THE PENINSULA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Course Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Year Opened: 2006
Location: Millsboro, Delaware
Slope: 143. Rating: 75.4
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 458 Yds 10 - Par 5 593 Yds
2 - Par 5 581 Yds 11 - Par 4 459 Yds
3 - Par 4 351 Yds 12 - Par 4 416 Yds
4 - Par 4 390 Yds 13 - Par 3 190 Yds
5 - Par 3 194 Yds 14 - Par 4 495 Yds
6 - Par 4 395 Yds 15 - Par 4 338 Yds
7 - Par 5 535 Yds 16 - Par 3 208 Yds
8 - Par 4 460 Yds 17 - Par 4 458 Yds
9 - Par 3 216 Yds 18 - Par 5 565 Yds
Par 36 3,580 Yds Par 36 3,722 Yds
Awards Won: Ranked #2 Best in State (Delaware) by Golf Digest (2007-08),
Winner, Private Club - Development of the Year by Golf Inc (2006),
Best Environmental Land Development/Community (2006).
HISTORY: You're given a landscape that was once an 800-acre chicken feed farm,
features great water views and is surrounded by a 225-acre protected nature
preserve and you're object is to craft a layout worthy of the best in the
So the call goes out to the world's greatest golfer and one of the finest
architects of our time, Jack Nicklaus to do the deed. Nicklaus, who has six of
his designs in the latest Golf Digest Top-100 rankings, created his first
private course in the state of Delaware.
"We did this golf course for the people who are going to live here and
recreate here. When you do that, then you do the golf course differently than
you would when you build a golf course for a tournament."
Nicklaus did just that, creating a venue that's visually appealing and
challenging for all levels under championship playing conditions. Surrounded
by water on three sides, seven of the 18 holes hug the waterfront along Indian
River and Lingo Creek. The Peninsula is the first exclusive golf course
community in Delaware.
The Golden Bear has high hopes for The Peninsula, commenting that it "will
become the Pebble Beach of the East."
REVIEW: The Peninsula opens with a rock-solid par four, which doglegs to the
left. Water and a 150-yard bunker guard the left side, while trees flank the
right. A drawing tee shot will set up a medium-iron to a sloping green. Avoid
the deep bunker right and the chipping area, left and deep and you'll survive
the first with par.
The second, one of the longest holes on the course, is a dogleg left, over
water par five. Framed by bunkers on the right side of the fairway, the play
is to cut as much off the tee shot as possible, setting up an outside shot to
get home in two. There is plenty of bailout area to the right, as the water
runs right up to the left side of the green. A pot bunker in front and traps
right and deep will get plenty of action. The putting surface is not deep, but
very wide with a ridge in the center. Par is not a certainty.
No matter what tee box you play on the third, this short par four is a birdie
hole. Just 351 yards from the tips, the key here is avoiding the series of
fairway bunkers dotting the twisting landing area. Once successful, just a
short pitch remains to a very accessible green. Leave yourself below the hole
and you just might make a three.
Although the fourth is not overly long, it can be treacherous, as water guards
the entire right side of the hole. The fairway is generous, so play sensibly
left with a fairway-metal, leaving just a short-iron to the back-to-front,
sloping green. Sand right, runs down to the water, and the bunkers left and
rear are no bargain either. A back-right pin could be a nightmare, especially
with the wind in your face.
One of the many signature holes on the course, the fifth is a sensational par
three, with views of the Tidal Wetland and Indian River Bay in the distant. A
medium- to long-iron must be struck precisely, avoiding the marsh left and
short and the sand right. The long and narrow green, slopes gently from back
to front, making par a possibility.
Following a gentle stroll through woods and marsh to the next tee, we come
upon the par-four sixth. One of my least favorite at the Peninsula and not
because of the layout. The luxury condominiums that stand high above the
fairway down the left side, take away from the beauty of the hole. Bending to
the right, this subtle par four is under 400 yards in length, however water
guards the right side of the generous landing area, while several fairway
bunkers cover the left. The green is long and wide, with a bunker left and a
steep slope right that slides toward the water. Homes will be built behind the
green which will block some of the strong winds from the bay.
In contrast, one of my favorite holes on the course is the reachable, par-five
seventh. Just 535 yards from the tips, the hole meanders alongside the Tidal
Wetlands and Indian River Bay to the right with sensational views. Stay left
off the tee, as sand proves to be a burden on the right. The wide layup area
near the green features a bunker, smack dab in the center, so steer clear for
the best results. The green is Nicklaus at his best, subtle, yet tricky. A
small pot bunker guards the entrance, as the putting surface slopes from back
to front with a spine in the center. Anything worse than par should be a
From the black tees, the eighth is the longest par four on the front nine, a
rugged, 460 yards. Not only that, it doglegs to the right with homes and OB
left and sand and marshland to the right. The S-shaped fairway must be
dissected in order to reach the green, as sand on both sides of the landing
area makes for a difficult par. With the wind in your face on your second
shot, an extra club or two is required to reach the wide putting surface, as a
large trap fronts the green.
Another great par three, the ninth is all carry over water to one of the
largest greens on the course. This one takes "Cojones." Wind will most
certainly be a factor, especially when the pin is back-right. Bunkers and a
chipping area will keep you honest down the left side of this huge putting
surface. It's not often that a one-shotter gets a handicap rating of nine on
If you thought the front nine was a test, wait to you see what's in store on
the inward holes. Measuring 3,722 yards from the black buttons, there is only
one par four under 400 yards, both par three's play over water and marsh and
the two par five's average 579 yards!
