Course Reviews/Travel

Glen Club - Chicago PDF Print E-mail




Although winter is fast approaching in Chicago, an Autumn round at the Glen Club is a day to

remember.Recently we visited Chicago and took a spin around the upscale public course.


The property where the club sits, was formerly the Glenview Naval Air Station. Tom Fazio

took a blank slate and created an amazing layout that opened in 2001, and the Glen Club

has garnered nothing but accolades from the golf world ever since.

In 2008 the Glen Club earned the distinction of Best Public Course in Illinois, and Top 100 course

You Can Play (#72 by Golf Magazine), but how was the course when we played it recently?I

expected to be impressed, and why not . . . when you put together a Fazio Signature design

with a club managed by Kemper Sports, it's a win/win combination.


The Clubhouse





1st hole


With the addition of 4,000 trees and 2.4 million cubic yards of earth, you would never know this

place wasn't a parkland utopia waiting to be a golf course.Fazio eases you into the round as he

often does with a casual par 5 on the first.You get a sense early on that the terrain rolls here, on

the opening par 5 (shown above) you'll hit your second shot downhill, and your third uphill.



2nd hole


The second is a sweeping right to lefter that you can play off the cambering fairway, catch the

right side of the fairway and it will kick down, but if you stray too far right the sprawling Juniper

that resembles Gorse will inhale your ball.The deep bunker on the left guards the aggressive play

over the corner.



4th hole


It has been said that the Glen Club has the best par 3's in Illinios, I don't doubt it.The

magnificent fourth at only 156 yards from the tips is a prime example.




5th hole


The fifth is a brute of a par 5 at 599 yards, three good ones here will give you a shot at pay dirt.




6th tee


The 445 yard par 4 - sixth is a perfect example of Fazio's ability to blend foliage into his designs

to enhance the playing experience, few if any match Fazio in this regard.




7th hole


The handicap 1 hole at the Glen Club is the 475 yard seventh, nothing but your finest here to

make par.




8th hole


No signs that a flat Naval base ever existed here, native grasses and green vistas are the norm

throughout.On the eighth, Fazio will give you a wedge in if you challenge the water and sand that

bottleneck the landing area.




Par 4 - 10th


The short tenth is your chance to right the wrongs of the outward nine, at only 302 yards from

the blue tees . . . you can smell feathers.




11th hole


The 218 yard par 3 - eleventh is all you want, a stout one shotter for sure.If you're "Yella", Fazio

gives you a bail out short right . . . par can still be had from there.





Approach into the 12th






14th hole


When I walked onto the fourteenth tee, it was the wow moment for me (along with the fourth -

all great courses should have a few), just a gorgeous setting framing a great tee shot.The aggressive

play is over the corner, and if executed successfully, reaching in two is very possible.





15th hole





16th hole





17th hole


The last par 3 at the Glen Club is by far the most intimidating of the lot.At 204 yards from the tips,

over water and into the wind, this one shotter will make or brake your round.






Par 5 - 18th


The home hole is a bookend par 5 to the first hole, at 561 yards from the blue tees, only the longest

of hitters have a chance to reach.The clubhouse backdrop is a welcome invitation to wind down after

the round.


The Glen Club lived up to the accolades and exceeded expectations, another Fazio gem.At 7,149 from

the gold tees, it will test the best players . . . but at the same time, make for a very enjoy experience.

The greens at the Glen Club are smooth and quick, with plenty of movement, but certainly not over the

top - work on your lag putting, as many of the greens are large in size.


After YOUR round, do yourself a favor and enjoy a delicious meal & great service at The Grill. Inside the

halls of the club, the walls are lined with plaques honoring the influential people who made Chicago Golf

what it is today.What a great way to pay homage to the history of the game and people like Eerie Ball,

Tommy Armour, Bob Goalby, Johnny Revolta and Steve Lesnik.





To get more info on the Glen Club click here:











PGA National - Fazio Course PDF Print E-mail

The fifth hole on the revamped Fazio course (formerly known as the Haig), PGA of America HQ in the backgound.




