Atlantic City Golf

To the avid golfer, there is nothing quite as sublime as finding that perfect course, the one where you are challenged and yet can still make par or even birdie the course regularly.

It's a place where even if the course bests you, you can still enjoy yourself, with the great scenery and the thrill of the battle.

This feeling draws groups from all over the world to Atlantic City golf courses, touted by some as including a few of the best courses on the east coast of the United States . Whether you are an enthusiast or just like to putt around every so often, the golf courses in Atlantic City may be perfectly suited to you.

There are an abundance of quality practice ranges, driving ranges, chipping and putting greens, and the golf courses themselves.

Nicknamed the Golf Coast, Atlantic City boasts courses ranging from 18 hole short jaunts to double 36 hole mammoths, ensuring there's something for every type and style of golfer.

This growing reputation as the Golf Coast has attracted some of the world's best players, course designers and golf tournaments.

After a period of decline and neglect in the 1970s Atlantic City is once again a booming resort destination. The reigning 'Queen' of the Jersey Shore, the city is home to many firsts, including the first Boardwalk, saltwater taffy, color postcards, and the Miss America pageant. Now, with new daily-fee golf courses opening on a regular basis, this city is poised to become as well known for the green of its fairways, as it is for the green to be won at its many casinos.

With its close proximity to the shore and some surprisingly beautiful nearby forests, Atlantic City golf courses are both beautiful and challenging, and also provide a great escape when you're ready to take a break from the casino and beach action.

So read below and become a bit more familiar with a few of the top golf courses in the Atlantic City area.

Blue Heron Pines Golf Club

The Blue Heron Pines Golf Club features not one but two excellent courses, both highly regarded in golfing circles for their designs and challenging play.

The West Course, designed by Steven Kay, has been rated four and a half stars by prestigious magazines, where the East Course is voted regularly into the Top 100 You Can Play course list in Golf Magazine. They both have ample tee boxes, so you can lengthen or shorten the hole to customize the game to your skill level. With five sets of tees, you can play the game exactly how you want to, making it a truly universal course for all comers.

A trend-setting golf club since 1993, the original West Course set the tone for upscale daily-fee golf at the Jersey Shore. The Stephen Kay design, featuring over 6,800 yards of exquisite fairways, manicured greens, blue water and strategically placed bunkers, has been recognized by Golf Digest as the only 4-1/2-Star rated golf course in southern New Jersey.

The East Course, which opened in the Spring of 2000, has already earned a reputation as "the course to play" and was ranked in the "Top 100 You Can Play" by Golf Magazine in 2002. Designed by Steven Smyers, the East Course, measuring 7,221 yards from the back tees, features a links-style design with wide fairways, challenging bunkers and generous tees and greens.

Both East and West courses have their own clubhouses for breakfast, lunch or after-golf snacks and are ideally suited for special functions.

Blue Heron Pines Golf Course was home to the 2003 US Amateur Public Links Championship.

Great Bay Golf Club

The Great Bay Golf Club offers a championship 18-hole course that plays host to the annual LPGA tour.

Shore Gate Golf Club

This course features eighteen very unique holes, all of which have some combination of waste area, enormous bunkers and water hazards. There are no breaks on this course, so each hole requires its golfers to exercise more patience than power. Opened in May 2002, the course measures 7,227 yards from the back tees and 6,400 from the whites. Look out for plenty of undulating fairways and large greens.

Pines, laurel and holly trees frame each hole, making for a great vista and encouraging skill shots on the greens. Strategically placed bunkers make this course unforgettable and challenging for every type of golfer, experienced or just learning. The forward tees are a scant 5284 yards and they go from there through three other sets of tees, ending with the professional tees clocking in at 7227 yards.

The Shore Gate Golf Club is located just outside Atlantic City in the heart of Cape May County. Seven ponds and lakes are scattered throughout, making many of the holes extra challenging. There are ample practice facilities, including driving ranges with four levels of tees, chipping and putting greens, and practice bunkers. Eighty eight total bunkers means you'll want to spend plenty of time in these practice areas! Shore Gate is a daily fee golf club that is perfect for visitors and residents alike.

Variety is the name of the game at Shore Gate where golfers can custom design their playing experience according to their ability.

Mays Landing Golf Club

The Mays Landing Golf Club is a 6,698 yard par 72 course that offers vacationers an affordable 18-holes of golf. Known as the "Best Birdie for the Buck," this course offers a series of fun challenges to players of all handicaps. Another course that welcomes newcomers, the Shore Gate Golf Club, allows golfers to custom design their playing experience according to their ability. Lying only a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean this course features five sets of tee markers on each hole. Named "Beginner Friendly" by the National Golf Course Owners Association in 2002, Shore Gates' total yardage ranges from 5,200 to 7,200, offering players of all abilities an enjoyable playing experience.

