Course Architect: Ed Carman (2000)
Year Opened: 2000
Location: Pittsgrove, New Jersey
Slope: 134. Rating: 74.3
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,074
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 383 Yds    10 - Par 4 406 Yds
                      2 - Par 4 491 Yds    11 - Par 4 378 Yds
                      3 - Par 4 373 Yds    12 - Par 4 479 Yds
                      4 - Par 5 523 Yds    13 - Par 3 246 Yds
                      5 - Par 3 153 Yds    14 - Par 5 552 Yds
                      6 - Par 4 421 Yds    15 - Par 4 361 Yds
                      7 - Par 3 185 Yds    16 - Par 3 187 Yds
                      8 - Par 4 411 Yds    17 - Par 5 546 Yds
                      9 - Par 5 502 Yds    18 - Par 4 477 Yds
                      Par 36  3,442 Yds     Par 36  3,632 Yds

Key Events Held: NFL Alumni Tournament (2009).

Awards Won: Ranked number 20 in New Jersey - Golf Digest (2005-06).


HISTORY:  For original  owner Ed Carman and his family, Running Deer Golf Club
was  a labor of love. You see, Carman designed the layout, and his sons - J.R.
and Ted - were head professional and course superintendent, respectively.

Carman, a member of the PGA in the early 1950s, was head professional at Buena
Vista  Country Club, but  always dreamt of his own golf course. With help from
his family, those dreams turned into a reality.

As  the  years went by,  Carman's design, spread out  over 300 acres, began to
receive  high marks, including  being rated 20th in the state of New Jersey by
Golf Digest.

The past several years, however, have been quite a contrast. According to many
reports,  Carman overextended  himself  and  failed to  pay  many bills,  thus
allowing the golf course to fall into disarray and lose many members.

Fast-forward  to 2008  and the sale of  the club to former NFL quarterback Ron
Jaworski.  The current  Monday  Night  Football analyst  and  his partner  Ken
Kochenour  purchased Running Deer in the fall of '08 and were able to persuade
Charlie  Clarke,  the former superintendent  at Woodbury Country Club, to join
the fold.

"Charlie  has  done a fantastic  job of  turning this course around," Jaworski
said,  adding,  ""We are extremely  excited to take  over a facility with this
much class."

Only  time  will tell,  but it  seems Jaworski  and company  are ready to take
Running Deer to the next level.

REVIEW:  The opening  hole at Running Deer  is a modest par four of 383 yards.
The  tree-lined fairway is made even tighter by a 70-yard bunker down the left
side.  Three-metal  is a good play  off the tee, setting  up a short iron to a
very  difficult putting  surface. The  green boasts  several humps  and bumps,
making  it  difficult to  get it  close. Birdie  is a  possibility, but par is

Number  two is  a bear of a par  four, stretching 491 yards from the tips. The
split  fairway is  quite deceiving  with the  150-yard stake  residing in  the
rough. In fact, you'll be left with a very long approach regardless of how far
you  blast  your drive. Trees on  both sides certainly narrow the fairway, but
it's  the length that  will get you. Another sloping green from back to front,
so stay below the hole for your best shot at saving par.

The  third is a beautiful, short par four that's target golf at its best. Just
373  yards,  you'll need  a fairway metal  or long  iron off the  tee to hit a
landing  area, which is flanked on the right by trees and the left by a sandy,
clay  pit which wraps around most of the hole. Your second shot will be played
down  towards  the island  green which  is surrounded by  clay and the natural
sand.  The immense putting surface is three-tiered and slick, so be careful or
a three-putt could be in the offing.

It's  risk-reward time  when you reach the fourth. A relatively short par five
at  523  yards by today's  standards, this  one requires splicing the numerous
fairway  bunkers that dot the landing area. If accomplished, then you can have
a go, otherwise, play it as a three-shotter and give yourself a shot at birdie
the  old fashioned way, sinking a 10-footer for birdie. That's what I did, but
I still missed the putt.

The  first par three  on the course is the shortest of the quartet at just 153
yards.  Trouble  on the right will  keep you honest,  but with a short iron in
hand,  you  should be able  to navigate the  approach. The putting surface has
plenty of character, so depending on the pin placement, don't get greedy.

