merald Golf Links, located in Egg Harbor Township,
N.J., offers a truly unique experience.
The course, designed by noted golf course architect Stephen Kay, is a tribute to famed European layouts, such as St. Andrew’s, Prestwick, Gleneagles and Turnberry. McCullough’s 16th hole, for instance, is a replica of the “Postage Stamp” par-three hole at Scotland’s Royal Troon.
McCullough’s, quite appropriately, presents a decidedly Irish-Scottish feel, with wide open fairways, tricky winds, grass mounds, bunkers, natural waste areas and undulating greens.
Many golfers who play McCullough’s don’t realize it is a municipal course because of its conditioning and private club feel, says Tom Sullivan, general manager of McCullough’s, which is also managed by Billy Casper Golf. “We have a 100-foot elevation change throughout the course, which is rare for the area,” says Sullivan.
“We have had a great first half of the season. We had three days this year among our top 10 of all time and our rounds are up about 8 percent over last year. We’ve only been open for five years, so I think the word is still getting around about us.”
McCullough’s Emerald Golf Links is a pleasingly playable track for all abilities, even though the slope from the back tees is 130. There is a nice mix of holes, from long par-fours, like the 464-yard seventh, to the short, 136-yard par-three 16th.
The front side has two par-fives, the 489-yard third and the 503-yard sixth, that are reachable in two for the big hitters. But there are also two par-threes, the second and fifth, that measure over 200 yards from the tournament tees. The fifth is a 236-yard beast.
One of the best holes on the course is the 341-yard par-four 11th, which is based on the great short par-four 12th at the King’s Course of Gleneagles in Scotland. The tee shot is up and over fairway bunkers. The green has only one bunker guarding its right side, allowing for a typical Scottish-Irish low run up shot.
The finisher is a 358-yard par-four that was based on the fourth hole at Scotland’s Prestwick. There is a creek and out of bounds on the right side and three dangerous fairway bunkers near the fairway landing area. You can cut the corner to the right and shorten the hole. But a deep bunker will cause problems if you miss. It’s a perfect risk/reward hole.
“While on some courses you may remember one or two holes, I think there are five or six and perhaps a few more here that a classic holes,” said Sullivan.”
Rates for 18 holes at High Bridge range from $25 to $85 depending upon season, time of the week and other factors. The course is located only minutes from Atlantic City’s boardwalks, casinos and beaches.
“While some of our close competitors are charging $125 on the weekends,” said Sullivan, “we are around $85 and we feel that is a bargain. This is a very interesting, well-conditioned course that will have golfers coming back for more.”McCullough’s Emerald Golf LinksEgg Harbor Township, N.J.609-926-3900www.mcculloughsgolf.com