Cape May Courthouse, NJ---
It’s summer and the Jersey Shore is bustling with business. The sandy beaches are full of sun worshippers and folks needing a break from the sun’s rays with a cooling dip in the ocean. The boardwalks are full of families looking for treats like salt water taffy, carnival games and special eats.
Golfers visit the shore and seek challenges, and one can’t miss venue is the nearly 100-year-old yet transformed Shore Club just off the Garden State Parkway (exit 9). The name might not be familiar, but when ownership changed hands the former Wildwood Golf Club began it’s revitalization.
“The name changed, obviously, but The Shore Club team wanted a whole new beginning for the historic club,” explained head golf professional Fred Reidel, whose 16-year tenure at the club has seen lots of change. "We took a step back and looked at all aspects of the club and made a list of must do projects that would upgrade the club.”
The early reviews are in. The Shore Club is taking numerous steps to upgrade all facilities and at those changes have already born fruit as memberships at the private facility (with reciprocal arrangements with most other private clubs) have increased.
The Wayne Stiles design has held up well over the years. While not overly long by today’s standards (just over 6,700 yards from the tips) The Shore Club has strategic bunkering, several ponds, small greens and the seemingly ever present winds off the bay which can cause havoc to a player.
Several bunkers have been renovated as the club will redo most if not all in the near future, and several trees have been harvested to promote better player movement and turf enhancement. Other enhancements are on tap for the club which promises a fun and friendly atmosphere with a golf of players completing their rounds in less than four hours so they still have time to get beach time.
Still, management didn’t just consider the golf course when it began its improvements. It:
· Instituted family memberships for full and intermediate members to allow their children up to age 24 at no additional charge;
· Began an upgrade of club facilities, including landscaping;
· Improved clubhouse facilities, including a grand ballroom and a renovated patio; and
· Expanded golf programs and social events that include family golf nights and a kids only art party.
We have surely come a long, long way, but in some respects we have only just started our journey," added Amanda Ruhl, Director of Membership, Marketing and Events. "The Shore CLub has a rich history, and we've left no stone unturned in our desire to make this a family friendly, premier facility."
The upgraded banquet facilities have already led to an increase in wedding and banquet business, and golfers are raving about improvements overall.
"We have been getting positive comments from members and prospective members alike," added Reidel.
"It going alone great," chimed in Ruhl. "We clearly want our members to feel the prestige of belonging to a premier private club facility but by the same token we are hoping for a relaxed, casual setting. Our new MacKissic's pub is a great place to celebrate that strong round, meet with friends or have stellar cuisine in a low key setting."
The Shore Club is a great place for golf and friendship, and a can't miss venue.
CHIP SHOTS: If the walls could talk, their would be great conversation at The Shore Club. Wayne Stiles would be commenting about his nearly 200 golf course designs, while Arnold Palmer would be waxing of his days in the Coast Guard in Cape May when he'd slip over and play the course. Walter Hagen would talk about his 1923 exhibition play at the course while multiple PGA Tour winner Marty Furgol could talk of his days as teaching pro at the club...Ruhl can be reached at 609-465-7824 for details on membership programs.
The Jersey Shore has a wealth of outstanding golf challenges. Wonderful venues that can satisfy each and every level of golfer.
With that in mind, have to give a major shout out to one of if not the finest open to the public layouts, Ocean View's Shore Gate Golf Club.
We at golfbuckscounty.com previewed the course elsewhere on the site years ago, calling it a gem. "A Must play". Years have passed, and this gem is polished and has gotten even better with age.
A recent visit - Annual Day after Thanksgiving Shootout - saw a couple writers visit this outstanding venue.
Not a single disappointment, as Shore Gate was in perfect shape, the fairways manicured to perfection and the greens rolling like glass. Superb.
The golf boom since fizzled has meant some area courses have weaved their way through bankruptcy and ownership changes. Blue Heron Pines, The Vineyards at Renault and Mays Landing come to mind. But Shore Gate is rock solid and commands a player's attention as a challenging layout with all the fixins.
From the first tee box to the 18th green, Shore Gate is one heck of a golf destination.
Simply stated, if you haven't sampled it, you must, and if it's been a while, get back there.
In the world of golf there are not many secrets, especially when considering the playability and challenge of a wonderful public golf course.
Oh, you hear about hidden gems, but generally those gems aren't diamonds in the rough. Maybe even more rough than diamond. It's all about one's perspective.
This corner has never been one to keep a secret long, though, when it comes to outstanding play opportunities. Heck, we are always looking to keep our readers in the know about happenings in the game of golf. We are relentless in our quest to ensure our readers know about the best local players, trends in equipment and the game. And we are always looking for great places to play.
Okay, here's the secret: Running Deer Golf Club, which is located just off Route 55 near Vineland, NJ, is an off the charts, must play, don't miss destination. It is located just about an hour from Lower Bucks County --- mostly on Interstate highways --- and once there you will find a secluded and challenging layout worth the trip.
My destination was The Architects Club in Lopatcong, New Jersey. It is just a few miles across the icy river from Easton, PA. The course opened for play on July 24, 2001 and it touts itself "Distinction By Design." The reason for that is while the playing field is a shade over 10 years old, the design goes back nearly a century. And from most of Bucks County, you can be there in about an hour.