September 8, 2009

Fall Golfing in Atlantic City: Nearby for Many, Plenty of Choices.

Fall golfing in Atlantic City: nearby for many, plenty of choices.

Many Spirit Airline flights from Atlantic City take golfers to the courses of Myrtle Beach and Fort Myers. Although the Atlantic City area does not feature nearly the number of courses as do those two areas, AC is no slouch when it comes to hosting public players and September through October is a great time to test the Atantic City courses.

In addition to offering extras for after your golf round, the Atlantic City area is blessed with excellent Autumn weather, thanks to the moderating effect of the ocean.

Following is a run-down of public courses within about 20 minutes of the casinos.

The Links at Brigantine Beach is on the island just north of Atlantic City---just drive between Trump Marina and Harrah's and head over the bridge. Brigantine is a Scottish links design, surrounded by marsh, that has undergone major upgrades in recent years. The clubhouse facility is modest but adequate.

Twisted Dune, in spite of its name, is a few miles inland from Atlantic City. It is laid out through rolling sand dunes and is almost devoid of trees. Estimating the wind is cited as one of the challenges to this interesting course. Greens are large, and management asserts that tee times are further apart than the average course to avoid contact with other foursomes.

Harbor Pines, nestled in an upscale managed housing community just a few long drives away from Twisted Dune, boasts of a 4-Star rating by Golf Digest and accolades by Golf Magazine and Golf for Women. Adding to its appeal are five sets of tees, breathtaking vistas and17 acres of water. The clubhouse is large enough, and nice enough, to host a hundred or so for an after-tournament event.

Blue Heron Pines is a Stephen Kay-designed course just West of the Atlantic City International Airport and an easy drive from the Boardwalk. It, too, is part of a planned residential community with homes sited around the edges of the fairways. It has hosted the USGA Public Links Championships and claims a Gold Digest 4-Star rating.

Mays Landing Golf & Country Club was designed by Leo Fraser, past president of the PGA and a leader in the history of the game, as well as former owner of the Atlantic City Country Club. It offers full practice facilities with a driving range, chipping and putting greens and PGA professionals are on hand for individual lessons. Recent upgrades have been made.

Seaview Resort & Spa (pictured)---and two golf courses---was a very exclusive, private club when it opened in 1914. Local lore tells of U.S. presidents visiting for secret golf outings and no locals being accepted as members. The stately hotel and banquet facility, formerly with a Marriott flag, is now run by Dolce. Troon Golf manages the golf facilities: the Bay Course, former host to the ShopRite LPGA Classic and designed by legendary architect Donald Ross. Rerouted in April 2006 with thick rough and pot bunkers around the greens, "this now-famous course continues to challenge both amateur and professional golfers alike."

Seaview's Pines course, brainchild of the renowned design team of Toomey & Flynn, opened in 1929 with its scenic parkland setting carved from the inherent beauty of southern New Jersey’s pine forest.

If you're okay with driving a bit farther from Atlantic City, you can add few dozen more courses to your list in the neighboring counties.

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