WILDWOOD GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB

Course Architects: Wayne E. Stiles, John Van Kleek (1924), Brian Ault (1995)
Year Opened: 1916
Location: Cape May Court House, New Jersey
Slope: 135. Rating: 72.9
Par: 72
Yardage: 6,714
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 430 Yds    10 - Par 3 216 Yds
                      2 - Par 5 465 Yds    11 - Par 4 409 Yds
                      3 - Par 4 353 Yds    12 - Par 5 506 Yds
                      4 - Par 4 356 Yds    13 - Par 4 417 Yds
                      5 - Par 3 170 Yds    14 - Par 4 358 Yds
                      6 - Par 4 361 Yds    15 - Par 5 545 Yds
                      7 - Par 4 371 Yds    16 - Par 3 155 Yds
                      8 - Par 4 393 Yds    17 - Par 4 424 Yds
                      9 - Par 4 404 Yds    18 - Par 4 381 Yds
                      Par 36  3,303 Yds     Par 36  3,411 Yds

Website: wildwoodgolf.com

HISTORY:  The  history of golf  at the  Jersey Shore certainly revolves around
Atlantic  City Country  Club and Seaview Marriott Resort's Bay Course, but few
people  know that  Wildwood Golf & Country  Club is one of the oldest clubs in
South Jersey.

That's  right. Five men back in December of 1916 incorporated the club on "Old
Joe  MacKissick's  Farm," which  operated for roughly  five seasons during the
World  War  I era.  When financial  trouble almost spelled  doom for the club,
10 men took control and re-named the venue Wildwood Golf Club.

Just  a couple of years later, Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek were brought in
to  design the  course that would once again become WG&CC several years later.
Stiles  and  Van Kleek  designed  many  courses  in their  careers,  including
Brigantine  Golf  Links (N.J.),  Taconic Golf Club  (Mass.) and Nashua Country
Club (N.H.). Built on the same land as the original layout, the club opened in
the  summer of 1923, holding an exhibition match between the flamboyant Walter
Hagen and Joe Kirkwood.

As  the  club grew in  stature, several  invitational tournaments were held at
Wildwood,  including the  first "Eastern States Inaugural Tournament" in 1924,
which  would later  be known as the  C.A. Gus Heil Memorial Tournament and the
William  H.  Bright Memorial Trophy. Former  PGA Tour player Al Besselink, who
grew  up in Merchantville, New Jersey, won the Bright Memorial in 1944. Called
"Bessie"  by  the other  tour players,  Besselink won four  PGA titles, not to
mention dozens of events around the world.

The  early  1950s  were  an  interesting time  for  Wildwood  G&CC.  With  the
construction  of  the Garden  State Parkway,  four of  the original holes were
affected  and,  in 1953,  longtime Head Golf  Professional, Harry "Pop" Avery,
retired  after 28  years.  Although a  relative unknown  at  the time,  Arnold
Palmer, who was stationed at Cape May with the Coast Guard, made several stops
to  the course during the summer of 1951. Palmer would later win the 1954 U.S.
Amateur, turn professional and the rest, as they say, is history.

Following  Avery's  retirement, Ed DeBaufre  served as his successor. DeBaufre
held the position for 11 years, but was killed in a car accident in the spring
of 1964. The following season, Ronnie Ward was named head professional after a
four-year  stint at  Atlantic City CC and  served 19 years. It was during this
time  that current  assistant professional Terry Smick started his run of club
championships.  Smick,  a 15-time club  champ, won his  first in 1981 and then
added 10 straight starting in 1986.

When  a new  practice facility and driving  range were added in 1995, the club
brought  in  Brian Ault  to build two  new holes (11th  and 12th). During this
time,  Fred Riedel  became head professional. Riedel, who left for a few years
to  join a pair  of nearby clubs, returned in 2004 and has remained loyal ever
since.

"People  find a  home  here and  don't  seem  to want  to  go anywhere  else,"
commented  Riedel. "It's  just a place where  people can walk in and feel like
they  walked in the front door of their house. It's very welcoming. I wouldn't
want to be anywhere else."

REVIEW:  The opening hole at Wildwood is certainly no gimme par four. In fact,
it's  one of  the  most difficult  on  the  course and  the  longest four  par
on  the layout. Bending  slightly to the left, the play is down the left side,
as  this will open up your approach. Be wary, as trees flank both sides of the
landing  area. With  a slick, back-to-front sloping green, your second must be
below the hole or you'll run the risk of a three-putt.

