country and around the world, who will explain how the wines are made and discuss the foods with which the wines pair best. Diners will also notice some updates to the “eclectic American” menu by way of a visiting-chef program, a food and wine festival, and more.
“Our goal is to reinvent ourselves,” he adds. “People throughout the area know that our golf course is amazing, but we want everyone who comes here to know that we’re about much more than the game of golf. We want to elevate people’s senses to a whole new level with everything we do.”

Attention to Every Detail
Anghelusiu brings a broad and diverse background to Cherry Valley Country Club. His hospitality education began at Institut Hotelier César Ritz in Le Bouveret, Switzerland, followed by Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Since then, he has sharpened his skills as a leader, manager, and innovator with some of the most prominent names in hospitality—namely, Four Seasons, JW Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton—as well as prestigious private clubs across the country. 
He practices what’s known as “servant leadership,” a revolutionary management approach designed to foster the growth and well-being of people and communities to which leaders belong. Such an approach, he believes, sets the tone for all others to follow. He says he learned some of the most impactful lessons of his life at the side of the late Siegfried “Sigi” Brauer, a legendary hotelier who helped found the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
“I like to manage by walking around,” says Anghelusiu, who earned his M.B.A. from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston. “I remember walking with Sigi Brauer, and one time I saw him bend down and pick up a piece of paper on the floor. I asked him why he did that, because he had a whole housekeeping department to do that. He turned to me and said, ‘Aurelian, the day you think you’re too big to do the smallest thing is the day you lose.’”
He never forgot those vital lessons, which he now tries to instill in every team member at Cherry Valley Country Club. He has been thrilled with the commitment of ClubCorp—the nation’s largest owner and operator of private clubs—to make Cherry Valley Country Club an indispensable part of members’ lives. He also feels blessed to have a true team of talented and hardworking professionals to work with every day.  
Anghelusiu sees Cherry Valley Country Club as much more than the sum of its parts: championship golf, exceptional dining and social events, top-shelf fitness amenities, an award-winning summer camp for children, etc. Rather, he considers it a resort-like place where people find camaraderie and connection, “where memories can be made and written.” 
“You can feel the difference as soon as you drive onto the property, which is so peaceful and beautiful,” he says. “Our shared goal is to satisfy members every day. We’re going to make the time people spend with us as special as we can. Whether it’s a dishwasher or a member of our cleaning crew or the golf pro or the head chef, our job is to create memorable experiences for every person who comes here.”
He welcomes prospective members to plan a visit to Cherry Valley Country Club so they can find out for themselves.

Cherry Valley Country Club
125 Country Club Drive
Skillman, NJ 08558
(609) 466-4244

Photograph by Alison Dunlap

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, June 2021.