Palm Beach Gardens - Recently PGA National Resort & Spa welcomed the golf media to the

re-opening of what was once known as the "Haig" course (dedicated to Walter Hagen), after a

nip and tuck here and there, the newly touched up version has been dubbed the "Fazio".

The Fazio at PGA National is the only course in existence to boast three Fazio designers.The

Haig was the first routing at the home of the PGA of America back in 1980, designed by George

& Tom Fazio.The 2012 facelift was carried out by Tom's nephew Tommy, since there really wasn't

any room to change the routing (there are resort condos and residential communities on the

boundary of most holes, the task was about refining what existed.It was a unanimous opinion

of most locals that the Haig (along with the Squire) had always been the weaker of the resorts

5 courses.


What the younger Fazio did, might seem very subtle, and it is . . . but regrassing the tees &

fairways with Celebration Bermuda and changing the shape of the tee boxes from round to

square is a nice upgrade for what was a tired golf course.My favorite change and perhaps the

most obvious is the re-positioned and re-contoured green on the 8th hole.Rather than just being

a bland elevated surface that posed death to the player who went long, there are now multiple

pin positions, and a some very creative contouring from back right to the entire left side of the

green that is now protected by a new bunker.If you miss long, or left it is a very tough up &

down, but it is do-able.The new greens increased in size by 70% and the new Tif-Eagle putting

surfaces are firm and silky smooth.



The new eighth on the Fazio



Many of the newly shaped bunkers have steeper flash faces to them, which frames the tee shot

or approach on each hole.Tee boxes now stretch beyond 7,000 yards for the competitive low

handicapper and there is a set of tees for the high handicapper and play it forward crowd at

5,100 yards. The course looks very similiar to it's Haig origins, but the new Fazio version

definitely has a refined freshly made over feel, an upgrade for sure.



To learn more about the Fazio Course and the four other courses at PGA National click on the






Atlantic City Country Club PDF Print E-mail


Atlantic City Country Club established in 1897, is located just west of Atlantic City in Northfield,

New Jersey.The club is certainly on the short list of influential early American golf clubs, it's list

of course architects is storied:John Reid & Willie Park Jr in the beginning, then in 1925 Toomey

& William Flynn put their stamp on the land, and in 1999 Tom Doak added his own influence (as

it plays today).Even some of the most heralded American golf clubs would have a hard time

rivaling the history of this club.


- 6 USGA Championships were held at ACCC


-1901 U.S Amateur was won by Walter Travis.


- ACCC club professional Johnny McDermott was the first American to win the U.S Open

in 1911 at the young age of 19.


- Babe Zaharias won her first U.S Open at Atlantic City CC in 1948.


The first Champions Tour event (formerly the Senior Tour) was held at ACCC in 1980.


In 1951 - 1952 a young unknown enlisted member of the Coast Guard named Arnold Palmer

played the course regularly.He returned last September to spend his birthday evening having

dinner at the club in the famous Tap Room Bar & Grille.




The ACCC Bell was originally used in the early 1900's to remind golfers that the last trolley was

leaving to Atlantic City.




The "Birthplace of the Birdie" originated on the old 12th green, now a shortgame practice area.




The Legendary Tap Room Bar & Grille, tons of history line the walls here.The cuisine and

atmosphere is worth the trip alone.




The father of Atlantic City golf, Leo Fraser is honored with a room that's dedicated to his life in





The lockeroom is as old school as it gets, lockers with the names Willie Mays, Arnold Palmer and

notorious mobster Al Capone still adorn this golf lair.




At 6577 yards par 70 from the tips, ACCC is not brutal, but the variety will challenge even the

scratch player.The golf course itself is an eclectic mix of bayside, parkland and coastal type


Pictured above is the stunning short par 4 third.At only 353 yards, it is considered a birdie hole,

but the prevailing wind is dead into the player here . . . the smallish green is well protected with

sand both left and right of the putting surface, it requires precision here to make 3.





