Treat Myself Golf Day Next Week (Central/North NJ Area, Lower NY, East PA)

 Twism86 ·  
Twism86Twism86  471WRX Points: 87Members Posts: 471 Greens
Joined:  in Mid-Atlantic #1

Hi All,

I have some time off next week and got the go ahead from the wife for a nice "treat myself" golf day. AKA a day to myself playing a nice course with a good practice area and has a nice bar to get a drink and food after. Im in Bernards NJ (Northern Somerset County) and wont mind driving to go somewhere nice, lets say 2 hours each way max. I typically play county courses and Rutgers the most so I'm looking for something that has that high end country club quality and challenging course but is open to the public. The kind of place you look at on google maps satellite view and it looks ready for a PGA event! That kind of course. I dont have an unlimited budget so the public Trump courses are out but playing on a weekday hopefully rates could be half decent.

So where would you suggest? Im not that familiar with courses of that quality that are public.

Thanks,
Tom

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  • TUGolfer06TUGolfer06  277WRX Points: 68Handicap: 7Members Posts: 277 Greens
    Joined:  edited Apr 16, 2019 #2
    • En-Joie in the Binghamton area would be close to your 2 hour requirement. It's hosted PGA/Champions Tour events for 20+ years so it fits that requirement. It's currently the site of the Dick's Open in August. It's a classic design (tree lined fairways, unique greens) that is an absolute steal this time of year; less than $50 bucks. I've played all over the country and En-Joie remains one of my favorites.
    • Shawnee is another great option. They're currently running a $25/$35 deal for 18 holes until April 25th. Normally green fees are near $100. It's Tillinghast's first design so that alone makes it an important track. It's a 27 hole facility with 24 holes located on an island in the middle of the Delaware River. There's also great views of the nearby Delaware Water Gap and surrounding area.
    • Jack Frost National is probably my favorite public course in Eastern PA. Easily one of the best modern mountain courses I've played. Conditions might be a little behind due to the course's elevation in the Poconos. Things don't start greening up at JFN until late April, early May. Green fees are quite reasonable this time of year.
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    Home Courses
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  • NYCTUFanNYCTUFan  34WRX Points: 19Members Posts: 34 Bunkers
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    Atlantic City Country Club is a great experience, historic club full of history and always in great shape. It should check all your boxes.

    Posted:
  • HiSpeed48HiSpeed48  2109WRX Points: 117Members Posts: 2,109 Platinum Tees
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    Crystal Springs Resort. Good facilities, bars and restaurants. You have multiple options for golf, but the top course is Ballyowen (usually rated #1 public course in NJ), followed by Wild Turkey. If money is tight then the Crystal Springs course is a good, but not great, third option.

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  • TUGolfer06TUGolfer06  277WRX Points: 68Handicap: 7Members Posts: 277 Greens
    Joined:  edited Apr 16, 2019 #5

    On -, @NYCTUFan said:

    Atlantic City Country Club is a great experience, historic club full of history and always in great shape. It should check all your boxes.

    Atlantic City is no doubt excellent but their rates are starting to get "up there"; $100 during the week and $175 for peak weekend times. Even the Bay Course at Stockton (LPGA stop) is $75 to $100 now.

    Posted:
    Home Courses
    - Country Club of Scranton
    - Seven Oaks GC at Colgate University
  • Twism86Twism86  471WRX Points: 87Members Posts: 471 Greens
    Joined:  edited Apr 17, 2019 #6

    On -, @TUGolfer06 said:
    • En-Joie in the Binghamton area would be close to your 2 hour requirement. It's hosted PGA/Champions Tour events for 20+ years so it fits that requirement. It's currently the site of the ****'s Open in August. It's a classic design (tree lined fairways, unique greens) that is an absolute steal this time of year; less than $50 bucks. I've played all over the country and En-Joie remains one of my favorites.
    • Shawnee is another great option. They're currently running a $25/$35 deal for 18 holes until April 25th. Normally green fees are near $100. It's Tillinghast's first design so that alone makes it an important track. It's a 27 hole facility with 24 holes located on an island in the middle of the Delaware River. There's also great views of the nearby Delaware Water Gap and surrounding area.
    • Jack Frost National is probably my favorite public course in Eastern PA. Easily one of the best modern mountain courses I've played. Conditions might be a little behind due to the course's elevation in the Poconos. Things don't start greening up at JFN until late April, early May. Green fees are quite reasonable this time of year.