Another  tree-lined par four, the sixth is straightaway with plenty of sand to
catch  your errant tee ball. Still more sand protects the green, so play right
of  the green if you must and rely on your short game. It's the fourth-hardest
hole on the course and rightfully so.

One of the several signature holes at Running Deer, the seventh is a great par
three  that runs up to 185 yards. The trouble is club selection, as the entire
hole  is played over a clay and natural sand quarry. The putting surface is 50
yards  wide  and shallow, making your  target even more difficult. A back-left
flag  could add 20  yards to the hole, forcing a draw around a group of trees.
Who said par threes had to be easy?

No  surprises on  the eighth,  it's just  a straightaway  par four  with trees
running down both sides of the fairway and a pair of bunkers on either side of
the landing area. A short to medium iron will remain to a well-bunkered green.
This hole can be had, but you'll have to be spot on.

The closing hole on the outward nine is the shortest and trickiest par five on
the  course. The key  is the tee ball, which must favor the right side or play
short  of the "Pine  Valley" like waste area down the center of the fairway. A
successful tee shot will leave a 200-220 yard shot to the green. This is where
the fun begins, as the putting surface is tucked to the right behind a section
of  tall trees. The  front of the green is protected by several bunkers, so if
you  can manage  a high-cut with a hybrid  or a fairway metal, then go for it.
Otherwise,  play down  the fairway and leave yourself a short pitch to another
undulating green. If you haven't found out yet, birdies are hard to come by at
Running Deer.

The  back nine starts  with a rock-solid par four that requires thought on the
tee.  Several traps guard both sides of the landing area, especially where the
fairway  tightens  as you  get closer  to the hole.  The best  play would be a
three-metal  off  the tee, as  this sets up  a medium to  short iron to a long
putting surface with sand on both sides. The two-tiered green slopes hard from
back to front, so once again, below the hole is the best position.

If  you thought the  first 10 holes were something, just wait to you reach the
11th  tee. One of the shortest par fours on the course, this sharp dogleg left
must  be  played carefully.  Trees hug  the entire right  side of the fairway,
while  three bunkers  guard the right-corner of the landing area. Water creeps
out  on the left  side and then runs in front-left of the green. Bunkers guard
the  rear and right of the putting surface, which slopes from back to front. A
short pin can be attacked, but be leery of the pond.

There  is no question  that the 12th is the hardest hole on the course. At 479
yards  its  length is  not impossible, but  its shape might  be. A hard dogleg
right around two sections of water, makes you think twice on the tee. First of
all,  your tee shot  must cut the corner and be high enough to clear the trees
down the right. The left side of the landing area is wall-to-wall trees, so no
bailout  possible. Then you're left with an uphill approach to a well-guarded,
sloping  green. The  one question mark of the hole is the hard-canting fairway
that slopes toward the water.

The 13th is a brilliant par three, not to mention the longest on the course at
246 yards. If the wind is up, you might need driver to get home and if the pin
is  back-left, good  luck. I'm  not so  sure this  isn't the  hardest hole  at
Running  Deer. The bunker short and left gets plenty of action, but the green,
with  its  back-to-front slope, is a  killer. Not many people will make birdie
here,  let alone  par. My downhill six-footer for birdie didn't even scare the

One  of  my favorites at  Running Deer  is another risk-reward signature hole,
the  par-five  14th. Out  of a  chute of  trees, your  tee shot plays slightly
downhill  towards  the tight, tree-lined  fairway. From  there, a player has a
couple  of options, go  for the green or lay up short and right. If you go for
the  green,  you'll have  to fly  a group  of tall  trees on  your way, not to
mention  waste area  and sand. The sensible  play for us mortals is out to the
right,  leaving a short  pitch to a very long putting surface. Not only is the
green  lengthy,  but it  features several swales,  putting extreme pressure on
your short game.

Fifteen  can be  sort of a breather, as  it only runs 361 yards from the tips.
Don't  be fooled -  this little gem has plenty of bite, especially if you miss
the  fairway.  Hybrid or  long iron  off the tee  will leave  a wedge in hand,
giving  the player an  opportunity to attack the flag. The problem here is the
massive trap short of the green and the two-tiered, bowl-like putting surface.
A  front flag is simple, as all shots will funnel towards the pin, but a back-
left  or right can  be hard to get at. Take your best shot, because birdies on
the final three holes happen rarely.