The fourth is only 144 yards from the tips, but once again the elements play a major role in club






The 592 yard sixth is the longest hole at ACCC, note the tucked pin on the right.





On the 452 yard par 4 seventh, playing partner Michael Kartrude slam dunked his approach into

the jar for an eagle two.In typical MK fashion, this all happened just as the beverage cart girl

and course ranger Ron Moretti arrived on the scene (even in road games he ends up with an

audience, he went on to shoot 65).




The par 3 eighth is 196 yards, with the pin tucked it's advisable to avoid the left sand.





On the eleventh, you can see Tom Doaks influence here, the bunkering is outstanding.This set of

cross bunkers creates a deception on the approach.





The par 3 twelfth is the shortest and most magnificent on the property.The elevated green

provides tons of drama for an errant tee shot.The big flash bunkers surround the surface and

protect scores here, the long fescue is a great look and will eat up mishits on this 134 yard gem.





The green on the 339 yard fourteenth is long and has plenty of undulation . . .  no easy putts





The sixteenth is a sharp dogleg right, the tee shot must carry the wetlands and from there a

short iron remains.



The seventeenth is the last of the five par 3's, at 157 yds from the tips, it's all about the proper

club selection.The putting surface is elevated and hidden behind dense foliage (aptly named

"Dunes").I'm usually not a fan of blind par 3's, but there is just enough visually to provide a fair

challenge here . . . especially from the forward tees where more of the flag is visible.Most players

will have no more than a short iron in, another beautiful and unique one shotter here.





The finishing hole at Atlantic City CC is a dogleg right that's called "Trolley Back", another ode to

the bell that was used to let golfers know the trolley was headed back towards the shore in

Atlantic City.They do as good a job at preserving an honoring their history here as any club in

America, it's a public daily fee facility that should be experienced by all.


Atlantic City Country Club has been ranked by GolfWeek - #1 Public Course in N.J 2007-2012 and

Golf Magazine Top 100 Course YOU CAN PLAY 2008 -2012


Thanks to Charles Fahy for his hospitality.


To learn more about ACCC, click here:






The Ace Club - Philadelphia PDF Print E-mail




The Ace Club is a 7471 yard Gary Player signature course that opened in 2003, located 20

minutes from the city of Philadelphia in Lafayette Hill.The club is a corporate themed

private club, designed to be an executive escape that includes a heliport pad on site.


The driving range is two tiered and stocked with Titleist Pro V1's as well as a two acre practice

area just for wedge and shortgame to get you ready for your round.At 76.1, the Ace Club has

the highest course rating in Philadelphia, beautiful it is . . . but with five sets of tees it'll

challenge all skill levels (even Tour player and Ace Club member Sean O'Hair).


The 372 yard 1st at the Ace Club


One of the first things that impress at The Ace Club is the service, from Erv in the clubhouse, to

Mark in the pro shop, it's a first class operation and experience.Our caddy for the afternoon was

John Salamone, I really enjoyed learning about the club from John, a great looper and an even

better human being.If you get to the Ace Club for an outing or as a guest of a member, request

John, it'll enhance the day for sure.





The 2nd tee at the 476 yard par 4, it's early in the round, but you'll need you're two best here.





The approach at the second is where your work just begins, the green slopes severely left to right.





3rd hole


The third at the Ace Club is where you get your first true sense of what Player's design is

about.At 610 yards, this twisting and turning fairway is framed by flash faced bunkering and

hardwood trees.A true 3 shot hole, this monster requires precision.




the downhill 5th


The Short downhill par 4 fifth is a design marvel, the Black knight gives you eye candy, options

off the tee, and challenges all in one hole.A true birdie hole, but not without the possibility of a

double bogey.Left of the green is unplayable, and the bunkers surrounding the diagonal putting

surface are a tough up and down.





