The 2015 Atlantic City Circuit is Mo’ Golf’s latest adventure in travel golf. The gambling capital of the east coast is home to a number of golf courses of diverse age, style and challenge. Some are classic clubs from the early part of last century. Others came into existence during the boom of the 1990s and 2000s. PlayACGolf is a helpful starting point for golf in the Atlantic City area. We begin the circuit with Mays Landing and Twisted Dune golf clubs.
Golf Course Name: Mays Landing golf and country club
Location: Mays Landing, New Jersey
Built By/In: Leo Fraser in 1961/1962
Course notes: The Mays Landing club underwent a bit of a metamorphosis in the mid 2010s. The driving range was moved to a more central location and the first hole was shifted to the west. From the clubhouse, head some 450 yards into the center of the course and you’ll find a gentle dogleg left. The first at Mays Landing offers a hospitable welcome to each golfer. From the get-go, there is a North Carolina sandhills feel to the golf course. Tall trees frame many of the holes on this sandy soil, reminiscent of many courses in the Pinehurst area. There is not much vertical movement to the course. Challenges to the golfer’s score are found in horizontal movement of fairways, with no holes playing purely straight from tee to green; push-up bunkers around many greens and long waste areas alongside and across numerous fairways.
Mays Landing was built to assuage the need for an affordable area golf course. Leo Fraser, head golf professional at Atlantic City country club from the 1950s through the 1970s, teamed with Jack Newgent to route and develop the course. Fraser’s experienced player’s eye is evident in the siting of greens and the movements from left-right/right-left of the holes.
For a helpful, outside source, see Bill Kelly’s piece on the fiftieth anniversary of the Mays Landing club.
Golf Course Name: Twisted Dune golf club
Location: Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
Built By/In: Archie Struthers, 2001
Course notes: There might not be a greater contrast between courses in the area, than with Mays and Twisted. Twisted Dune’s history details its transition from horse farm to golf course. I would have thought it was an old sand mine or quarry that transitioned into a golf course when its production days were done. As with Mays Landing, the soil is sand-based, so the construction of land forms was easier than it might have been with arable soil. This is not to take away any of the plaudits due the architect, as Twisted Dune satisfies from first tee to eighteenth green. The course plays firm and fast, so allow for a bit of bump and run here. The entry ways and run-ups to the greens are typically open, although a few, hero-type forced carries do appear throughout the round. In nearly every case, Struthers gives you options, be they front, sides or long. In addition, there is a fair bit of kind lateral carom around Twisted Dune, ensuring that balls find their way back into play, rather than off in the fescue.
Mind you, if you are hell-bent on losing golf balls, you can. I recovered two dozen, donated balls during my tour around the course, and I wasn’t hardly looking! Driver isn’t necessary on many par 4s and 5s, so consider the safe play as you navigate the fairways. There’s no sense in my writing that hole X stands out for its kick-plate feature, or hole Y is memorable for its risk-reward, speed slot up the left side. Every hole at Twisted Dune is enjoyable and exhibits easily enjoyed and remembered features. Everything about Twisted Dune is 3D: land forms rise and fall, and come at the golfer from both sides of the shot.
It’s worth noting that Rees Jones was the original architect of record, before Struthers stepped in to carry out the design and work. Rather than yet another Rees Jones course, the world of golf has benefited from the one and only, Archie Struthers’ Twisted Dune.