July 8, 2016

Atlantic City Golf Vacations Course Spotlight: McCullough's Emerald Golf Links maximizes its aesthetic niche


 The Egg Harbor Township-owned facility, built on rolling terrain at the site of a former landfill, sports a picturesque course with elevated views and layouts resembling famous golf holes in Scotland, Ireland and England. Opened in 2002 and named for longtime mayor Sonny McCullough, who was instrumental in its formation, the course fashions fun golf.
“It's a nice relaxing way to finish out your round or enjoy a beverage,” Tom Sullivan, the general manager of McCullough's says of an area that sits just off the restaurant. “We recently had people out there watching a hole-in-one contest shot for $100,000,” he adds. “It's a great vantage point.”
McCullough's maintains a solid volume of play, exceeding 31,000 rounds last year, according to Sullivan, who considers his establishment “an excellent value” in its price range, usually $36 to $89.
To speed play and increase rounds, McCullough's mowed down some areas in the rough and behind some greens that caused delays with players looking for golf balls.
McCullough's won't intimidate novice players but offers enough to interest low-handicappers. The course offers four tee boxes ranging from 6,535 to 4,962 yards. There aren’t many trees, but players will find rolling hills, fescue that plays the role of deep rough and summertime breezes to affect hole length and club selection. Most greens are not protected by bunkers, allowing players the option of hitting low approach shots or punch-and-run shots onto some greens.
The eighth hole, designed after the 10th hole at Turnberry in Scotland, starts from an elevated tee and is a dogleg right at 385 yards. A pond mimics the ocean to the left on the original design. A unique fairway bunker with turf island in the center sits 75 yards from the green. If the tee shot is less than average, the bunker may encourage players to lay up in front of it on the second shot.
The 15th is a replica of Royal Dornoch's fifth hole in Scotland. Positioning is paramount on this short par-4, which breaks sharply right to the green. The hole plays through an area framed by large dunes. The fairway bunkers on the right are as deep as the Scotland version and must be avoided. Yet a shot hit too far left brings greenside bunkers into play on the second shot.
Royal Dornoch gains another representation — its 14th hole — at the McCullough's 10th. It is a 437-yard par 4 highlighting berms surrounding the hole and a steep slope behind the green. Two long, accurate shots are needed to reach the green in regulation.
The best birdie opportunity may be the fourth, a short par-4 at 323 yards with few gimmicks or tricks. A good drive will lead to a 9 iron or wedge into the hole for many. It replicates the third hole at Nairn, in Scotland.
Eighteen, reminiscent of Prestwick's fourth hole in Scotland, features a right-side pond. The hole does not play long, at 332 yards from the mid tees. Fairway and greenside bunkers will be no more than a distraction if the tee shot and approach are accurate.
The 14th is designed after the 14th at fabled St. Andrews in Scotland. It plays 458 yards from the mid tees and 591 yards from the back. The hole displays “Hell's Bunker” 80 yards in front of the green. The fairway rises and falls with hollows.
Tap-ins: The course steadily increases its use of online booking. Egg Harbor Twp residents receive a price break with proof of residency.

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