7th hole






9th Tee


A right to left tee shot on the par 5 ninth is the preferred play, a creek that starts on the right

crosses the fairway and lines the left side on the approach (below).


The approach to the ninth is to a wide but shallow target, on our visit the sucker pin was in

play.The clubhouse comes into full view on both the ninth and eighteenth holes.






10th tee


The 471 yard tenth is by far the toughest par on the property, all uphill, the green is without a

doubt the toughest to hit on the course.If you make 4 here, run to next tee.





11th hole


The 445 yard downhill eleventh plays much shorter than it's actual distance, but as you can see

in the photo above, accuracy is essential.






Par 3 twelfth - 231 yards






13th hole - 441 yards


Number thirteen is another hole that favors a right to left tee shot, you can see the mounding

and bunkers down the right are higher . . . Gary Player wants you to shape it here, but if you

over do it, the left bunker and trees on the left will leave you scrambling.If you find the short

grass, a mid-long iron is needed for your approach



14th hole


The 223 yard fourteenth is the other par 3 brute on the inward side, it plays downhill, but if you

miss the surface or even hit the wrong tier of this well undulated green . . . it will be tough to

save par.





15th hole


The fifteenth is a 439 yard straight away par 4 that tilts severely from left to right, avoid the

bunkers and the ravine/woods on the right, the shorter hitter can run the ball up from the left

side of the green.






16th tee


The sixteenth is right there with the fifth as the best and most beautiful holes at the Ace Club,

this 594 yard par 5 is in our top 10 par fives ever featured.Everything funnels to the right here,

so don't get greedy, it's a three shot hole . . . so trying to cut off too much from the tee will

bring the hazard into play.Truly great design work here by the Black Knight.


16th view from the left rough.





16th approach


The approach is a short iron over a creek to a fairly generous sized putting surface, the right

greenside bunker might come into play, the left is more likely an issue for the long hitter trying

to get in two.





17th hole






View from behind the 17th, check the slope that funnels down towards this front right hole position.






18th tee


The finisher is a 602 yard par 5 that once again requires three shots, but a generous fairway sets

you up for a chance at birdie.


After the round, enjoy a meal out on the patio overlooking the ninth and eighteenth greens.



On a day when we visited iconic Merion Golf Club (earlier that afternoon), I thought it might be

difficult to review another course, and that expectations should be kept in check after leaving the

site of next years Open Champioship in Ardmore . . . but that was not the case at all.If Merion is

the Fenway or Wrigley of American and Philadelphia golf (small footprint and classic feel), then

The Ace Club would be Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park, or AT&T park in San Francisco (big property,

amazing site lines and a modern clubhouse that has everything).Thanks to Kristofer Fair for

having us out to his amazing club.


To learn more about the Ace Club:


The Ace Club  610-238-4581







Bayonne Golf Club PDF Print E-mail


Bayonne Golf Club located in central eastern New Jersey, and bordering New York Harbor is the brain

child of Eric Bergstol.Bergstol took a flat industrial wasteland surrounded by chemical factories, and

turned it into a visual marvel and a playground for Gotham's elite.Bergstol is the founder, owner and

designer of this faux links that opened in 2006.True, Bayonne GC is an exclusive club, but thru a

partnership with the city of Bayonne, there is some public access for residents who live within the

city limits.

The unassuming entry to Bayonne Golf Club sits smack dab in the heart of warehouses and chemical

plants, but behind the humble guard gate,  an amazing fescue adventure awaits those granted

access.Fellow islander and club pro Dave Polchinski was my guide on a gorgeous summer


The clubhouse at Bayonne lords over the property and can be seen from everywhere on the course,

if there is a better location for a clubhouse anywhere, let us know . . . it's visible from nearly

anywhere on NY harbor, downtown and Lady Liberty.If there were a clubhouse ranking (we should

start one), Bayonne would win America's Best based on location alone, hands down.

