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 Shore Gate golf club and The Links at Brigantine Beach.

Golf Course Name: Shore Gate golf club

Location: Ocean View, New Jersey

Built By/In: Ron Fream/David Dale, 2002

Course notes: The Shore Gate golf club was built during the height of the golf boom in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Rather than opt for a well-known golf course architect, the brain trust decided to hire Ron Fream and David Dale. The pair was more known for designing courses in the western USA and overseas. To this day, Shore Gate remains their only course east of the Mississippi.

Shore Gate is a course of a certain ilk, one where the improper tee deck selection will cause you fits. Fream and Dale embellished the course with attractive (if deadly) sand hazards, ponds and spaces of rough. The urge to reach for a bit more distance will certainly add a bit of wildness to the tee ball, and said hazards will come more into play. Shore Gate is rife with enormous and interesting putting surfaces, but it’s the getting there that causes problems.

Ron Fream spent a bit of time apprenticing with Robert Trent Jones, senior, before moving on to stints with Red Lawrence and Robert Muir Graves. At Shore Gate, the notion of running the ball up to the green is often not plausible. Intimidating bunkers and water courses front many of the greens, eliminating the bounce and the bound from your vocabulary. You’ll love the frozen moment when your ball hangs in the air, just prior to returning to the globe. Unfortunately, you might not like the resulting lie in the sand or worse.

Shore Gate is an enjoyable and exciting, 18-hole tour, as long as you select the proper tee deck. From holes like the 10th, often compared to the nearby Pine Valley golf club, to the dramatic and watery 9th, you’ll have a diverse tour of hole types and styles. If your scorecard isn’t favorable, the shots that filled it will still be memorable.

Course photography:

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Golf Course Name: The Links at Brigantine Beach

Location: Swainton, New Jersey

Built By/In: Wayne Stiles/John Van Kleek, 1927

Course notes: When I was a much-younger golfer, I had the opportunity to play the Taconic golf club in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Owned by Williams College and run by its membership, this Stiles/Van Kleek golf course is a tremendous memorial to its architects. The rolling hills of the Berkshires serve as the finest topography for the execution of their vision. The Brigantine Links are a much more understated course, but this is owed more to the flatness of the land than the lack of vision of the designers.

Brigantine Links is more interlaced with a neighborhood than any other course I’ve played. From the homes lining the left perimeter of the first hole to the ones on either side of the last, the majority of vistas have a domicile as its backdrop. The golf course moves placidly along a barrier island that one might expect would have greater heave and ho of its sandy soil (a la Cape Cod or the Outer Banks.)

From the day that I toured the Brigantine Links, I preserve two great memories. The first was of the wretched hand that nature wields over an unprotected golf course. It was cold, it was windy and it was wet. I confess that I did not hit a single shot, as the incessant rains of a vengeful April had saturated the fairways and made the plugged lie the norm. I did not wish to bog down my buggy in an infinite rut, so I stayed to the cart paths and shot pictures as best I could. The second memory was of the Brant/Brent, the smaller-than-a-goose but incredibly tenacious fowl who spend a bit of time along the Jersey Shore before migrating to Iceland. On this day, it would have taken the tenacity of these birds to complete 18 holes of golf.

I would like to return to Brigantine when the fairways are faster. Both the aerial and ground games are rewarded at the golf course and the variety of angles from which to play each hole is evident from the teeing ground. I suspect that Brigantine is not a belt-notcher course, but is immensely popular with those learning the game, and with those who play the game for a walk in the park and an enjoyable swing or two. Is there anything more that you might need?

Course photography:

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