Pine Valley Golf Course Review, Background, Info and Experience
The word "yes" is an automatic if the coveted words "Pine Valley" are in a phrase that includes "invite". Why you ask if you don't know of Pine Valley. The answer is simple it is always ranked in the top 5 courses with several years receiving the #1 in the world ranking. In addition the private club is very exclusive and the membership base is small making an invite arguable harder to get than Augusta.
Pine Valley is located in Camden County in southern New Jersey. It was founded in 1913 by a group of golfers from Philadelphia who purchased the property it resides on today. They selected George Crump to design this famed course in the heavily forested rolling hills with sandy base.
Haven't heard the name Crump before in golf architecture? That is because this was his first and only course he designed. It may have been his last because it was beast to build and required him to sell his hotel to help finance it. To build Pine Valley they had remove 22,000 trees and drain marshlands in a remote area. Keep in mind Crump didn't have the conveniences of modern machinery and infrastructure. Horses were heavily relied to help with the course construction.
While Crump was the lead architect he smartly did receive experienced input from Hugh Wilson, Thomas Jr, Walter Travis A.W. Tillinghast, and H.S. Colt. Part of what makes the course so special is Crumps unique vision with extensive space between holes; changing routing through the Pines; and differing holes lengths and layouts that require the player to utilize their entire set of clubs.
In 1914 the initial 11 holes were completed. Unfortunately, Crump passed away in 1918 before he could see his masterpiece completed in 1919. Adjustments have occurred to the course since and a par 3 course, The Short Course, designed by Tom Fazio and Ernest Ransom III was later added.
The clubhouse is comfortable, rustic and simple. The property also includes a variety of lodging types for members and guests including cottages and houses. The attitudes and spirit of the club are welcoming and amiable. Everyone at Pine Valley is simply there to play golf and have fun.
An intriguing background always helps to the lure of the course but at the end of the day its the course that ultimately defines its justification of a top ranked world course. When analyzing what makes Pine Valley special is that its the ultimate challenge. Every hole is a unique masterpiece requiring the player mentally and physically demonstrate excellence to score well. The slope rating of 155 gives you an idea of the type of precise demands that are required to successfully conquer the pines.
Here are some additional insights into the demur of Pine Valley. The course is tightly lined with trees that both create challenges with errant shots and shot selection. A high percentage of these trees have grown in since the original course buildout stimulating ongoing dialogue if they should be removed or thinned out to return the course to its original vision. The somewhat good news is that there is no OB so if you can find your ball in the trees and pull off some magic in getting out the dreaded double bogey can be avoided.
Bunkers are a true penal and it has plenty with its sand base with some wicked one's who rightfully are vulgarly named including the "The devil's asshole". The bunkers also don't have rakes so dirty lies are abundant. And it doesn't stop there. Add in carry requirements, elevation change and tight greens with significant undulation that require ultimate precision in fairway placement to achieve ideal approach angles with distance and position control. I think you get the picture of the difficulties of the course without any weather elements coming into play.
So what did a group of low handicap players shoot? Lets just say with the added variable of wind nobody came close to breaking 80 and the high scores were high.
What make Pine Valley different than other high slope courses that were purely built to punish golfers is that the course is unique, beautiful, enjoyable and the challenge is fair and good play is rewarded. Over the course of multiple rounds you are eager to play again in attempt to play your best, demonstrate mastery of varying shot types and triumph (albeit it may just be on a few of the holes).
The entire experience and certainly the golf experience also bolster Pine Valley. As aforementioned the property is secluded and the course layout is spacious. You are able to leave the stresses and hustle of normal life; settle into a slower pace where senses of your surrounding become more acute; you gain elevated focus on your game; and camaraderie with your group becomes paramount.
The ethos of WYLD1 is To Find New Ground. There are two elements that make this ethos special to us. The first is a mental to challenge yourself to break barriers and do things different than the pack. The second is to seek new experiences in new places and to literally put your feet on new ground. Golf is distinct in that nature plays a pivotal role in the game with every course having unique elements and challenges dictated by the surrounding land. While ocean vistas are a common element that augments many top ranked courses, Pine Valley can surmount because it is simply that good and its character is exceptional.
WYLD1 not surprisingly agrees and leaves no doubt that Pine Valley should be ranked amongst the best of the best. Drop everything if the invite is graciously extended to Pine Valley and make this immortalized golf experience a reality you can talk about for the rest of your life.
GO BIG HOLES
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