Updated February 2024 to update booking information.
I’ve only spent a small amount of time in New Jersey. It was for a work conference in Atlantic City almost 20 years ago. I don’t remember a whole lot other than staying at the Taj Mahal motel and losing a lot of money at the blackjack tables on my last night in town.
Times have obviously changed but, never in a million years did I think New Jersey would be a hotspot for golf. It turns out it is. Our readers have been begging me to do a list of the top 10 golf courses in the state, so I obliged. Having not played any golf here though, I needed their help. Like usual, they came through in a big way.
Atlantic City Country Club
Atlantic City Country Club is one of the oldest courses in the country. A classic Eastern seaboard links layout, the course is said to be the birthplace of the birdie. It doesn’t seem like there’s any consensus about how this came about, but the claim alone makes this place cool.
Having opened in 1897, this course has an old-school vibe that’s apparent everywhere you turn. The windswept fairways and large sloping green complexes are quirky by today’s standards. That doesn’t make them easy, however.
Bunkers abound from tee to green out here. And they aren’t the shallow, cookie cutter bunkers typical of modern design. Instead, they’re roughly hewn pits of despair that are to be avoided at all costs.
When I finally make it to New Jersey, you can bet I’m putting this track at the top of my list.
Twisted Dune Golf Club
If you’re a links enthusiast, Twisted Dune is an experience you won’t want to miss. In fact, the locals refer to this track as the best links course in all of New Jersey.
You won’t find many trees out here. Instead, contoured fairways and dramatic elevation changes make each and every hole a unique experience.
Should you miss a fairway, you might want to hit another one. Finding your ball in the knee-high fescue can be a real chore.
Even though Twisted Dune sounds like a brute of a test, five tee options make it both playable and enjoyable for golfers of abilities.
And for less than $50 for a round and cart, this value and experience is too good to be true.
Brigantine Golf Links
Located on the island of Brigantine, only a short drive from the casinos and boardwalk, you’ll find Brigantine Golf Links.
As the name would suggest, this is another Scottish links design. Legend has it that the East Coast’s best pros used to practice here before heading across the pond to the British Open.
You’ll find expansive views of the surrounding bay from nearly every hole on the course. Don’t get too caught up in the beauty, though. Seaside winds and deep pot bunkers can wreak havoc with wayward shots.
Truly one of the best values in all of New Jersey, it’s no wonder this place is a local’s favorite.
Ballamor Golf Club
A sanctuary. That’s how locals describe Ballamor Golf Club.
This course is built into gently rolling pine forests and it seems like it’s miles away from the big city.
This is a player-friendly course with wide fairways and spacious greens. Speaking of the greens, they have a reputation for being some of the best in the state. If you’re on your game, you have a good shot at playing well here.
When you’re done with your round, the food and drink at the Ballamor Pub are to die for. I hope you’re hungry because the portions are huge.
Bowling Green Golf Club
A far cry from the windswept links of the Jersey Shore, the parkland style layout at Bowling Green Golf Club is a can’t miss.
Dogwoods, oaks and red pines line the fairways here and place a premium on accuracy from the tee. One of the best times to play here is in the spring when the dogwoods are in full bloom. They’re quite a sight.
What many players love about Bowling Green is that it’s walkable. Subtle elevation changes and short distances between greens and tees are to thank.
Reasonable rates and attentive service make a round here well worth your time and money.
Knob Hill Golf Club
Even though this club is semi-private, the staff makes it a goal to treat every guest like a member. It’s apparent that no detail is overlooked at Knob Hill.
Designed by PGA Tour winner, Mark McCumber, this layout is classic parkland golf. Large trees line the fairways and frame the holes in a way that leaves no doubt as to how they should be played.
The greens and fast and true but heed caution, they’re well protected by bunkers and hazards that can make saving par difficult.
When you’re done with your round, set aside some time to enjoy all the amenities in the spacious clubhouse. The menu in the Sycamore Grille is world class and the views of the first and 10th holes are spectacular.
River Vale Country Club
You’ll find River Vale Country Club on the northern edge of Bergen County. Once again, this facility is open to public play even though it maintains a private membership.
Another classic design, this course features narrow, tree lined fairways and fast, undulating greens. Stay below the hole and in the fairway.
If you get a chance to play this course when the leaves are changing in the fall, make sure to bring your camera. Reds, ambers, golds, and browns accented by a bluebird sky are something you’ll want to capture.
Fox Hollow Golf Club
Fox Hollow Golf Club is a challenging, par 70 layout that will keep you on your toes from the first tee to the 18th green.
Each hole is a different experience, but one thing is certain, you’ll need to keep the ball in play. Tree lined fairways undulating greens make course management the key.
If you want to work on your game, this club’s practice facilities are some of the best in the state. A natural turf driving range and extensive short game areas allow you to hone your skills from tee to green.
If you have a junior with you, they play for free after 3:00pm. Talk about growing the game!
Ballyowen Golf Club
A round at Ballyowen Golf Club is quite an experience.
Perched atop a plateau on more than 250 acres, this Heathland-style track gives you the sense you’re playing one of the great courses in Ireland.
Holes make their way through open farmland and rolling meadows.
Even though the fairways are generous, trouble looms as tall fescue and other native grasses punish errant shots.
If it’s your first time playing here, it’s a good idea to take one of the local caddies to help you select clubs and read putts. For just an extra $20 and gratuity, a caddy can make all the difference.
The Bay Course at Seaview Golf Club
If you’re a fan of Donald Ross golf courses, you need to play the Bay Course at Seaview Golf Club in Galloway.
Dating all the way back to 1914, this course isn’t going to overwhelm you with its length. However, it will prove a great test of your short game and imagination. Sea breezes, small greens, and deep pot bunkers dictate that you manage your way around here and stay patient.
Be sure to check out the stay and play packages if you plan on being here for multiple days.
I’ve got to get put a golf trip to New Jersey on my list. I had no idea the state was home to so much great golf and a such a variety at that. If you’re looking for seaside windswept links, they’ve got it. Maybe more traditional parkland courses are your preference. There are plenty of those too.
I couldn’t have put this together without the help of our readers so, Thank You. If I’ve missed anything, or you have additional information you’d like to share, leave a comment down below.