Pros: Two totally different courses, great condition, great service, decent prices
Cons: Bugs during certain times of the year
The south Jersey shore should be known for more than just casinos and Snookie. The Jersey shore area has a host of wonderful old historic golf courses dating back to the early 1900s. They are Brigantine Golf Links, Atlantic City CC, Linwood CC, and my home course, Seaview CC.
Seaview CC is a true throwback in almost every way. The large hotel maintains the decor and style from the pre-depression era, and you feel like you are stepping back in time when you enter the lobby. The staff are polite and respectful but not stuffy (although I am trying to break them of their habit of calling me by my surname), and will bend over backwards to take care of your every need.
Seaview has two courses, called appropriately The Bay and The Pines.
The Bay course was built in 1912 and designed by Donald Ross. It is a true links and a true classic, situated along Reeds Bay and offering players beautiful vistas of Atlantic City and Brigantine. It went through many changes over the years, but was recently returned to its original layout when Troon Golf assumed management. It has hosted play by many notables such as Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, and was the site of Sam Snead's first major vicotry at the 1942 PGA Championship, shown in the pic below.
Today, the Bay course is the venue for the LPGA ShopRite Classic. The Bay course is somewhat short at 6011/whites and 6247/blues, but don't start licking your chops before you know a little more. The greens are very fast, and break more than they appear. Some of them are very small and fall away on all sides, while others are dual level where if your ball is not on the right one you're bringing a 3 or more putt into play. I sometimes derive a little amusement when I play with good golfers not from the area and watch as they struggle to adapt to the greens. Another aspect that gives the Bay some teeth is the abundance of deep fescue that makes the ball very hard to find and advance for wayward shots. The regular rough is also quite dense. However, if you keep it on the fariways, they are always trim and immaculate, promoting crisp accurate iron striking. The last thing that makes the Bay harder than it appears on paper is because it is situated on open marshland, the wind is almost always a factor. So, in spite of it's shortness and lack of trees or woods, don't take the Bay for granted and make sure your tee shots and putting are on or you might be in for a long day.
The Pines course is of very different character than the Bay. Right across the road from the Bay, opened in 1929 and designed by Flynn and Toomey, the Pines is a classic parklands course. It is a little longer than the Bay, at 6211yds from the whites, and a brutal 6733 from the blues. It is a straightforward design, mixing in doglegs and elevated greens, generous bunkering, and fast undulating greens. All the fairways are tree-lined and bordered by very dense rough, and most are pretty narrow by today's standards. As with the Bay, the Pines fairways are kept in immaculate condition, rewarding golfers for keeping the ball on the fairways with the potential for pure iron shots. One of the unique features of the Pines is two back to back par 5s on holes 9 and 10, and back to back long par 3s on holes 15 and 16. The two par 5s, while not particularly long (490 and 465 from the whites), are pretty much true 5s, because both greens are elevated and beset by bunkers, requiring a heroic second shot to get on in two. The two par 3s measure 185 and 210, and face opposite directions, so if one is downwind, the other will be upwind. I always feel very pleased if I can get par/bogey out of that pair.
I often get asked which course I like better, and I can truly say they are a dead heat in my mind. Two great classic courses of totally different characters along with good value and outstanding customer service are the reasons why I joined, and why Seaview makes such an attractive golf destination.