A perennial favorite of locals, this course is carved from 175 acres of pinelands it features wide fairways, excellent greens, easy walking and a clubhouse.

Known as the "Best Birdie for the Buck," the Mays Landing Golf Club was designed by the late Leo Fraser, a past president of the PGA.

Sand Barrens Golf Club

The Sand Barrens Golf Club has received accolade after accolade, including a 4-Star rating courtesy of Golf Digest, One of the Top 40 Daily Fee Courses in the Nation from Turnstile's Golf and Travel Magazine, Top Ten You Can Play by Golf Magazine, and one of America's Best Modern Courses by Golf Week.

The Sand Barrens course features three nine-hole courses of tree-lined fairways, vast scrub bunkers, undulating greens, and an 18,000 square foot clubhouse.

As an added treat, your cart has a ProLink GPS tracking system that gives you hole and course information as you go, so you can plan for that next tee before you get to it.

Atlantic City Country Club

For the nostalgic the legendary Atlantic City Country Club, offers players 101 years of golfing history and tradition. This charming old-style links course is accessible to guests of Ballys Park Place and the Atlantic City Hilton and offers an on-site museum of the Club's past.

Harbor Pines Golf club

Opened in 1996, the Harbor Pines Golf Club features wide fairways, large well-contoured greens, full-service practice facilities, a 20,000 square foot clubhouse, and personalized VIP service. Set on 520 acres of dense pine forest, it offers players five sets of tees as well as breathtaking vistas.

For instance, Golf Digest rated Harbor Pines as one of the top 150 resorts in the US for course conditions and the best in South Jersey. The course consistently garners rave reviews from Golf Magazine and New Jersey Monthly as well.

The Monthly says, "This is as pure a design as you're likely to find--no copied holes, no artificial bulldozer mounds, no gimmicks."

What makes Harbor Pines so remarkable is that the course is immensely private, winding through 520 acres of dense pine forest. The stillness of the setting increases your ability to concentrate, and is sure to lower your handicap. This world-class course focuses on the sheer enjoyment of the game.

It's known as very player friendly, as well as beautiful. The stunning vistas and 17 acres of water make traveling the greens almost as great a pleasure as driving the ball.

Buena Vista Country Club

Buena Vista Country Club is about forty-five minutes from Atlantic City. Reasonably priced, the entire championship course features a narrow, flat, wooded layout. The especially punishing 502-yard, par five tenth hole includes a 200-yard trap lining the left side, and three bunkers and a dogleg leading to a two-bunkered green.

Brigatine Golf Links

Located just over the bridge from the infamous Boardwalk the Brigantine Golf Links Course boasts an authentic links design layout that makes it a veritable 'windy wonderland'. Measuring 6,570 yards from the tips Brigantine's mounding and water hazards, found on 14 of its 18 holes, present challenges to golfers of all levels. Certified as an Audubon Sanctuary this par 72 course, with 3 tee box placements, has been rated the "#1 Golf Course in the Northeast" by the American Golf Corporation and one of the "Top 100 Women Friendly Courses" by Golf For Women Magazine. To the north, the Scottish-style links of the Brigantine Golf Course offers water hazards on 14 holes. This is where pro golfers prepared for the British Open in the late 1920s and -30's. Strong coastal winds ensure that you can play here often without ever experiencing the course in exactly the same way.

McCullough's Emerald Golf Links

For a change of pace, try McCullough's Emerald Golf Links, one of the newest additions in the Atlantic City area. Just fifteen minutes from Atlantic City, this course is a walking tribute to the grand Irish-Scottish designs across the Atlantic, and plays like one, with plenty of great vistas but also heavy grasses surrounded the fairways and greens. Or check out the Brigantine Golf Links, the area's only eighteen-hole course on a barrier island. The course has great water vistas, but plenty of sand and water hazards to go with it. Built in 1927, the course is 6,213 yards in length from the middle tees. Note: bring bug spray if the wind is calm.

Hamilton Trails Country Club

Hamilton Trails Country Club is a relaxing, nine hole course that offers all that's good about golf without the attendant hassles. The course does not reserve tee times in advance. A round of nine holes is extremely economical, and as of this writing always $16 or under. The course is a hidden gem for golfers of all levels.

Sea Oaks Golf Club

Sea Oaks Golf Club is a unique public golf course that masterfully combines a breathtaking 18-hole championship golf course with the finest in country club amenities.

