Think “golf destination” and a few locales come to mind. Atlantic City might not be the first off your tongue, but golfers in the Northeast (and beyond) need to keep the casino destination in the mix for any future golf getaways.
Right off the bat is Atlantic City’s convenience, but if the golf stinks, then what’s the point? There’s no problem there, as AC offers more than a dozen golf courses within a 20-minute drive in all ranges of cost and quality, offering the perfect mix for a completely customized itinerary.
The highlight of the AC region is the top-rated public golf course in New Jersey, Atlantic City Country Club, a true destination course. Built in the 1800s, a round on this seaside gem brings to mind Boardwalk Empire and the early days of Atlantic City as a vacation hot spot.
Midseason rates of $225 are at the top of the charts for New Jersey, but it’s during the shoulder season that bargains abound (midweek rounds well below $100 is one of the great deals in golf). Doubling the benefit, golf courses in the Northeast are always in better shape in October and November than they are in July and August.
A charming Old World locker room adds to the experience, as does authentic Atlantic City history.
The 18th hole is named for the bell once used to warn golfers that the final trolly was headed back to town (about a 15-minute drive from the casinos today).
Need a more relaxed round after a day at ACCC? Try Harbor Pines, which rates on the “player friendly” end of the design spectrum. In pristine condition on a recent visit, just like ACCC, Harbor Pines is very playable. Ask most course architects what they strive for and they’ll say, “I want it to be challenging for the good golfer, but fun for the casual golfer.” At Harbor Pines, Stephen Kay accomplishes this. Wide, welcoming fairways and five sets of tees help keep the round enjoyable for all. Greens with all sorts of humps and hollows guarantee a challenge, no matter how far you can hit it off the tee, providing a nice defense for the course and keeping golfers on their toes all day long.
If you’re looking to break away from the casinos, Seaview Resort might be the ticket. A full service hotel complex, this sprawling property features 36 holes and hosts an LPGA event. With more than just golf, Seaview would be ideal for a family, or a group with more than a singular interest in golf.
• ACCC was once private before being converted into a playground for the highest of high rollers. It’s now fully open to the public.
• Golf legend Arnold Palmer recently celebrated his birthday at ACCC.
• The term “birdie” was coined at ACCC.
Follow Ron Varrial on Twitter @ronvarrial