The tenth is a zigzagging par five, the longest hole on the course at 593
yards. Nicklaus has given the player ample opportunity to hit the fairway,
however, stray every so slightly and you'll end up in one of the half-dozen
bunkers that guard the short grass. Water comes into play with your layup down
the right side, while three bunkers pinch the landing zone. Just a short pitch
remains to a slick putting surface with bunkers guarding the front and sides
and water to the right.
One of the hardest holes on the course, the 11th is a long, dogleg left par
four, with water down the entire left side from tee to green. It also features
some of the prettiest homes on the property, some of which look to be
transplanted from the Jersey Shore or Cape Cod. Even after a modest tee ball,
you'll still need a medium- to long-iron to cover the remaining yardage to the
pin. A back-left pin will bring the lake into play and any shot missed to the
right will be swallowed up by sand. The putting surface is two-tiered and
quite long, so club selection is key.
The 12th is one of the few straight holes on the course. Just 416 yards, OB
left and a long waste bunker right, make accurate driving a must. The green is
very receptive, however a medium-iron must negotiate the oversized trap left
and the pot bunker right. The T-shaped putting surface slopes hard to left and
is one of the most difficult on the course.
Island greens are cropping all over the world and Nicklaus provided The
Peninsula with its own version, the 190-yard 13th. All carry over a lake, this
gem features a raised putting surface, with slopes heading down towards the
water, not to mention one of the largest greens on the course. Sand right is
little consolation for an errant shot, but it sure beats being wet.
On most golf courses, the next hole would normally play as a par five, however
the 14th is a 495-yard par four at The Peninsula. Bending slightly to the
right, this is one "Bear" of a hole, as it requires length and accuracy to
have any chance at par. Three fairway bunkers must be avoided, leaving a long-
iron or fairway-metal to a large, elevated green. Whatever you do, shortsiding
yourself into the sand on either side of the putting surface, can only lead to
Finally, a breather of sorts. Just 338 yards, the 15th is the shortest par
four on the course, but certainly no pushover. The opportunity to go for the
green off the tee is present, but the sensible play is a long-iron or rescue-
club over the marshy, waste area will leave around 100 yards to a well-guarded
green. The putting surface is the smallest on the course and trapped on all
sides. With such a short club in hand, you should be able to attack and make
birdie. When playing downwind, take out the big stick and smash a high draw
and who knows, maybe you'll have an eagle try.
The appearance of condominiums will certainly damper the view of the par-three
16th, but it won't change the challenge. A long-iron must carry over marsh to
a long, undulating green with sand left and right. Missing left is jail,
making for a difficult up-and-down, as the green slopes to the south.
The 17th is another, long and lean par four stretching a tough, 458 yards from
the tips. Fairly straightaway, the landing area is generous, but missing right
will land in sand and left, a marshy, watery grave. A mid- to long-iron
remains to an elevated green with sand left and right. The putting surface
slopes to the front, so stay below for your best chance at saving par.
Closing holes on Nicklaus courses are usually sensational and the 18th at The
Peninsula does not disappoint. A double, dogleg-left par five, this 565-yard
monster wraps around wetlands from tee to green. Out of bounds on the right
will keep you honest off the tee, but the fairway is generous. Your layup shot
must be played across the corner of the water, setting up a pitch of under 100
yards. The putting surface is surrounded by four pot bunkers and shaved
chipping areas, putting a premium on accuracy, as you try for that closing
FINAL WORD: This is vintage Jack Nicklaus. No it's not Muirfield Village,
Shoal Creek or Castle Pines, this is resort golf at its best.
Let's start at the top. Well manicured fairways and tees, sculptured bunkers,
numerous water hazards, waterfront views of Indian River Bay and a relaxed
atmosphere, unlike the stuffy feeling of those old private clubs. What more
could one ask for?
Still in the works is the clubhouse, which will overlook the ninth and 18th
greens. It will include both men's and women's locker rooms, a well-stocked
pro shop, dining facilities and of course, a dedicated staff, managed by
world-renowned Troon Golf.
Even more appealing, is that the course is for all types of players. Four sets
of tees, ranging from 5,200 to over 7,300 yards. Generous fairways for the
average player, and yet, quite a challenge for the single-digit golfer. If
it's just practice you want, the warm-up facility is a perfect complement to
the course, complete with chipping and putting areas.
The Peninsula, however is more than just golf. Just some of the amenities
afforded to the membership include, a Tennis Center with stadium seating, a
state-of-the-art Athletic Club, the Calmwater Spa, Nature & Exploration
Center, walking and biking trails, and a Kayak Center and fishing pier.
The "Peace de Resistance" however, has to be Lakeside Village. The centerpiece
of The Peninsula, this family-oriented epicenter, features dining, shopping,
luscious landscaping and cascading fountains and a soon-to-be opened Gourmet
Lakeside Village is also home to a Fresh Water Wave Lagoon, complete with a
waterslide and sandy beach, not to mention indoor and outdoor pools.
When complete, The Peninsula will feature a 1,400 home community of villas,
condominiums, townhouses and spacious homesites. Even more appealing, The
Peninsula is just two hours from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia
and only minutes away from Rehoboth and Bethany beaches and Ocean City,
Nicklaus and developer Larry Goldstein have struck pay dirt with the first
exclusive golf community in Delaware. It comes as no surprise that it's
already been ranked as the second-best golf course in the state of Delaware,
less than a year after opening.
Aesthetically pleasing, impeccable conditions, sweet rolling greens, a
challenging layout and world-class amenities, what more could a player ask