Pine Valley has long attracted superlatives. It is continually judged as the finest course in the world in large part because many would argue that a) it possesses more world class holes than any other course, b) the finest eighteen green complexes of any course, c) the finest collection of three shotters, d) the finest collection of two shotters (especially those under 370 yards), e) the finest collection of one shot holes, f) the finest three hole start and g) the finest three hole finish. In between, it has a great halfway house!
Everyone learns to take failure in stride at Pine Valley. Abysmal scores are a way of life. That's because the underlying principle of founder George Crump's design for the course is the island. The tee is an island. The fairway, despite being 50-55 yards wide, is also an island. And so, of course, is the green. Each of these isolated plots is tightly defended by sand, scrub, rough, dense woods, sometimes water, sometimes steep falloffs -- a no-man's land of potentially unplayable lies. Players must tack unerringly from one island to the next, or pay a heavy price.
No wonder the slope, from the regular tees (6,532 yards, par 70) is a man-eating 153. Nonetheless, golfers dearly love the place. Though only 15 miles from Philadelphia, this 620-acre tract in the New Jersey pines occupies a world all its own -- simple, serene, the clubhouse an old L-shaped pebbledash structure short on style and grace but long on welcoming warmth. And the caddies are among the best anywhere. One way of assessing a golf course is to determine how many great holes it possesses and how few banal ones. Well, Pine Valley has no humdrum holes and no fewer than 15 great ones, probably more like 16 or 17, or, some would argue, 18 -- every doggone one of them! No other course has so many sublime holes.
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Pine Valley Golf Club, USA
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