Our Brandon Mumaw, itinerant golfer, photographer, and writer, just now rolled up on the Shore Gate golf club, in Ocean View, New Jersey. He pegged his pelota with a pair of new friends, and toured the Ron Fream-layout in record time. Have a read of his thoughts, and gaze upon a selection of photos from the course.
Shore Gate Golf Club is a newer golf course located along the eastern coast of New Jersey. Conveniently located, Shore Gate is just an hour east of Philadelphia and two hours south of New York City. You’ll find the course located 4 miles from the shore, so you can experience the beaches, casinos, and famous boardwalks after your round.
On my drive in I noticed the course was nestled in the woods, a little ways off the main roads. Through conversation, I discovered the owners of Shore Gate also own a campground nearby. Back in 1990’s, the owners had about 300 acres of wooded land behind the campgrounds to work with. After years of development and a long time waiting for permits to be accepted, in 2002 Shore Gate Golf Club opened to the public.
The course features five sets of tees which can be played at over 7,200 yards from the championship tees. Looking at the scorecard, you’ll notice the distance doesn’t come from the par 3’s. Whereas all the par 3’s play at a fair length, the par 5’s play at an extreme distance. Hole #9 (the Shore Gate signature hole) finishes a distant 648 yards from the back tee. Even from the white tees, you’re looking at a 577 yard hole.
Let’s take a deeper look into the signature hole at Shore Gate. From the tee, you’re able to see the water running along the left side of the fairway and leading all the way up to the green. The play is up the right side to avoid the water coming into play up the left. But, one thing I really love about the design of hole #9 are the two trees that guard the right side of the fairway off the tee. About 150 yards from the tee box, two tall trees force you to aim back to the center of the fairway. If your ball happens to clip the branches hanging over the fairway, you’ll lose distance on an already long par 5. Before hitting your second shot, take time to check out the pin placement on the green. Because there are huge greenside bunkers on the left side of the green, you don’t want to leave yourself an angle into the green where you have to carry those bunkers, which could happen if the pin is tucked on the front left part of the green. There’s honestly nothing simple about hole #9, not even the green. A huge swale on the left side of the green causes balls hit to the center of the green to roll off the left side, which is another reason you need to check the pin location before hitting your approach on the green. This beautiful but challenging hole #9 might leave you needing to stock up on more golf balls at the turn.
The back 9 features some really unique holes, particularly holes #13, 14, 15. These holes are actually hidden from the rest of the course. You must take a long bridge over some marshland to get to the #13 tee box and after completing hole #15 you take the bridge back. Hole #13 is another challenging par 5. A large waste bunker is up the left side off the tee, but if you can hit the fairway or miss a little right, you’ll have a decent look at the green on your next shot. Unfortunately, just because you can see the green, doesn’t mean you can hit it. Six bunkers surround the green on the left and right. And these bunkers have some serious depth to them, so much so Shore Gate has a set of stairs leading you in and out of the hazard. You don’t want to miss this elevated green long, as your ball will roll off the backside and into the woods. Try to walk away with par and head into #14, the shortest hole on the course.
Hole #14 is just a wedge for some. It’s a short par 3 that can play even shorter with the pin up front. I noticed Shore Gate features really deep greens and really deep bunkers, both of which are featured on #14. As usual, just aim for the center of the green and avoid the handful of sand traps surrounding the green. Hole #15 is one of the few holes where you want to keep your driver in the bag. Considering the length of the course, you do have many opportunities to bomb your drives, but I suggest a hybrid off the tee on the #15 dogleg right. From the tee, you can see the fairway has a little extra landing area on the far right. If you’re able to place your tee ball in this extra strip of fairway and short of the water, you’ll have a shorter approach shot to the green. Your next shot will be heading into one of the deepest greens on the course, so be sure to check and double check the pin placement and yardage. Do your best to hit the green and not leave yourself a 100 foot putt, which is possible.
Shore Gate Golf Club is truly a hidden gem, especially the hidden holes of #13, 14, 15. The course’s large waste bunkers and deep sand traps perfectly fit the New Jersey beach theme. I can see why this course has continually been highly rated by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine since it’s opening in 2002. Whether you’re looking for a championship course outside of the city, or planning a trip to the Jersey Shore, Shore Gate will need to be added to your list.