Originally laid out over 170 acres by John Reid in 1897, the course at Atlantic City Country Club was altered by Willie Park Junior in 1915 then by the William Flynn and Howard Toomey partnership ten years later. It remained unchanged for more than three quarters of a century before Tom Doak lovingly restored the grand old lady in the late 1990s.
Doak rerouted a number of holes on Atlantic City's front nine and on the back nine, the architect amalgamated holes 10 and 11 to create a strong par five. He also elongated the old 12th to fashion a testing par four and created new holes at 14 and 15. Every tee and green on the course was reconstructed and trees were removed around the marshland areas and replanted along the west side of the property to reinforce its seclusion.
Writing in The Confidential Guide to Golf
Courses, Tom Doak commented as follows: “This was the kind of project I don’t
usually take on – a substantial modification of an historic old course with
architectural pedigree. Yet the layout as it existed was a mish-mosh of three
previous architects’ work, cut up by a few houses where land had been sold off
to finance improvements to the course, and there were several flat holes on the
upper end and several which went underwater down along the marsh. We tried to
preserve the best of the older holes while fixing the problems.”
This venerable course has hosted national championships on several occasions over the years. First was when Walter Travis won the US Amateur in 1901, beating Walter Egan 5 & 4 in the final. Babe Zaharias would then claim the first of her three US Women’s Open titles here in 1948, before the ladies tournament returned again in 1965 and 1975 when Carol Mann and Sandra Palmer were the victors.
The club claim to have coined the golfing terms “birdie”. A couple of years after the course opened, George Crump, of Pine Valley fame, played his second shot very close to the hole at a par four after his first shot had struck a bird in flight. His playing partners used the term “birdie” to describe the score made in such circumstances and the idea soon spread amongst the membership that one under par for a hole should be called this.
The club was recently owned by Harrahs, the Las Vegas-based private gaming corporation, and they introduced a pay-and-play facility for non-members at certain times. In 2014 Ceasars sold the property to the Ottinger Golf Group, which also owns and operates Scotland Run Golf Club and Ballamor Golf Club.
This is where I first learned to play the game when it was still very private; it has since it was sold multiple times - initially to Hilton and then to Caesars before coming into hands of current ownership. It is now semi-private (full disclosure: I am a member) and the public can pay a premium price (relatively speaking) to play, so it can get a little backed up during peak season. However, it is still my favorite place to play on a regular basis. ACCC is always in great shape and a very fun place to play.
I give this golf course the highest rating because it has all of the characteristics of a truly fantastic golf course/club..... The shot making required is a perfect balance of difficult vs scoring opportunity, the variety of shots needed is ever changing due to the design variety & wind conditions, the history of U.S. golf is oozing all over the place, conditioning is great year round, and best of all.... the course is just FUN. That is why I consider ACCC to be my favorite golf course to play. It is not necessarily the best golf course in the world, but when I think of a place that I would want to play every day for the rest of my life, I would have to say ACCC is the one, which is why I'm a member here. Favorite hole: any of the par 3s. they are all excellent. Least favorite: the last because it means the round is over.... unless I play 36. :)Hardest hole: the 9th is long and tough especially when the wind is blowing hardEasiest hole: The fun part about this course is that it doesn't beat you up. There are many scoring opportunities but I would say the 14th can yield the easiest birdie.Best green: 15th green is jutting right out into the bay with AC as a backdrop. That's epic!Best advice: Spend a lot of extra time in the clubhouse to soak in all of the sights. Spend the day at the club. I truly hope that this awesome facility will go private again. As a private club I think ACCC stands a better chance of being preserved. It is truly a special place.