Course Architects: Ron Fream & David Dale
Year Opened: 2002
Location: Ocean View, New Jersey
Slope: 136. Rating: 74.9
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,227
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 394 Yds    10 - Par 4 470 Yds
                      2 - Par 4 432 Yds    11 - Par 4 409 Yds
                      3 - Par 4 404 Yds    12 - Par 4 410 Yds
                      4 - Par 4 370 Yds    13 - Par 5 556 Yds
                      5 - Par 3 163 Yds    14 - Par 3 144 Yds
                      6 - Par 5 589 Yds    15 - Par 4 406 Yds
                      7 - Par 4 401 Yds    16 - Par 5 542 Yds
                      8 - Par 3 225 Yds    17 - Par 3 204 Yds
                      9 - Par 5 648 Yds    18 - Par 4 460 Yds
                      Par 36  3,626 Yds     Par 36  3,601 Yds

Awards Won: #2 Best Public Course in New Jersey - Golf Digest (2005-06),
            #18 Best-in-State Rankings (NJ) - Golf Digest (2005),
            4 1/2 stars - Places to Play - Golf Digest (2006),
            Top 10 best new upscale public courses - Golf Digest (2004),
            Top Ten You Can Play - Golf Magazine (2002).


HISTORY:  You're handed  245 acres  of  pristine forest  and told  to carve  a
top-notch  golf  course out of the  pine barrens of South Jersey, just minutes
south  of Atlantic  City. That was the  task given to architects Ron Fream and
David Dale by Shore Gate owners, the Douglas Turner family.

Based primarily out of California, Fream and Dale have done most of their work
in  the  Golden State and in  the far east,  such as Japan, Malaysia and South
Korea.  The Turners it  seems, wanted to use someone that hadn't done a course
in  the  area, as they  were looking for something  out of the ordinary. After
meeting with Fream and listening to his ideas and thoughts, the job was his.

After  traversing  the site, Fream and  Dale moved 450,000 cubic yards of sand
and  began  to mold a  dynamic course to challenge  the best of players. Trees
line  most  of the rolling  fairways, sandy waste  areas and water hazards are
strategically placed, plenty of fescue and the bunkering, well, quite unique.

The  architects placed  88 standard, so to speak, traps around the course, but
added  well over  70  sand-splashed,  vertical dunes  for  a very  interesting

So  what you have  in the finished product is a thinking man's golf course. It
features  some forced carries, requires pinpoint accuracy, necessitates length
and  commands  an all-around game. The  bottom line, according to Fream, "This
course does not cater to the 25 handicapper." Most feel, however, if
approached from the right set of markers, Shore Gate is very playable for
golfers of all levels.

In  just a short  period of time, Shore Gate has been recognized with the very
best,  receiving a  number two rating for  best public course in New Jersey by
Golf Digest.

REVIEW:  The  most important function  prior to teeing  off at Shore Gate Golf
Club  is choosing the correct set of tees to play from. The course ranges from
the  red tees at 5,284 yards to the black buttons at 7,227 yards, so play with
your head, not your cojones!

The opener at Shore Gate is a smart, dogleg left par four, just 394 yards from
the tips. The tree-lined fairway should keep you honest, so three metal should
be  the play  off the  tee. Just  a  short iron  should remain  to a  modestly
undulating  green  with a  pair of bunkers  left and one  right. A front flag,
although  closer, is tough to get at, so play middle of the green and two putt
for par.

Numerous  tee boxes  highlight the second hole, on this rugged dogleg left par
four. Water and waste areas guard the entire left side of the hole through the
green. Don't be greedy. Play a draw over the center of the lake to set up your
best  opportunity  to the green. The  fairway is very receptive, but don't cut
off  too much or  you'll end up in jail. The green is slightly elevated with a
mammoth bunker short and right. The putting surface is flat in the middle, but
the  edges, especially left, fall off sharply. This is the longest par four on
the front nine, so making par is a good score.