    Binghamton is a bit too far, almost 3 hours so thats out. However, I do pass through the area once and while so I will keep it in mind. I totally forgot about Shawnee and that is a good idea and not too far! As for Jack Frost I will probably go elsewhere for better early season conditions.

    On -, @HiSpeed48 said:

    Crystal Springs Resort. Good facilities, bars and restaurants. You have multiple options for golf, but the top course is Ballyowen (usually rated #1 public course in NJ), followed by Wild Turkey. If money is tight then the Crystal Springs course is a good, but not great, third option.

    Yea those courses are on my radar, Wild Turkey looks to be the nicest for the value next week with green fees under $60.

    On -, @TUGolfer06 said:

    On -, @NYCTUFan said:

    Atlantic City Country Club is a great experience, historic club full of history and always in great shape. It should check all your boxes.

    Atlantic City is no doubt excellent but their rates are starting to get "up there"; $100 during the week and $175 for peak weekend times. Even the Bay Course at Stockton (LPGA stop) is $75 to $100 now.

    ACCB looks a bit too pricey compared to other nice options right now but the course does look gorgeous! How is Ballamor? The rates look better and the course seems nice from photos. So does Scotland Run. I have also played the Bay Course, right before the LPGA last year so it was excellent!

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  • Kay_JayKay_Jay NYC/NJ 640WRX Points: 61Handicap: 11Members Posts: 640 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Apr 18, 2019 #7

    By area and in order of preference:

    • Fairly Close/Easy Drive from Somerset County: Neshanic Valley, Royce Brook, Architects, Hominy Hill, Heron Glen, Galloping Hill
    • South Jersey: AC Country Club, Shore Gate, Woodcrest, Seaview Bay, Ballamor
    • North Jersey: Ballyowen, Wild Turkey, Berkshire Valley
    • Other: Pound Ridge (Pete Dye design) and Mansion Ridge (Jack Nicklaus design)
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  • dpb5031dpb5031 Jupiter, FL 5792WRX Points: 1,330Members Posts: 5,792 Titanium Tees
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    This time of year I'd head South and choose Ballamore or AC Country Club. If you want to remain close to home Neshanic Valley is your best bet.

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  • philsRHmanphilsRHman  1362WRX Points: 177Members Posts: 1,362 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Apr 21, 2019 #9

    For my money, ACCC and Ballyowen are the top two public courses in NJ for a special round, and they’re head and shoulders above No. 3. That’s not to say there’s not other great options. Scotland Run mentioned here is very memorable (haven’t played it in years though) but that’s a pretty long drive sort of in the middle of nowhere. Others mentioned are solid but not what I’d consider a “treat yo-self” round. Btw, how’s the conditioning at Rutgers?

    That said if I had a weekday off in the next week I’d be lining up to play Bethpage Black knowing I’ll be watching every shot hit there in a month. At the hour you’d have to leave, you’d make good time.

    Posted:
  • theebdktheebdk  447WRX Points: 79Members Posts: 447 Greens
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    Let me add another element to this conversation as a great day of "treat myself" golf is always followed by a great drink and food. The golf courses at Crystal Springs are phenomenal and there are several at different price points that may fit your golf criteria. But the resort also shines in the bar and food options. All of the courses are within about 5 miles of the main resort lodge which opens up some solid restaurants. If your golf takes until dinner time you may want to consider asking the wife to join you for a meal. Crystal Tavern and the Chefs Garden (outdoor and may not be open yet) are solid. And if you like the resort you may want to take her back for a special anniversary dinner at LaTour which is one of my wife's favorite restaurants but can be very expensive. Have fun!!

