Atlantic City has come a long way from its journeys from the Queen City of resorts to a huge city dump to one of the premier gambling and entertainment destinations on the East Coast.
But there is more to the city than just slots and table games.
AC has beautiful sand beaches that become huge crowds of families out for a day of fun in the sun. The boardwalk has attractions that go well beyond casino entrances with a wide variety of snack shops, souvenir stands and arcades providing hours of fun.
For some that still isn’t enough. Golfers flock to Atlantic City and environs to try their hand at the challenging courses the area has to offer.
To a true New Jerseyan, you don’t go to “the beach” or to “the shore,” you go “down the Shore.” This is much the same as a New Yorker can immediately tell a tourist who asks how to get to “Houston Street,” pronouncing it as they would in Texas rather than the “City’s” idiomatic “Howston Street.”
Down the Shore in and around AC there is a wide range of courses making up the Greater Atlantic City Golf Association with killer views that include a city skyline, the rays of the setting sun, and dry-docked boats.
The Stockton Seaview Resort and Golf Club is at once both a challenging upscale course and one that is welcoming to non-members dropping in for the day to play a round.
Fall offers unique opportunities at AC’s courses as the hours of daylight shorten and the vibrant colors of leaves begin to change. Overhead are formations of ducks and geese in a V-formation heading for warmer climes; enough distractions to entertain even the most dedicated golfer.
Some of the options in the Atlantic City area include:
Harbor Pines developed with homes, nature and golf in mind. It includes 125 acres of protected area where wildlife abounds. Harbor Pines Golf Club & Estates makes a claim for the “ultimate in land and residential planning.”
The club’s vice president, Mitchell Gurwicz says: “We refer to it not as links golf, but linked-up golf. This is a resort-style course with wide fairways, trees, well manicured corridors and not a lot of forced carries.”
The course features some 13 ponds, 120 bunkers and tees set up to across five sets.
Gurwicz grins with the glee of a drill sergeant about to commit his troops to the unknown: “They are the great equalizers on this course,” he says. “They average 6,500 square feet. Once you think you have a hole licked, you land on the green and you have to think it all through again. That’s what makes it fun. These are not postage stamp operations.”
Harbor Pines was developed with the upscale daily fee golfer in mind rather than the wealthy club membership that excludes other golfers. Designed by Stephen Kay, Harbor Pines offers a private club experience with a Carolina feel to it.
Ballamor is just a few years removed from its private club upbringing and is about to peel off its “hidden gem” designation. A parkland-style course, Ballamor was built into woods with no houses surrounding the course or the golfers. With the changing color of the leaves in the fall it reminds many players of Carolina’s famed Pinehurst.
Nearby is Ballamor’s sister course, Scotland Run in Williamstown. Both courses rank in Golfweek Magazine’s Top 10 Best Courses You Can Play in New Jersey.
Blue Heron Pines is often referred to as “The golfer’s Sanctuary,” as a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Now owned by retired NFL Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, Blue Heron Pines has become popular with replica holes from Pine Valley at holes 10 and 14.
Blue Heron is considered to be an excellent “walker’s course” that is more like a private club experience. The back nine is more challenging and more secluded, providing a pleasant and peaceful end to a round of golf.
Hamilton Trails is a shortie for those anxious to get back to the slots and gaming tables. The nine-hole course can be played in less than two hours and may not have all the bells and whistles of the major courses, but it still presents a golfer’s challenge. And adding to the attraction, the fees for nine holes for the remainder of the year range from $14 to $18.
Hamilton Trails is ideal for novice golfers or those looking for a quick round. Built on a former blueberry farm, the track is sporty and fun, heavily tree-lined for visual pleasure as leaves turn to gold and brown.
Located in Mays Landing, Hamilton Trails is the only regulation length nine-hole course in South Jersey.
For more information on the 20 Greater Atlantic City golf courses, check out www.PlayACGolf.com.