Sand  dots  the landscape on  the dogleg  left par four  third. A drive of 239
yards  is  needed to clear  the lake  down the left  side, however right is no
bargain  either with a dozen traps, most for sight, very much in play. Hitting
the  fairway  with a three-metal  does not guarantee  an easy approach, as the
landing  area is very undulating and full of slope. Although just a short iron
remains,  club selection is  key, as the putting surface is one of the longest
on  the course at 49 paces deep and multi-tiered. Four deep traps surround the
green, making pinpoint control a must. Birdies yes, but par is OK.

The  fourth is  a straightaway, fairly short par four, requiring accuracy over
length.  Trees flank both  sides of the fairway, so a three-metal is more than
enough  to  reach the short  grass. Another short iron  is left to an elevated
green  that's wide, but very narrow. Club selection is key, for your approach,
avoiding  the  deep, 70-yard bunker  on the left and  the trap right. Any shot
long or left will result in a difficult up-and-down for par.

After  four consecutive par fours, Shore Gate's first par three is a downright
gem.  Not very long  at 163 yards from the tips, the key is choosing the right
stick  off the tee. A lake covers the left side through the green and two deep
traps,  one short and  one deep wreak havoc for poor club choices. The putting
surface  is very undulating  with a ridge in the center, running from front to
back. A pin position in the left-corner can be a real round buster.

The  first of two  incredibly long par fives on the front nine, the sixth is a
whopping  589  yards, a definite  three-shotter. Your  tee shot must favor the
left  side, as a very deep and 56-yard long bunker covers the right. Trees run
down  both sides  of the fairway, but  are very close to the right side. Three
strategically  placed  fairway bunkers guard  the landing area for your second
shot.  Once again,  play down the left side  of the fairway to set up the best
approach to the green, thus avoiding the very deep bunker on the right. Just a
wedge  should remain to another long and tiered green, that runs hot from back
to front and then up toward the fairway. A quartet of traps surround the green
and  at all costs,  avoid the front bunker, as it's very deep and difficult to
get  any recovery shot  close. Birdies are usually the norm on par five's, but
not the third hardest hole on the course.

A  boomerang of a  par four, the seventh swings hard from left to right around
acres of sand that runs from tee to green. Several diabolical, framing bunkers
dot  the landscape through the fairway, which narrows as you get closer to the
promised  land. Cut the  corner if you must, but a three-metal to the 150-yard
marker,  will  set up a short  iron to a very  slick green. One of the smaller
putting  surfaces at Shore Gate, the green runs from back to front and is very
undulating.  Any shot short  and right will end up in the sand box, which sits
well  below  the green. Play  under the flag, putt  uphill and be very content
with a par.

One of the finest par threes at the Jersey shore, the eighth is the longest on
the course at 225 yards. A fairway metal will be needed to reach this long and
well-guarded green. Bunkers galore, 27 in fact, cover the entire hole from tee
to  green. Most are for aesthetics, but several certainly come into play, like
the  very deep  front bunker  or the  difficult pot  bunker left.  The putting
surface  slopes  from back  to front  and is  multi-tiered, so club selection,
especially  when the wind  is up, is critical. A par here is like stealing one
from the competition.

That  brings us to  the ninth, without a doubt, the longest and most difficult
hole  on  the course and in  south Jersey --  648 yards, yes that's right, 648
yards  long from  the back tees. Remember  at the start, I mentioned to choose
the right tees? Here is a perfect example. The drive alone must carry over 200
yards just to reach the fairway. A sandy waste area runs down the left side to
the  lake while  tall trees guard the  right. After a successful tee ball, the
hole  snakes around  the lake to the  left. A fairway club must be struck with
precision  just to cross  the corner of the water, leaving a mid to short iron
to the green. Three framing pot bunkers guard the landing area to the right, a
perfect target to lay up. The putting surface is 47 paces long and narrow with
three  distinct sections. Any shot well left is wet and just missing left will
be engulfed in sand. Bail right and rely on your short game to save par.