    Posted:
  • Twism86Twism86  471WRX Points: 87Members Posts: 471 Greens
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    Thank everyone! Wild Turkey right now is the leading contender for distance and price with good food afterwards.

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  • Twism86Twism86  471WRX Points: 87Members Posts: 471 Greens
    Joined:  edited Apr 22, 2019 #12

    On -, @philsRHman said:

    . Btw, how’s the conditioning at Rutgers?

    Rutgers is looking OK right now. I played once the other week shortly after they opened so things still need time to grow in. I drive by everyday and the greens are looking really nice right now! They always roll well and are in good shape. The course just went through a rebuild of almost all of their bunkers so they are looking good with all new sod. Fairways could stand to grow in a bit more, they really got hit hard with the wet summer last year.

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  • gioguy21gioguy21 NJ 8091WRX Points: 1,343Handicap: +1.6 (1194646)Members Posts: 8,091 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @philsRHman said:

    For my money, ACCC and Ballyowen are the top two public courses in NJ for a special round, and they’re head and shoulders above No. 3. That’s not to say there’s not other great options. Scotland Run mentioned here is very memorable (haven’t played it in years though) but that’s a pretty long drive sort of in the middle of nowhere. Others mentioned are solid but not what I’d consider a “treat yo-self” round. Btw, how’s the conditioning at Rutgers?

    That said if I had a weekday off in the next week I’d be lining up to play Bethpage Black knowing I’ll be watching every shot hit there in a month. At the hour you’d have to leave, you’d make good time.

    scotland run is TERRIBLE...do not go there. i played a month or so ago and would not play there if you paid me.

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  • philsRHmanphilsRHman  1362WRX Points: 177Members Posts: 1,362 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @gioguy21 said:

    On -, @philsRHman said:

    For my money, ACCC and Ballyowen are the top two public courses in NJ for a special round, and they’re head and shoulders above No. 3. That’s not to say there’s not other great options. Scotland Run mentioned here is very memorable (haven’t played it in years though) but that’s a pretty long drive sort of in the middle of nowhere. Others mentioned are solid but not what I’d consider a “treat yo-self” round. Btw, how’s the conditioning at Rutgers?

    That said if I had a weekday off in the next week I’d be lining up to play Bethpage Black knowing I’ll be watching every shot hit there in a month. At the hour you’d have to leave, you’d make good time.

    scotland run is TERRIBLE...do not go there. i played a month or so ago and would not play there if you paid me.

    Conditions that bad? I remember it being a pretty interesting design around the quarry. But like I said, it's probably 10+ years ago so maybe my memory is shot. A friend had a bridal shower and my wife drove down and said it was nice.

    Posted:
  • Wander BreadWander Bread  81WRX Points: 35Handicap: 4.2Members Posts: 81 Fairways
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    I am on board with the Ballamor idea but am a little biased since that is where I got my hole in one. Shore Gate is nice too but very difficult - better for a mid-summer round when the game is in swing.

    Can't go wrong with Neshanic Valley though if you want to stay local. Roycebrook is 10 minutes from the house and grew up in and the public east course continues to be a massive rip off. Heron Glen or Fox Hollow are better options and should be a bit cheaper, though I have not played them yet this season so unsure on conditions.

    Posted:
  • cma8516cma8516  212WRX Points: 47Handicap: 6Members Posts: 212 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Apr 23, 2019 #16

    On -, @philsRHman said:

    On -, @gioguy21 said:

    On -, @philsRHman said:

    For my money, ACCC and Ballyowen are the top two public courses in NJ for a special round, and they’re head and shoulders above No. 3. That’s not to say there’s not other great options. Scotland Run mentioned here is very memorable (haven’t played it in years though) but that’s a pretty long drive sort of in the middle of nowhere. Others mentioned are solid but not what I’d consider a “treat yo-self” round. Btw, how’s the conditioning at Rutgers?

