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.
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 term “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 is now owned by Harrahs, the Las Vegas-based private gaming corporation, and they have introduced a pay and play facility for non-members at certain times.
November 17, 2015