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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shore Gate Rates a Trip to Jersey

Shore Gate Golf Club is one of the many under-appreciated golf opportunities on the Jersey shore.  Since it opened in 2002, it's been named to numerous "best of" lists, which is completely understandable once you play the demanding, scenic layout that winds through the pine forests of Ocean View, NJ. Daily fee (and membership) rates are reasonable, the golf is good, and there are plenty of amenities to add to your experience, including Atlantic City just 30 minutes away.

The course was designed by Ron Fream and David Dale and built on 245 acres with plenty of dramatic elevation changes and rolling terrain. The architects mixed features of both parkland and link-style golf to make things interesting.  Fairways are tight, greens are expansive, and you'll find plenty of water and sand to challenge your game. From the tips, Shore Gate stretches over 7,200 yards, but there are four other sets of tees to make par accessible for every level of golfer. Given the amount of trouble on the course, I'd recommend sticking with the 6,391-yard whites (rating/slope of 70.7/132) for anyone except the longest-hitting single handicappers.

Shore Gate #9 - 577 yard par 5
There are 88 bunkers on Shore Gate (as well as seven ponds and lakes), making even the shorter holes a test of your game. The toughest hole on the course, though, is the longest. It's the ninth, which measures 577 yards from the white tees--you don't even want to think about playing the black at 648!  the ninth hole is also a true par five, wrapping in a u-shape around a water hazard on the left side of the fairway that also squeezes in front of the green.

Among the many short-hole delights is the 371-yard seventh hole, aka "Bunker City." A dramatic sand chute runs the entire length of the right side of the fairway from tee to green, making the dog-leg a slicer's nightmare. Even straight hitters can get in trouble here, too, because they can drive through the fairway and end up with trees between them and the green.

Among the other golf pleasures of Shore Gate is the practice area with multi-tiered driving range featuring both bent grass and artificial tees, a huge putting green, and a practice bunker. Peak time green fees run $115 during peak season, but twilight rates are around $70. For the best prices--and the best weather--enjoy Shore Gate in September and October, when you can tee it up for as little as $50.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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