    That said if I had a weekday off in the next week I’d be lining up to play Bethpage Black knowing I’ll be watching every shot hit there in a month. At the hour you’d have to leave, you’d make good time.

    scotland run is TERRIBLE...do not go there. i played a month or so ago and would not play there if you paid me.

    Conditions that bad? I remember it being a pretty interesting design around the quarry. But like I said, it's probably 10+ years ago so maybe my memory is shot. A friend had a bridal shower and my wife drove down and said it was nice.

    Its had a rough time over the last year id say but i played it 2 weeks ago and it wasn't in bad shape. They did have a couple temporary greens still from greens that had trouble last year, but the new greens looked like they were in good shape. They did a TON of tree work on the front 9 removing a lot of trouble on the course and also speeding up play. It looks like they're certainly putting money into it, i think the owners focused on AC/Ballamor first. Its not a top choice, but its not so bad anyone locally should avoid it all together.

    That being said, my vote would go to ACCC if your traveling and making a day out of it, course is great, food there is not bad, and you could always make it a later night and go into AC after.

    Posted:
  • cpeckcpeck North new jersey 598WRX Points: 284Handicap: leftyMembers Posts: 598 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Apr 26, 2019 #17

    before you pull the plug on wild turkey with those prices they might me aerating the greens. i know ballyowen did it on monday or tuesday.

    if your down for a nice casual walking round or even cart sometime farmstead golf club is fun, it’s in lafayette same direction as crystal springs golf clubs just a little closer from when you get off route 15 in sparta. if you make another trip up shoot me a pm i’ll play a round with you.

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  • th6252th6252  1230WRX Points: 160Members Posts: 1,230 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @cpeck said:

    before you pull the plug on wild turkey with those prices they might me aerating the greens. i know ballyowen did it on monday or tuesday.

    if your down for a nice casual walking round or even cart sometime farmstead golf club is fun, it’s in lafayette same direction as crystal springs golf clubs just a little closer from when you get off route 15 in sparta. if you make another trip up shoot me a pm i’ll play a round with you.

    crystal springs usually has course status updates on their website. from taking a peak, it looks like WT was aerated on 4/1 so with 3 weeks plus for the greens to heal, it should be good to go.

    Posted:
  • Twism86Twism86  471WRX Points: 87Members Posts: 471 Greens
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    I ended up at Wild Turkey last Wednesday. Yes, they did aerate the greens a few weeks ago but I would say they were 80-90% healed, rolled true but not as much break as I was reading.

    I actually went fishing first thing in the morning, caught some wild trout and then went to the resort. Had lunch at Kites, hit a bucket, played WT and then grabbed some food at the Crystal Tavern before heading home. Overall a great day! Shot a 95 which is average for me, highlight was a great tee shot on the signature 7th par 3 over the quarry pond to about 12'. Didnt make birdie but the tee shot was pure. Liked the course and I enjoy the layout, I will try to get back when thing are playing 100%. I played with my boss/golf mentor and we had almost no one around us all day. I also managed to put drive him on 17 by taking an aggressive line over the edge of the water.

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  • bosshogbosshog  121WRX Points: 79Members Posts: 121 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Apr 29, 2019 #20

    ^^^^Nice!!! Next time your up for a game, pm me as I'm in Warren County and may be able to get out with you!!! Played Architects last Tuesday and they had just aerated their greens as well.

    Posted:
  • Twism86Twism86  471WRX Points: 87Members Posts: 471 Greens
    Joined:  #21

    On -, @bosshog said:

    ^^^^Nice!!! Next time your up for a game, pm me as I'm in Warren County and may be able to get out with you!!! Played Architects last Tuesday and they had just aerated their greens as well.

    I want to play Architects some time, so once it heals up I should be able to sneak out!

    Posted:
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