You'll  find out soon  enough that you need to be very accurate at Wildwood or
you'll be playing from places you never thought possible. This becomes evident
on  the short  and  enticing second.  At  just  465 yards,  this  par five  is
certainly  reachable in  two and even the finest player must be quite precise.
This  hole  doglegs sharply to  the right with a  series of trees guarding the
tight landing area. The long hitter can cut the corner, leaving a long iron to
the  small,  undulating green. A narrow  creek cuts through the fairway at the
150-yard  mark,  making a layup difficult  for the less fortunate player. Miss
the  putting surface left and your chances of getting up and down are slim and
none.

With  the salt marsh to the left, the third demands more accuracy than length.
At  353 yards, take out a fairway metal or long iron to place your tee shot in
play. Just a short iron or wedge will remain to another small putting surface.
Be careful, as this green is as fast as the first.

Similar  in length,  the fourth bends to  the right and again, put the ball in
play.  Laying  back off the tee  will still leave just  a short iron to a two-
tiered  green guarded by  a pair of traps. A back pin is next to impossible to
get close to. If you haven't learned your lesson so far, stay below the hole!

The  only par three  on the front side, the fifth requires a carry over a pond
to  a fairly  large  putting surface.  Sand  on either  side  will pique  your
interest,  not to mention the trap behind the green. When the wind is up, this
hole could play havoc with your score.

Another  medium-length par four, the sixth is a dogleg-left beauty. Unless the
wind  is blowing, your  best bet is to keep the driver in the bag and play for
accuracy,  as a small pond at the bottom of the fairway is certainly in range.
Another  miniscule green  awaits a  short- to  mid-iron approach.  The putting
surface is guarded front, right and left with sand, so watch out.

The  seventh -- originally the closing hole at Wildwood G&CC before the Garden
State  Parkway was built  -- is a tough driving hole, as it plays straightaway
towards  the  clubhouse. Although the green  is not the hardest on the course,
there are plenty of subtleties that will keep you honest. Bunkers are featured
on both sides of the back-to-front sloping surface.

A  very demanding hole, the eighth is rated as the hardest hole on the course.
Just  under  400 yards in length,  this par four  bends to the left with trees
guarding  both  sides of the landing  area. The fairway actually becomes quite
tight  the closer you  get to the green. Your medium iron approach must splice
through  the trees  in an effort to  reach the putting surface. Open in front,
the  green  is fairly  simple, but  stay away from  the sand and out-of-bounds
left.

The  closing hole on  the front nine is a sharp, dogleg-left par four, a shade
over  400 yards. Playing uphill from the tee, you'll need a big blast to clear
the corner, where tall trees guard the left side. The putting surface features
a bunker on either side and mounds long and right. Beautiful vegetation behind
the  green gets plenty  of action and with a deep flag, must be avoided at all
costs.

The  longest of the three par threes, the 10th is over 200 yards and is one of
the  most difficult  holes on  the course.  Sand on  either side  of the  long
putting surface will make for a difficult up and down.

A  wonderful dogleg par  four, the 11th is tight and right as it winds through
the  forest of trees. The S-shaped fairway features a pair of obstacles in the
form of bunkers. Playing down the left side of the landing area is key in your
approach  to  the green,  as this  will open up  the hole.  Be wary of missing
right,  as  you'll find the  fairway bunker or,  worse, the trees. The putting
surface,  which is angled  to the right, is guarded in the front and rear. The
green  slopes from back  to front and to the right, so pin positioning must be
taken into consideration.

At  506 yards,  the 12th is certainly  not the longest par five in the region,
but  it most certainly  is one of the most strategic. Nestled amongst the tall
Jersey  pines, this  hole requires a precise tee ball down the right-center of
the  landing  area, avoiding the  fairway bunker to the  right. At one time, a
thick  group of trees guarded the approach, as the hole doglegged to the left,
but  that his since been thinned out, allowing the player an option of getting
home  in two. Oh,  you'll need to be spot on to have any shot at reaching this
green, especially with the fronting pond. The putting surface is over 40 paces
wide  and  slopes from back to  front. Making a  big number here is a definite
possibility.