The  inward nine  opens with one of  the most difficult holes on the course, a
rugged 470-yard par four, that bends slightly to the left. Playing uphill from
the  tee, trees  line both  sides of  the fairway,  with bunkers  guarding the
landing  area. A  blast of over 240 yards  is needed just to carry the trio of
bunkers  on the right side, the favorable spot to be as you approach your next
play.  Two deep traps  cover the left side of the fairway that must be avoided
to  have  any shot at  reaching the  green. A long  iron or fairway metal will
remain  to  a back-to-front sloping green.  Bunkers on both sides of the green
will  keep  you honest. Can  you imagine a back-left  pin? That would make par
almost impossible.

The  11th  is a chance to  get one back, as  it's only 409 yards long. A large
waste  area runs  down the left side  of the generous fairway, while trees dot
the  right.  The landing  area does narrow  the farther down  you go, so three
metal  off  the tee might be  the play. As the  hole bends to the left, just a
short iron should remain to a medium sized green that's fronted by deep rough.
Any  shot  long and  right will  make for a  tough recovery,  where sand and a
severe slope await.

A  rare  straightaway hole, the  12th requires precision  off the tee, as deep
rough  and  tall trees guard  the right. One of  the few holes without fairway
sand, this par four features a left-to-right sloping fairway. Beware, however,
as any tee shot missing left runs the risk of clearing mounds and finishing in
an  environmental area. Now  the fun begins, as a lake runs from 100 yards out
and around the green to the right. Two deep-faced traps stand left and another
right  that's well  below the green. The putting surface slopes hard from back
to  front with a ridge near the front and a chipping area in the rear. A back-
right  pin, tucked behind the sand and near the water could be very difficult,
especially when the wind is in your face.

After  a  short cart ride through  the woods, the  long par five 13th comes in
full  view. Mounding  and a half dozen or so unique sand-splashed wall bunkers
run  the left side of the landing area, while a beach-type waste area runs the
right.  It's certainly  possible to get home  in two, but the chances are slim
and  none, as  the fairway is just a  few paces wide the closer you get to the
green.  Your second  shot  layup  must be  placed  precisely between  numerous
fairway  bunkers on  both sides  of  the right-to-left  sloping fairway.  From
there, you should be able to attack the two-tiered putting surface, especially
with a front flag. A word of caution, miss right of the green and it's a sandy
waste  area, while left  are a pair of very deep bunkers well below the green.
Although  ranked as the second-most difficult hole on the course, the 13th can
be had.

Speaking  of making birdies,  the 14th is the easiest and shortest hole on the
course,  just 144 yards in length. A short iron can attack the elevated green,
but  deep sand traps lurk around the entire green, not to mention a sharp drop
off  to the left of the putting surface. The green is also the smallest on the
course, just 23 steps in length with a large tier in the center that runs from
front  to back. Take dead aim with your short iron. A "2" always looks good on
the scorecard.

Not  long  in length  at 406  yards, the  15th is  one of  my favorites on the
course.  A  beautiful, dogleg right  over water and  waste area, this par four
requires  a properly placed tee ball down the right-center of the fairway. The
undulating landing area narrows at 140 yards, so three-metal off the tee might
be the play for the longer hitter. Deep bunkers and mounding are down the left
side,  so  stay clear, or  you'll be chipping out  to the fairway. Your second
will  be  with a medium iron  across a lake to  a very long green with several
tiers. Pin placement will dictate club selection, where you might be forced to
hit  as much  as a long-iron. Any shot  short or right will be wet and bailing
out  left is no bargain either, as a deep bunker will capture any errant shot.
Last  time out, I  needed a 4-iron to get home, two-putted for par and was all

