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NY/NJ Top Value Courses


TeeAreNY
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Always enjoy course ranking articles and the 2021 Top Value list recently came out. I like to particularly look at the ones in NJ (where I'm from) and Long Island (where I live). Full Top 100 List: https://golf.com/travel/top-100-value-courses-you-can-play-150-less/ 

 

You guys have any other courses to add that you would rank at the level of these courses mentioned?

 

Played

1. Bethpage Black - No surprises there. 

8. Bethpage Red - Found it interesting it made the Top 10, the course is great, but I've realized that maybe I should appreciate it even more. 

47. Twisted Dune - I played this course numerous times and always enjoyed it. It's often ranked in the Top 10 in public golf across NJ but I found it interesting that it made the national list. I wonder if the conditions have gotten better since it's been over 5 years since I played it. 

66. Architects - I enjoyed this course the one time I made the trip to play it since it was ranked in the Top 5 for NJ public courses. I would personally rank some other public courses in the state higher, but its interesting to see it made it on this national list. 


Haven't Played

18. Leatherstocking - Read great things, just never had the chance to make a trip up to Cooperstown. 

33. The Links at Unionvale - Never even heard of this course. 

48. Seven Oaks - Never even heard of this course. 

60. Montauk Downs - Always heard great things, just never made the trip out there. 

63. Knoll West - One of the very few public courses in NJ that I haven't played. 

Edited by Kay_Jay

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3 hours ago, golfortennis said:

Maybe I'm old, but it seems strange to think $150 is the demarcation point for a "value" course.


Definitely not, $150 is steep in my book as well. I’d probably go with $50 to walk as my personal cutoff. (In which case Bethpage would still fall within range as a resident).

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Bethpage Red is nowhere near being a Top Ten value course in the country - I’ve played it twice, and honestly wouldn’t play it again for free. Twice had tee times mid day, twice didn’t tee off until 40 minutes after my time, twice waited on every shot for over 5 hours. Never again. Maybe the course is fantastic, I don’t know, because the horrible experience overshadowed everything else. Couldn’t wait to get off the course, but that’s the same way I’ve felt about the Blue and the Green. Bethpage is run so poorly (or at least was 5 years ago when this occurred) that I promised myself I’d ether play the Black or go somewhere else. 
 

The Black is another story, one of the best courses I’ve played at any price. It’s a slow round also, but not interminable. 

 

I’ve played Twisted Dune many times, I like it. Not amazing, but worth playing if you’re in the area. Not sure I’d say the same about Knoll West - it’s a lot better than the shooting gallery at Knoll East, but it’s not great.

 

By far the best public course I’ve played in NJ is Ballyowen. Perhaps it’s not included because you could be over $150 at certain times, but there are plenty of times when it’s closer to $100. I did a one month membership there last summer and played it 7-8 times, it’s a really nice course. 

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@LPSISCO It's interesting to see the NJ courses in particular who made the list, but I do agree with you that there are a couple of courses I'd rank above Twisted and Architects such as Ballyowen, Neshanic Valley and maybe Heron Glen. Maybe the prices of these went over $150 which made them ineligible, but 5 years ago, I played a different public course every weekend and always kept it under $100 as a criteria.

 

Sorry about your experiences with Bethpage. I would think that these rankings are based on the course design over operations. After moving here several years ago, I was also in shock with 5-6 hours being the "norm" when all the NJ courses I played were relatively around 4-4.5 hours regardless of the tee time. I've learned that the only way to get close to 4 hours anywhere around here is if you are one of the first groups to tee off, which I don't mind but it requires planning for me.

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Posted (edited)

@Dealz Berkshire Valley was one of my favorite public courses in NJ. I only played it once and still remember the layout and the views are ridiculous. I lived in South Jersey so the drive to get there was around 2.5 hours but if I lived closer, I would have for sure played way more rounds there. The conditions when I played weren't the best but the greens rolled nicely, just not at the level of some other top notch courses but in terms of layout/view, I'd put Berkshire up there with some of the best I've played. 

