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 continue the circuit with Atlantic City country club and Sand Barrens golf club.
Golf Course Name: Atlantic City country club
Location: Northfield, New Jersey
Built By/In: Multiple architects, most recently restored by Tom Doak in 1999
Course notes: Over the stretch of its first 102 years, the Atlantic City country club embraced distinct routing philosophies at four different times. The original course was laid out by John Reid, the man responsible for the development of St. Andrews golf club in New York. Some twenty years later, Willie Park was brought in to effect a few alterations. During the roaring twenties, Roaring William Flynn came over from Philadelphia to bring the course nearly to its current state. Finally, during the 1990s, as the club neared 100 years, Tom Doak brought the course up to its current state of historic restoration.
Atlantic City country club was a private club for the majority of its nearly-120 years of existence. The ambiance of privacy is still apparent on the property, as the staff makes every effort to impart the history and uniqueness of the club to all guests. From the locker room to the first tee on the putting green, Atlantic City makes an impression before the golfer tees up ball number one. While going around the course, the golfer navigates the strategic bunkers and rumpled fairways that characterize a golden-age course. While there is little uphill movement on the front nine, the approach to hole three climbs noticeably. The fourth hole begins what I consider to be the best part of the course: the short holes. Each of the par threes demands a different club, based on distance and topography. From uphill to downhill pitch shots, from flat, inland long irons to windswept, marshside holes, the shorties at ACCC stand out as memorable.
Golf Course Name: Sand Barrens golf club
Location: Swainton, New Jersey
Built By/In: Dana Fry of Hurdzan-Fry, 1999
Course notes: In my first installment, I mentioned that Rees Jones had been the architect of record at Twisted Dune, until a parting of the ways took place. I recalled this fact as I navigated the North and West nines at Sand Barrens on a cold, miserable morning. After a while, I relegated my clubs to the bag and satisfied myself with shooting photos alone. One of the reasons I made this choice was the difficulty of the course. Sand Barrens, it seemed to me, had to be a Rees Jones golf course. Narrow fairway corridors through wetlands, punitive carries over enormous ponds, gargantuan sand pits and waste areas were not characteristic of the man responsible for the design: Dana Fry of the Hurdzan-Fry firm.
Sand Barrens is a visually-appealing and challenging 27 holes of golf. If you were to tour the course backward, you would imagine that the course is manageable for players of all abilities. The greens are enormous, inspired, undulating and loads of fun. The 4th green on the West nine and the 2nd green on the North share the distinction of what might be the largest putting surface in the world. In fact, there might be space for an entire green surface between the two, making the short grass the equivalent of a triple green. Sand Barrens is not overly long, but it does demand more precision than most golfers have in the holster. It punishes the lateral shot with disregard, so consider laying back with three metals and hybrids off many tees. More important, put your ego in the glove box before you tee off and move up a set of tees. If the worst thing that happens is a personal-best round, so be it. You’ll have something to write home about!