FALLING FOR GOLF AT NEW JERSEY’S SOUTHERN SHORE
Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties
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Over a century ago, in 1903 actually, the term birdie was coined at the Atlantic City Country Club— 609-641-7575. The story goes like this: Abner Smith landed his tee shot in the fairway on the 12th hole, hit a great second shot onto the green and then sank an easy putt for a one under par. Someone in the group yelled “that was a bird of a shot” – a common phrase in those days to describe something outstanding. That compliment was transformed to “birdie” to acknowledge a score of one under par –and the term is still used today. A rock with a plaque sits on the spot on the golf course where the term was first used so many years ago. How about that!

The Shore Club, formerly known as the Wildwood Golf & Country Club, this is a private course that just celebrated ints centennial. During the summer of 1851, a young Coast Guardsman stationed in Cape May played and practiced at the club – none other than Arnold Palmer.

Not quite LPGA or PGA caliber? No problem. Golf clubs around Cape May and Cumberland counties offer nine and 18-hole courses for players of all abilities, usually with a restaurant or grill room for a pre-golf snack or a cold beverage at the 19th hole.


CAPE MAY COUNTY:
Avalon Golf Club: on Route 9 just north of Cape May Court House is a test for all golfers — duffers to single-digit handicaps — with narrow fairways and plenty of water. The course, 4924 yards from the reds and 6325 from the blues, rewards accuracy and penalizes bad shots, so be ready with your A game for bragging rights over a drink at the friendly bar or dinner at The Links. Greens fees are reasonable; check online for mid-week specials. 609-465-GOLF - 1510 Route 9 North, Swainton. www.avalongolfclub.net

Cape May National Golf Club:(with Driving Range) - 609-884-1563 – Route 9, Erma (Lower Township). www.cmngc.com

Cape May Par 3 and Driving Range: 18 Holes. 609-889-2600 Fulling Mill Road, Rio Grande. www.capemaypar3.com

Heritage Links: 9 holes. 609-390-4500 Route 9, Palermo. www.heritagelinks.com

Laguna Oaks:
Laguna Oaks is 200 serene acres of meadow land, willow oak trees, ponds and waterfalls designed by Architect, Fred Langford. It offers one and two-acre home sites and a ten hole masterpiece that may be the most challenging and beauitiful Par-3 Course you will ever play. (Featured in GolfStyles magazine as “a Par-3 track that Packs Some Punch”). 609-465-4560 – 600 Bayberry Road, Cape May Court House. www.lagunaoaksgolf.com

Ocean City Golf Course: 12 Holes. 609-399-1315 Bay Avenue and 26th Street

The Pines at Clermont Golf Club: 9 Holes. 609-624-0100- 358 Kings Highway, Clermont. www.pinesatclermont.net

Shore Gate: Laurel, oak, holly and towering pines frame each hole at Shore Gate Golf Club on Route 9 in Ocean View, a course that combines parkland and links elements for an enjoyable – and very challenging – round with 88 bunkers and seven ponds and lakes. The 9th hole from the black tees is an amazing 648 yards around a lake. The 13th, another par 5, features elevation changes and bunkers. Consider renting a GPS for accurate yardage readings if you don’t carry one in your bag. The par 72 course was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale, golf course architects whose courses are located around the world. 609-624-TEES – 35 School House Lane, off Route 9, Ocean View. www.shoregategolf.com

The Shore Club: Formerly known as the Wildwood Golf & Country Club, this is a private course that just celebrated ints centennial. During the summer of 1851, a young Coast Guardsman stationed in Cape May played and practiced at the club – none other than Arnold Palme. 609-465-7824. 1170 Golf Club Road, Cape May Court House. www.myshoreclub.com

CUMBERLAND COUNTY GOLF CLUBS
Eastlyn Golf Course: 856-691-5558. 4049 Italia Avenue, Vineland. www.eastlyngolf.com

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Supported in part by a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel & Tourism.