SCOTLAND RUN GOLF CLUB
Route 322 and Fries Mill Road, Williamstown; 856-863-3737, scotlandrun.com. Yardage: 6,810. Par: 71. Slope: 134. Architect: Stephen Kay, 1999. Greens Fees: $58-$105.
T&L Golf Rating: ****
Kay took the most promising site of the several he's been given in New Jersey and fully realized its potential. Scotland Run, named for the stream that defines the northern edge of the property, snakes through woods before emerging into a stunning dunescape where the rusted old hulk of a steam shovel testifies to the site's former life as a sand quarry. Engaging from the get-go (and walkable), the course is contoured to keep you thinking even in the fairway. The dogleg par-four second offers a fresh take on the concept of alternate greens split by a bunker, À la the ninth at Pine Valley. And the eighteenth is a great finishing hole, downhill off the tee then narrowing, turning and climbing to a bunkered, plateaued green.
SHORE GATE GOLF CLUB
35 School House Lane, Ocean View; 609-624-8337, shoregategolfclub.com. Yardage: 7,227. Par: 72. Slope: 136. Architects: Ronald Fream and David Dale, 2002. Greens Fees: $39-$99.
T&L Golf Rating: ****
After you've built courses in about sixty countries, including Finland, Brunei and Nepal, what's the next logical step in exoticism?Joizy, of course. Shore Gate is the first new (as opposed to remodeled) East Coast course for the California-based Fream (who started in the sixties with Robert Trent Jones Sr.) and Dale. It immediately takes its place among the best public courses in the state. Position counts more than power on this highly strategic and beautiful layout set amidst 245 acres of forest and wetlands that are more naturally undulant than the South Jersey norm. The bunkering is as purposeful as it is artful, especially around the highly intriguing green complexes (often with tiered greens).
BLUE HERON PINES GOLF CLUB, WEST COURSE
550 West Country Club Drive, Cologne; 888-478-2746, blueheronpines.com. Yardage: 6,810. Par: 72. Slope: 136. Architect: Stephen Kay, 1993. Greens Fees: $55-$100.
T&L Golf Rating: *** 1/2
When it opened in 1993, BHP helped launch South Jersey's upscale daily fee boom, and through the years it has held its own. Well groomed, with large greens demanding close attention to pin placement, the West builds toward fireworks on the back nine, particularly fourteen through seventeen. Owner Roger Hansen had Kay work in a few salutes to Pine Valley, hence the ninety-yard-long cross-bunker on the par-five fourteenth (a scaled down Hell's Half Acre from Pine Valley's seventh) and the 135-yard par-three eleventh (a milder version of Pine Valley's famous tenth). The par-four fifteenth, demanding a capelike approach around a pond, requires a special type of ball, the kind made of brass.