The  tee shot on the reachable, par five 16th is the most critical play on the
hole,  as it must carry well over 200 yards over a lake to the fairway. Not an
easy  task with  the wind in your face.  Down the right side is the best play,
however,  it's also the  longest part of the lake to carry, 236 yards from the
tips.  Trees  flank both sides of  the bunkerless fairway, so anything off the
mark  will result  in a  pitch-out, trust  me. If  successful off  the tee,  a
fairway  metal should remain to the promised land, however, a tall tree stands
some  60 yards  short of the green,  swatting down any shot not high enough to
carry.  The  best play would be  down the right  side of the fairway, past the
tree  for the  best approach to the left-positioned green. The putting surface
slopes  hard  from back to  front with a  horseshoe shaped bunker, front right
that  sits well  below the green. Any  shot below the hole, could spin off the
green, so your wedge approach needs to be spot on for your birdie attempt.

The  17th  is a  well-conceived,  long  par three  of  204  yards --  visually
intimidating  off  the tee, with  a large waste bunker  fronting the tee and a
deep  bunker, short right-center of the green. A long iron or hybrid is needed
if  your playing the tips to reach one of the longest and widest greens on the
course.  Several tiers  and  slopes can  play  havoc, even  with  the best  of
putters.  Two bunkers guard the left side with one enormous trap deep. A tough
hole to make par, especially with the match on the line.

The  closing  hole is another  doozy. Bending slightly  to the right, the 18th
forces  you to hit  a power-fade, as trees line the right side of the tee box.
The  fairway  is open to the  left, but requires  a 230-yard play to clear the
waste  area. A  medium  to  long iron  remains  to  another monster,  slightly
elevated  green,  47 yards long  with multiple  tiers. Deep bunkers guard both
sides  of the putting surface, so your approach must be struck with authority.
What a finish!

OVERALL:  With all of the new upscale public courses in the south Jersey area,
Shore  Gate Golf Club  is only course of the bunch with a 4 1/2 star rating by
Golf  Digest. That's high praise for a course that's been open for less than a
decade.  "It's  a wonderful acknowledgement of  the quality of the golf course
and  of the  commitment all  of  us here  share  to ensure  the best  possible
experience for our members and guests," commented head golf professional Harry

Shore  Gate is  not for  the faint  of heart,  even from  the lesser  tees, as
evidenced  of the slope  rating of 126 from the red markers. One reason is the
difficult  fescue rough. Despite being trimmed down the past few seasons, it's
very  tough to escape  from. The bunkers are very deep and varied, making sand
saves  arduous at best. Tree-lined fairways require accurate tee balls and the
length  of the course necessitates strength. As mentioned at the beginning, if
you choose the right tees, you'll have a fighting chance, otherwise, you're in
for a long afternoon.

The  course,  with rolling fairways,  undulating greens  and a wide variety of
holes,  is very  unique  to the  area, which  features  mainly flat,  somewhat
uninspired  layouts. "Shore  Gate  is a  copy  of no  one  and nothing  else,"
commented Fream. The course is made up of bent grass tees, fairways and greens
and  blue grass  rough and  fescue. A  total of  88 standard  bunkers dot  the
premises,  not  to mention numerous  wall-styled traps. Don't forget the seven
ponds and lakes.

Let's  talk about the amenities. The clubhouse is probably the weakest part of
the  property, but it  has what you need. A fully stocked pro shop and a place
to  stretch  your legs  with a  cold one after  your round.  Missing is a full
locker room equipped with showers, etc.

The  practice facility  is solid, the staff is extremely courteous, especially
the  starter who  gives you the lowdown  on the course and which tees to play,
even  though he  doesn't know your game.  The course can be walked, but it's a
long  track, so take the cart that comes with your fee. Speaking of which, the
price  during  the season is  reasonable for  a high-end public course, around
$100,  and during the offseason, the price can be as low as $50 in October for
a twilight time.

The  bottom line, Shore  Gate Golf Club is the most difficult public course in
south  Jersey and  for the golfer who  wants to be challenged, this is it. You
will  use every club in your bag and try shots that you have never done in the
past.  That's  what I call a  golf course. Forget  the rest, Shore Gate is the
A.C.'s best.