Encompassing more than 194 pristine acres of natural terrain in the pine barrens of southern New Jersey, Sea Oaks Golf Club is a spectacular design by popular mid-western golf course architect, Ray Hearn. This stately course combines Hearn's critically acclaimed talent of integrating the natural context and inherent features of the region with a creative concept.

The course layout is specific to southern New Jersey's beautiful landscape, with wind-blown sand, pines and oaks, all incorporated into uphill and downhill designs. Combined with truly unique and diverse water features which appear as lakes, and both formal and informal bunker formations with natural grasses that extend into them as finger-like formations, the creation is without a doubt an atypical course design.

Complementing the property is a putting course and practice facility, as well as a 23,000 square-foot, elegantly appointed clubhouse.

Seaview Marriott Golf Course

Another superb resort is found at the Seaview Marriott. It has offered one of the nation's premier golf courses since its opening in 1912, and has played host to celebrities from then-President Warren G. Harding to Grace Kelly (whose sweet-16 birthday party was held here). The resort now serves up two 18-hole, par 71 championship courses. Each is a modern-day delight with a colorful history. The renowned Donald Ross designed the Bay Course. Measuring 6,247 yards from the blue tees, it recently received a $1 million renovation to restore his original design, while the highly rated, 6,731-yard Pines Course was re-contoured and re-seeded with Bent grass. Like Harbor Pines, the course wends its way through a tranquil, secluded wooded area, making Seaview a bit of a misnomer: there are no views of the sea from any of the resort's guest rooms.

Galloway National Golf Club

What it does guarantee, however, is popularity. So much so that Commerce Bank CEO Vernon Hill had to create his own golf course because Seaview would get too crowded for his liking. Thus Galloway National Golf Club was born. Just north of his old stomping--or putting--grounds lies what many agree to be the finest golf course on the East Coast. Designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio, the course opened in 1994 to top honors, including Golf Digest's Best New American Courses. Again, thick pine and hardwood forests envelop you in the serenity of nature. It is not uncommon to see deer crossing your path during a round at Galloway. The front nine are expertly designed within the rolling topography, sandy soils, marshes and dense pine canopy. The gated entrance to Galloway National is unobtrusive, and you can easily drive right by it if you don't know exactly where it is.

Women's Golf

Women are becoming increasingly visible in the world of golf. While female golfers are gaining acknowledgment and prominence in the public eye, the pressure to strengthen their game also increases. In Atlantic City, the greatest women golfers have long enjoyed a distinct niche and ample turf to claim as their own.

For the past several years, the Seaview Marriott in Galloway Township has hosted the Shoprite LPGA Golf Classic each June. The ladies play on the Bay Course designed by golf architect Donald Ross. Measuring 6,247 yards from the blue tees, it recently received a $1 million renovation to restore Ross' original 1912 links design. Proclaimed as one of the top 100 Women-Friendly Courses by Golf for Women magazine, it's ideal for the superlative level of play of which these championship golfers are capable. This professional women's tournament touts a $1.2 million purse; the winner's share is a cool $180,000. The best of the best in women's golf enter this annual event, and all are high earning golfers. Competition for the prize money is indeed fierce.

The Shoprite LPGA Golf Classic finalists aren't the only ones who stand to make some serious cash on the course. This pro tournament also benefits the community through the Birdies for Babies fund. Money raised through sponsorship goes to the purchase of new equipment and development of new programs for maternal newborn services at Atlantic City Medical Center and Shore Memorial Hospital. Every Pro/Am participant pledges $5 for every birdie his/her team makes. During the professional rounds of the tourney, the pros also pledge $5 for every birdie they make.

The LPGA's commitment to community reaches even further beyond this one event. They work in conjunction with the Urban Youth Golf Program to provide affordable and accessible golf instruction to disadvantaged youth. Their after-school programming aims to build character as well as a great chip shot. Through the elegant sport of golf, the program instills values such as camaraderie, patience, honesty and honor.

With this reciprocal support, Atlantic City encourages women golfers to tee off at seaside courses that bear their interests and values in mind.

Regardless of your level of playing ability, Atlantic City's diverse championship golf courses, with their personalized services and amenities, are sure to provide you with a holiday golfing experience that is truly once-in-a-lifetime. Wherever you finally decide to settle in for tee time you can be confident that you will enjoy a first-class golfing experience while in Atlantic City. No matter your level of skill, schedule, or budget, you are sure to find a course that is ideal for you. Whatever level you at in skill, there is no reason not to try your hand at golf in Atlantic City. We have beautiful weather, well tended courses, and challenges, as well as helpful pros willing to give lessons and tips on how to best play the game. You will find the game of golf in Atlantic City to be some of the best anywhere.