1. Scotland Run. Scotland Run is a short trip over the Walt Whitman bridge in Williamstown, NJ. This is a very good golf course, with a handful of holes that really stand out. Numerous tee options and wide fairways make it less difficult then some of the other courses in this category. Still a lot of lost ball potential, especially on the front nine, but Scotland Run is definitely worth the trip a couple times a season. $105 at peak times during the season, for those who don’t want to pay that much, find a nice day in the fall and make the trip to play at a more reasonable rate.
2. Atlantic City Country Club. This is an option that some golfers might not know about. This course has been private, used as a perk for high rollers, but now that ACCC is completely open to the public it is worth a play, especially if you’re going to be down in A.C. for other recreational purposes. A classic design, this course provides a real taste of private club amenities. Unique holes, tough greens, it is a must play for anyone that has any appreciation for course design. The course may price out a lot of people in season, but a good place for a once a year trip if you can afford it.
3. The Golf Course at Glen Mills. Glen Mills, PA. Glen Mills is usually in very good shape, has some good holes, and is in a convenient location for a lot of people, but I always thought it was a little overrated. The area is so starved for high-end public golf that it takes anything. My main complaint with Glen Mills is they just didn’t quite have enough room. The area that makes up the 11/17 holes would have made one good hole. Instead there are two, below average tricky holes. Factor in 12 and 8 being weak as well, and you start to wonder if it is worth the money. I always play it a few times a year, but any more than that I think is a waste of funds. Also of note, no alcohol served on the premises.
4. Bulle Rock. I remember when Bulle Rock opened it was a major event. Eventhough it was a little over an hour from the Philly suburbs in Havre de Grace, MD, there wasn’t any public course like it anywhere around. Over the years, Bulle Rock has lost a little of its mystique. It’s a very good golf course, i’d hesitate to call it great, and it is on the top end of the price spectrum. It’s worth a trip, there are some amazing par 4s on the course, but I don’t think Bulle Rock ever lived up to expectations.
5. Pine Hill Golf Club. If you want to be challenged go to Pine Hill Golf Club in Pine Hill, New Jersey. Another course not far over the Walt Whitman, from the back tees this is one of the most difficult courses I’ve ever played. Narrow, and extremely penal, any offline teeshot results in a lost ball, and the greens and bunkering are very severe as well. Pine Hill is usually well maintained and isn’t too pricey, but if you are an easily frustrated golfer I’d reccommend somewhere else. There are several very good holes on the course, and if you are a straight hitter it could even become one your favorites.
6. White Clay Creek Golf Club. White Clay Creek is located on the grounds of Delaware Park. It opened a few years back with high expectations, and while it may not have completely lived up to them, it is a fun and challenging course. The best feature may be the practice area. A large range and a full short game facility await the golfer, and then the course itself has several holes that will challenge and please the eye. The only word of caution, the course can play very tough, and wild hitters will lose a number of balls.