Although Bayonne has a links look and feel, it has more elements of American style golf than of the

"on the ground" variety, many of the greens are elevated, and many of the approach shots need to

be carried. . . very similiar in style to the type of golf you have to play at Kiawah, or Whistling Straits

in Wisconsin (not bad company).However, unlike the other two mentioned, there are enough run it on

opportunities at Bayonne to keep your "bump and run" game sharp.


The windswept routing that cambers and twists in the dunes, combined with the unique waterfront

setting of New York Harbor have your senses tingling . . . truly a dazzling dynamic that has to be seen

to be believed.

The dunes that border many holes at Bayonne are shaped so well, that while on the course you

never feel you're on a manufactured layout.A prime example is the 560 yard fourth, the back tee

shown above is a serene spot . . . dunes of fescue frame the tee shot here, if you asked most

golfers to tell you what part of the world this is, very few would say the industrial sector of New


Another view of the 4th hole (from the forward tees), the longest hitters can reach

the bunkers through the end of the fairway .

The uphill par 3 fifth called "Butterfly's feet", note the deep cavernous bunker fronting the green

. . . it's the shortest hole on the property at 146 yards.

The sixth green, the small evergreen tree in the bunker is the only tree on the course.

The seventh hole is a dogleg right that leaves a short approach, finding the shortgrass is a must

here, Bayonne club professional Dave Polchinsky's method for playing this hole is to just take it

down the right side, he said "Forget the cut shot, if you leave the tee shot left, that bunker is


Your work has just begun once you reach the 7th green, similiar to many greens at Bayonne,

extreme undulations are the norm on Bergstol's putting surfaces.

Approach to the par 5 - 8th called "Salt Marsh".

The front nine does not comeback to the clubhouse, pictured here is the 10th fairway and the

clubhouse in the distance.This 471 yard par 4 "called "Highlands" is your first sign that the inward

nine is no pushover . . . at 3681 yards, the back is nearly 250 yards longer than the outward side.

The slightly uphill par 3 - eleventh, Called "The Nook" is a beast of a one shotter at 236 yards.Most

of the dunes are hand watered and maintained at Bayonne by Superintendent Victor Frederico and

his grounds staff of 50, certainly not a small task.

While standing on the back tee on the downhill par 4 - 12th, the Staten Island Ferry moved across

our site line towards lady liberty and downtown NYC.The members at Bayonne enjoy a view and

atmosphere unique to no other golf club in the free world.

While a group tees off on the sixteenth, the new Freedom Tower (upper right) stands tall in

downtown NYC (site of ground zero).I couldn't help but notice on the scorecard, the appropriate

name "Heaven's Gate" given to this hole.

The 17th tee, the small pile of soil you see just bottom left of the maintenance path is a future

extension of the fairway, a needed addition considering windy conditions at Bayonne often make

this carry a bear for many members.

The final green at Bayonne is neither small nor tame, two putts are not a given on this hole which

is aptly named "Lighthouse".

Short game & iron range (pictured above) is a great spot to work on fine tuning the

scoring clubs, there is an aqua range as well, where you can hit the big stick.

The clubhouse and practice putting green are the highest point on the property, the 15th green sits

in the foreground to the right.

A touch of class: The ferry transports VIP golfers to and from downtown NYC

Bergstol's creation clearly is in the category of Chambers Bay in Tacoma, Washington (RTJ II) and

Whistling Straits (Dye) in Kohler, Wisconsin as links style facilities that have turned an eye sore into

eye candy . . . all while challenging the accomplished player to score.Bayonne is as unique to the

Met section as Dye and Trent Jones Jr's designs are to their respective region.Oh yeah one more thing,

many clubs have a signature snack that is on display for edible consumption throughout the day . . . at

Bayonne they have the best chocolate chip cookies on earth.


Kudos to Head Professional Chris Billington (a fellow Tottenville Pirate) and his staff for an impressive

operation at a setting that only Eric Bergstol could have envisioned.

Bayonne uses a seperate card for each set of tees,  Champ card shown above.

To learn more about Bayonne Golf Club visit their site:





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