A question I’m often asked is what are your favorite courses in the world that you’ve played. My answer over the past 10 years has not changed, PINE VALLEY by a landslide!!

The next question invariably is always..but what makes Pine Valley so great?

Words, pictures, renderings, video, etc..couldn’t do this amazing place justice, it’s just that different and special over and above any other golf course I’ve been privileged to play. What I call the Mystique of Pine Valley is about the non-verbal part of the experience, and the camaraderie that is shares at this magical place.

These are the things that I love about Pine Valley:

  • When I first arrive in Clementon NJ and I see my last right turn between the Bank and the Amusement Park
    When you see this sign you know your close to Pine Valley

    East Atlantic is the street address of Pine Valley
  • The drive to the Pine Valley gate over the railroad tracks
    This picture shows the railroad tracks where George Arthur Crump saw the property while on the train passing by this amazing piece of land

    The guard gate at Pine Valley
  • The first hole at Pine Valley is perhaps the most interesting 1st hole I’ve played anywhere
    The tee shot off the 1st tee is over this natural sand area that adds to the incredible visual of this 1st shot off #1 to this challenging dogleg right par 4 hole

    This shot towards the first green doesn't give you the view off the left and right side of this very tough green that gets more narrow as you go further back on the green
  • The second requires a VERY straight tee shot or the side waste bunkers will snag your tee ball and most likely cost you a shot. The second green is one of the most undulated green I’ve played anywhere. Even after a decent shot to the green your work has only begun. This is a key hole in getting off to a good start.

    You can't really make out the green up the hill, but you can see the natural sand bunkers that guard the front of this tough hole
  • The 3rd hole is a downhill par 3 that usually plays 180-200 yards long depending on where the pin is located on the very long and wide green. The green slopes steeply from right to left and a miss left or right of the green makes par unlikely. It usually is a 7-6 iron to the front half of the green downhill and a 5-4 iron to a back pin.

    The par three 3rd hole is yet another shot played over the natural sand dunes that you'll find on most of the holes at Pine Valley
  • The 4th hole at Pine Valley measures almost 500 yards up a steep slope and then down the other side of a steep hill that requires both length and accuracy off the new back tee. The additional yardage added changed the tee shot from a 3 metal to a driver off this very demanding but fun par 4. After a good drive your faced with a downhill shot to a wide green that slopes from front to back. You must play a shot short of the pin and try to gauge how much release you’ll get with the trajectory of your shot

    Downhill shot to this wide green at #4 that requires a long and accurate drive, and a solid second shot
  • The 5th hole at Pine Valley ranks right up there with the 16th at Cypress Point. When I arrived at Pine Valley for the first time in 2000 I saw this hole and thought to myself, what a cute little par four. Although it may be as tough as any par four, this is a hole I think about most often when I am planning to play at Pine Valley. This 200-220 yard par three plays steeply uphill and is fairly narrow as you progress up the hill. A bad miss right or left will most likely result in a score over 4, and sometime even higher than double bogey if your not careful. The green is EXTREMELY sloped from back to front and even after a brilliant shot onto the green a par is not secure until the 3rd shot finds the bottom of the cup. I try to hit a very straight shot up the hill to the front of the green.

    As you can see from this picture there is not much room right or left of the 5th green. The hole plays 1-2 clubs uphill depending on the wind

Today I had the pleasure of playing a practice round with my friends Stan Morrison and Joe Sanders, we had a nice game going that made one of the three of us quite happy….can’t mention any results here, you’ll have to ask them!

From left to right- Joe Sanders-Randy Haag-Stan Morrison with the 14th green in the background

The amazing practice facility at Pine Valley is really second to none- You can hit from either end that seems like a 1000 yards to each end. With several short game areas this is truly the best practice facility I’ve seen

It's hard to see much in this photo, but the practice range has numerous targets and great range balls

The two Mike’s – McCoy and Barbossa sitting in a cart ready to hit the short game area. Mike McCoy is a three time Crump Cup champion and one of the best amateurs in the country and is my pick to win the US Mid Amateur this year at the Atlantic Club!!

Barbossa on the left and McCoy on the right

Tomorrow after my round at Pine Valley in round one of the 2010 Crump Cup I will continue The Mystique of Pine Valley- STAY TUNED

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