Philly golf review: The Links brings private-caliber course to public golfers in South Jersey
A hidden gem, Marlton's The Links (which isn't actually a links course) is a bargain and true test of golf.
For some golfers, the country club life is an aspiration but perhaps not an attainable reality.
The Links GolfClub is meant for those very golfers.
The course has been private for over 30 years, but was opened up to the public a year and a half ago and is a hidden gem in South Jersey.
"A private model is very hard to make it these days with the economy so bad," director of golf David Quinn said. "Most golf courses in Southern Jersey are private."
The Links offersprivate design and conditions to the public at large, and is seemingly carved out of serene woods. But the name can fool many people. The course is anything but links-style.
"What I tell everybody when they first come out here is, first it's not a links golf course. It's tree lined," Quinn, who has been involved with the golf course since his youth, said. "It's a second-shot golf course. It's more about getting it in play. The greens are small so you can't get wild out here and hit driver off every tee. You have to play conservative, position golf."
Every hole seems to have some kind of impediment in your way (in addition to the thick forests). Whether it's a tree right in your line — sometimes in the middle of the fairway, a bunker you didn't see or a water hazard, local knowledge is invaluable at The Links.
"It gets a little bit longer as you play," Quinn said. "We are known for the back nine. It's long and it's tight."
The course is located about 40 minutes east of Philadelphia in Marlton, New Jersey, and if you're a Pennsylvania resident, Quinn and his course will reimburse you for your bridge toll (a $5 discount).
From the outside it looks a bit dated and worn, but it's out of love and respect for the game. And the course is as good as you can get for the price.
Local knowledge tip: "The 11th hole is probably one of the hardest 330 yard holes in golf," Quinn said. "If you play the men's tees, you have to at least hit it 220 to hit the corner and it has to be in the fairway to have any chance with the overhanging trees. If you go 270, you hit it too far. And then you have to go over water to the green complex that is pitched from front to back — it's a very severe green."
Price range: From $20 (weekday twilight) to $62 (weekend morning)