The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and golfing season is in full swing. Cape May County is home to breathtaking golden sunset views, but what about the green? A number of Par-3 and full golf courses throughout the area promise beautiful landscape scenery that rivals a beach sunset. The unique personality and layout of Sand Barrens Golf Club makes for a challenging game for golfers of all skill levels. With its sandy stretches set against green fairways, Sand Barrens is proclaimed to be the closest thing to a desert course in this part of the country. Lead designer of the course, Dana Fry, discovered a layer of sand while trees were being cleared for fairways. Fry decided to alter the layout and the course’s dramatic bunkers among undulating greens were born. This resort-style layout has won honors and high rankings from such publications as Golf Digest, GolfWeek, Golf Magazine, and the Zagat Golf Guide. There are five sets of tee boxes in order to ensure that players of all skill levels can be comfortable on the course. All that golfers can see from these tee boxes at times are the bunkers and waste areas, requiring strategic driving and putting. Beware of grounding a club in these waste areas. The South Nine features the course’s most scenic views of the rolling fairways and sandy areas while the West Nine is considered the patrons’ favorite. Here, on No. 4, a par-4, “big hitters” can actually drive the green but must be very straight with their drive. The West Nine finishes with two extremely challenging par-4s. Advanced golfers are encouraged to try the North Nine, considered the course’s toughest. The par-3 that ends this nine requires a carry, over a pond and onto a peninsula green.
For a challenge on a smaller course, head over to Laguna Oaks Golf Course in Cape May Court House. The greens of this 10-hole Par-3 course are pristine and beautifully laid out. Water and other hazards come into play at almost every hole, presenting challenges to even seasoned veterans. Players state that, at Laguna Oaks, they feel like they are playing on a private course at a low cost. The course uses the “Golden Golf” scoring system in which te e locations vary slightly while the par rating varies greatly depending on a player’s handicap. For instance, the 180 yard Par-3 becomes a Par-5 for the high handicap player. Two other Par-3s, 165 and 170 yards, also become Par-5s. Back-to-back Golden Penants are used to designate the targets between tees and green. Mid range holes range from 124 to 150 yards and become Par-4s in the Golden Golf System. Laguna Oaks, with its unique scoring system and challenging course, and Sand Barrens, with its desert-like terrain, are two of the county’s many beautiful golfing experiences.
By Megan Kummer