The 16th is a modest par three, with a bunker on either side of the green. The
putting  surface does slope from back to front, but it's not as severe as some
of  the  others at Running Deer.  Deep pins will  be hard to attack with woods
right and rear. Take par and move on.

The  final par  five on the course, the  17th, can be fun if played right. The
fairway  is split in  two and putting driver in your hand does run the risk of
running  down into  the gully that divides the landing area. Having said that,
this  is not  a  bad play,  as it  will  leave a  long  iron or  hybrid to  an
accessible  green.  Laying up is  not a problem, as  no fairway bunkers lie in
wait,  just  a couple of  pot bunkers at the  green. Mounding right, short and
rear  can either help or hinder your approach, but this can be a birdie if you
play your cards right.

The  bottom line  on  the finale  at  Running  Deer, it's  just  a hard  hole.
Doglegging  to  the right,  the 18th is  a hard driving  hole with two bunkers
pinching  the  fairway. If you  can cut the corner  of the dogleg, you'll give
yourself  the best chance of reaching the bunkerless green. The biarritz-style
putting  surface  is slightly  raised, so take  an extra stick  to get home in
regulation.  Put  the pin  in the  back-right corner and  you have one beastly

BJ  Jaworski, the Director  of Golf said it best, "This is an exquisite layout
for  a golf  course. You  can't duplicate  what we  have here;  every hole  is
different and unique." My sentiments, exactly.

FINAL  WORD: I must  admit that when I first played Running Deer several years
ago,  I swore  that I would never  play the course again. Well, my wife always
tells me, never say never, and that couldn't be more accurate in this case.

I  just recently  went  back to  Running  Deer  Golf Club  and  was more  than
pleasantly surprised.

The  key to the sudden transformation has to be Ron Jaworski and his team. The
original  owners  had let  the golf  course go. Tees  and fairways were almost
undiscernible  and the greens, well, let's just say they were rolling seven on
the stimpmeter.

With  a  new superintendent (Charlie Clarke)  and a new attitude, Jaworski has
Running Deer heading in the right direction.

"He  was able to do extraordinary things over the winter months (2008-09) when
it's hard to transform a facility, but Charlie has done it," commented general
manager Bob Ewing.

Always  a wonderful design, the course is now well-defined, as several hundred
trees were removed, irrigation was added and drainage updated.

With half a dozen teeing grounds, ranging from 5,080 to over 7,000 yards, this
South  Jersey  gem is  for all skill  levels. Just remember  to pick the right

Tree-lined  fairways  riddled with plenty  of sand (approximately 60 bunkers),
several  water hazards  and greens now reaching 11 on the Stimp, makes Running
Deer  a must-play,  not to mention a soon-play. RDGC is currently semi-private
with  every intention of  going private in a couple of years, so book your tee
time soon.

The  reasonable rates  make Running Deer all the more enticing. It isn't often
that  a championship layout  costs just $70, and that's just on the weekend. A
top price of $55 Monday through Thursday is tough to beat.

But  that's not the half of it. Running Deer also features the Dick Smith Golf
Academy.  Brothers  Dick and Tom Smith  have more than 40 years of experience,
not  to mention that  Dick was the former President of the PGA of America. "We
are  very excited to  team up with Dick and Tom," mentioned Jaworski. "It fits
nicely  with  our goal  at  Running  Deer to  provide  the  very highest  golf
experience for the golfer."

Jaws  calls  Running Deer his  "Crown Jewel"  in the Jaworski portfolio, which
includes  other  New Jersey  courses, Valleybrook  Country Club and RiverWinds
G&TC, not to mention several layouts in Pennsylvania.

There's  more to  Running  Deer  than golf.  The  stately  17,000 square  foot
clubhouse  features a spacious banquet facility, with elegant surroundings and
a  beautiful cathedral  ceiling.  And the  food...outstanding.  Whether for  a
wedding  or corporate  outing, Running  Deer Golf  Club can  fill all  of your

One  thing is  certain, with Jaworski taking the snaps, Running Deer Golf Club
will soon be at the forefront of championship golf in South Jersey.