Edited by Kay_Jay

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As I think about it more, this list is ridiculous. Keep in mind how much more expensive golf is in NY/NJ than the rest of the country - I’ve played Knoll West, Twisted Dune, and Architects many times - there is no way any of them is in the Top 100 courses in the US under $150. Consider a $150 course in NJ is probably $75 in middle America - you’re telling me there aren’t 100 courses in the country better than these three? Please. 

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9 minutes ago, LPSISCO said:

As I think about it more, this list is ridiculous. Keep in mind how much more expensive golf is in NY/NJ than the rest of the country - I’ve played Knoll West, Twisted Dune, and Architects many times - there is no way any of them is in the Top 100 courses in the US under $150. Consider a $150 course in NJ is probably $75 in middle America - you’re telling me there aren’t 100 courses in the country better than these three? Please. 

 

Lol, when I saw the three NJ courses it threw me off as well because I too compared it to the rest of the country and thought....how are these on the list? They are super nice but they aren't even top in the state for me. Is there something that happened in the last 5 years or maybe I just didn't appreciate them enough.

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Agree that knoll west isn't great (I don't think I'll ever play east).  Played it for the first time last year for state mid am qualifier.   IMO hominy hill is one of the best public in state - love that layout.  Twisted dune is good, but so is shoregate.  

 

Black is a no brainer.  I always wanted to play red, but if I make the trip it's hard to pass up black.

 

Architects is good too; I used to play it often.  Have a hole in one on #8 so naturally I have good vibes there 😊 

 

Definitely want to play Montauk! (Just don't want to drive there lol)

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I love Architects and have played the Red many times.  I would easily take Neshanic over both of them every day of the week so I have no idea how places like Knoll West made it while Neshanic did not.  Also, Neshanic is under $100 with cart at it's most expensive for non-residents...I'm a big fan of Berkshire as well, but still prefer Neshanic.

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On 8/19/2021 at 9:08 AM, Kay_Jay said:

@LPSISCO It's interesting to see the NJ courses in particular who made the list, but I do agree with you that there are a couple of courses I'd rank above Twisted and Architects such as Ballyowen, Neshanic Valley and maybe Heron Glen. Maybe the prices of these went over $150 which made them ineligible, but 5 years ago, I played a different public course every weekend and always kept it under $100 as a criteria.

 

Sorry about your experiences with Bethpage. I would think that these rankings are based on the course design over operations. After moving here several years ago, I was also in shock with 5-6 hours being the "norm" when all the NJ courses I played were relatively around 4-4.5 hours regardless of the tee time. I've learned that the only way to get close to 4 hours anywhere around here is if you are one of the first groups to tee off, which I don't mind but it requires planning for me.

 

Neshanic Valley at $85 (cart always included) on the weekend during prime time for out of county is insanely good value. 

 

The Charleston Springs courses and Hominy Hill in Monmouth County are fantastic as well and are well under $150 even out of county.

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12 hours ago, Wander Bread said:

 

Neshanic Valley at $85 (cart always included) on the weekend during prime time for out of county is insanely good value. 

 

The Charleston Springs courses and Hominy Hill in Monmouth County are fantastic as well and are well under $150 even out of county.


Played the Monmouth County courses a bunch and agree that Hominy Hill could challenge to be one of the best in NJ. Charleston Springs North and South and even Howell Park are such good value courses. Shark River and the two other executive courses are pretty below average. 

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As a Monmouth County resident, we are spoiled with the county courses. $50 to walk on weekends with a county card.

Hominy Hill is my favorite, but the Charleston Springs courses are excellent. Although the fescue at the North course is the highest I have seen.

Shark River my least favorite out of the par 72 options, but it is not a bad course.

Howell is nice, but it does not drain well. Plus, some of the tee boxes are not level and the greens can be a little spongy.

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On 8/30/2021 at 4:48 PM, NJgolfer11 said:

As a Monmouth County resident, we are spoiled with the county courses. $50 to walk on weekends with a county card.