Doglegging  sharply to the left, the 13th necessitates a drawing tee ball that
must  avoid  the trees and  out-of-bounds left and  the thick rough right. The
tight  landing area  is hard to negotiate, with many balls running through the
fairway.  This  will set  up a difficult  approach to a  long, narrow and two-
tiered  green. The  slickness of the putting  surface makes up for the lack of
sand.

Often  the shortest of  holes tend to be the most difficult. Although only 358
yards  long, the  14th is  a nerve-racking  little gem  that features  a thick
section  of trees from  tee to green on the left. Keeping the big stick in the
bag  is the proper play, as accuracy is of utmost importance. Find the fairway
and  you'll  have a  little wedge  remaining to a  small, shallow and slightly
elevated green. Miss long and you've squandered a shot or two.

The  elements certainly  come  into play  on the  par-five  15th. Playing  out
towards  the salt  marshes and Jenkins Sound, as you look towards the Atlantic
Ocean,  this  dogleg right is  the longest hole on  the course. Favor the left
side  off the  tee, as the fairway  is quite accommodating, unless you plan on
getting  home  in two. Your  second must be  quite calculating, as the landing
area  narrows with the marsh left and water and OB right, choosing the correct
course  of action  is not an easy  one. The green is slightly raised with sand
guarding  the  narrow entrance. The  putting surface features several plateaus
and  can be  quite tricky, especially when the  wind is up and the match is on
the line.

Your final par three, the 16th, is the shortest of the trio at just 155 yards,
but  remember: this  hole is exposed like  no other and can be as difficult as
the  last. Throw into the mix water virtually surrounding the entire green and
you have a devilish little son-of-a-gun. You can bail left, but you won't make
par.

Sharing the same tee box with the 16th, the second-to-last hole at Wildwood is
rated  as  the second-hardest on  the course -- and  rightfully so. One of the
longer  par fours, this  one bends to the left, features a forced carry over a
pond and possess a blind landing area with a pond hidden from view. Other than
that,  no big  deal, right? Wrong. The  long putting surface runs from back to
front and features deep bunkers on either side, and let's not forget the stand
of trees to the right of the green. That was my downfall!

Don't  be fooled  by the relatively short  closing hole. At 381 yards it's not
long,  but  it has plenty of  bite. The fairway is  one of the tightest on the
course,  with trees lining  both sides, so take dead aim, or you'll be playing
out  of  the woods. The  putting surface is miniscule  and slick, with sand on
either side, so even with a short iron, accuracy rules the day.

OVERALL:  Wildwood Golf  & Country Club is sometimes overlooked in discussions
of  golf at the  Jersey Shore, and that's an error in judgment. Sure, Atlantic
City,  Hidden  Creek and Galloway are  some of the more sensational layouts in
South  Jersey, but Wildwood Golf & Country Club is not far behind. "The course
is  extremely  underrated," said Riedel.  "When you  first play it, it doesn't
jump  out at you as  a great course, but at the end of the day, your score for
the first time out reflects that it gave you a good test."

WG&CC  features wonderful  conditioning,  some of  the  quickest, tiniest  and
undulating  greens  in the area,  tight tree-lined fairways with many doglegs,
great views of the Jersey shore and, by the way, one challenging layout. "It's
a  shotmaker's  course," said club president  Dave Burke. "You have to hit the
ball  straight  and be somewhat  precise with your  irons going into the small
greens." If there ever was a statement that rang true, that's it.

At 6,714 yards, Wildwood is not very long. However, the course only has a trio
of par threes, so the length is deceiving. There are four sets of tees -- with
overall  length ranging from as little as 3,765 yards -- so all levels of play
can  enjoy this test.  A great walking course, Wildwood G&CC can tame even the
best  of players, due mainly to the ever-changing weather. "The conditions are
almost  never the  same,"  said Riedel.  "The wind  blows  from all  different
directions."

In  these difficult economic times, membership at Wildwood has remained strong
with over 400 full-time and an additional 100 House or "Social" members.

What  was created there  almost 100 years ago is a first-class "golf" club. No
swimming  pool, tennis  courts or the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk, just
golf  and an  atmosphere that's unmatched in the region. "Wildwood's been good
to  my family," said  Burke, who grew up in the area. "It's been a great place
to  meet  friends. You  see folks  from all walks  of life  and meet some very
interesting  people. It's  the friendliest group of people of any organization
that I've ever been associated with."

Isn't golf, and life, supposed to be that way? I think so.