Hominy Hill is my favorite, but the Charleston Springs courses are excellent. Although the fescue at the North course is the highest I have seen.

Shark River my least favorite out of the par 72 options, but it is not a bad course.

Howell is nice, but it does not drain well. Plus, some of the tee boxes are not level and the greens can be a little spongy.

I grew up in Mercer County...Mercer Oaks West/East I'd put up against any county course. Great courses mentioned by everyone above though. 

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Kind of happy to see the list... because I'm driving from RI to Philly next Monday and usually stop on the way down to get a round in *somewhere*. I usually head north (Crystal Springs/Ballyowen/Architects) area to avoid the city, a few times I take the Ferry to Orient point, through LI and hit up Bethpage and a few others, but this list has added some onto the list of courses to play. 

Anyone else got any other recommendations? 

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18 minutes ago, Imp said:

Kind of happy to see the list... because I'm driving from RI to Philly next Monday and usually stop on the way down to get a round in *somewhere*. I usually head north (Crystal Springs/Ballyowen/Architects) area to avoid the city, a few times I take the Ferry to Orient point, through LI and hit up Bethpage and a few others, but this list has added some onto the list of courses to play. 

Anyone else got any other recommendations? 

Would you take the NJ Turnpike down? If so, there’s Neshanic Valley, Heron Glen and Royce Brook all within the same area. You won’t be disappointed as they are some of the best courses and can challenge Ballyowen and Wild Turkey as being some of the top public courses in the state. There’s also Berkshire Valley that’s awesome but it may be a bit too far off your route. 

Edited by TeeAreNY
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9 hours ago, TeeAreNY said:

Would you take the NJ Turnpike down? If so, there’s Neshanic Valley, Heron Glen and Royce Brook all within the same area. You won’t be disappointed as they are some of the best courses and can challenge Ballyowen and Wild Turkey as being some of the top public courses in the state. There’s also Berkshire Valley that’s awesome but it may be a bit too far off your route. 

Will travel for golf. 😉 

Looks like Heron Glen books 5 days out, Neshanic only 3 days out (online) and Royce Brook is already filled until later in the afternoon - which may work, may just grab RB now in case those other two courses have outings which are popular on Mondays. If I show up earlier, I can try and fill in for a group missing a single.

Thanks!

Edited by Imp

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If you can grab a tee time at Neshanic or Heron Glen and even Berkshire, I would prioritize those over a Royce Brook. Not saying RB is bad by any means, it’s a solid option but I feel there’s a bit more wow factor with some really memorable holes at the other three courses. 

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I can work my way up the chain as reservations become available as long as I cancel in time. 😉  (I'm still going to go for Bethpage Black when reg opens at 7 tonight for out of state... Need to beat my prior best of 84 there.)

Heron Glen at this time is not showing ANY available tee times from today on. Will try later. And yeah, Neshanic is still 3 days out. 😉

 

Thanks! 

Edited by Imp

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Skip Royce Brook at this point. They are letting the course go a little bit due to the recent sale of half of the property to Toll Brothers and the conditions no longer justify the price. I grew up 5 minutes from the course.

 

Heron Glen and Neshanic are both great - can't go wrong though I favor Neshanic slightly

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I defer to @Wander Bread as I haven't played the NJ courses in about 5 years since moving to New York. Good to know Heron Glen and Neshanic are still going strong.

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Looks like Heron Glen isn't accepting any reservations for Monday, may have either maintenance or tourneys? Was looking every day and nothing. So.. yeah.

 

Moved to Neshanic for an afternoon round. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

 

--kC

 

Edited by Imp

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On 8/18/2021 at 5:32 PM, TeeAreNY said:

48. Seven Oaks - Never even heard of this course. 

 This is Colgate University's course where I was fortunate to attend and play every day (when it wasn't snowing).

 

It would be a long trip from LI but is worth it if you are ever in central NY.

 

The school is also about to spend millions renovating it.

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